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Bluebeard in Victorian Arts and Letters

Bluebeard in Victorian Arts and Letters

(p.108) Chapter 7 Bluebeard in Victorian Arts and Letters
Casie E. Hermansson
University Press of Mississippi

In the nineteenth century, Charles Perrault’s French fairy tale, “Bluebeard,” became popular in chapbooks and drama at a time when folk and fairy tales had a questionable status in England. The widespread presence of the Mother Goose tales is an indication of their popularity, but not their respectability. The release of the massive multivolume English translations of the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments and Grimms’ Die Kinder- und Hausmärchen triggered antiquarian research into English folklore and made “Bluebeard” a staple of Victorian art and literature. Some examples are Charlotte Brontë’s “Bluebeard novel” Jane Eyre and the works of Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray. Images of Bluebeard also appeared in the popular art of Thackeray (inspired by George Cruikshank), Alfred Henry Forrester, and Walter Crane.

Keywords:   fairy tale, Charles Perrault, Bluebeard, Mother Goose, English translations, Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, Victorian art, Victorian literature, Charles Dickens

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