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BluebeardA Reader's Guide to the English Tradition$
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Casie E. Hermansson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781604732306

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604732306.001.0001

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Principal Variants

Principal Variants

Chapter:
(p.3) Chapter 1 Principal Variants
Source:
Bluebeard
Author(s):

Casie E. Hermansson

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781604732306.003.0001

In 1695, Charles Perrault wrote a French fairy tale, “La Barbe bleue” (“Bluebeard”). Published in 1697 and translated into English in 1729, it featured a character that had dominated international folklore and myth for centuries before he was given a blue beard and a magnificent castle by Perrault. That castle had one forbidden room with which to tempt and test the man’s wives. Despite being one of the grisliest in the canon, “Bluebeard” captured the English imagination and gave rise to a nexus of variants related by themes of curiosity, forbidden chambers, punishment, and serial wife murder. This chapter looks at the principal variants of Perrault’s “Bluebeard” fairy tale, along with the English variant “Mr. Fox” and versions of Bluebeard with animal grooms. It also considers the influence of the Thousand and One Arabian Nights on the Turkish Bluebeard, Bluebeard in Greek mythology and the Bible, and the alleged use of Bluebeard as a name by King Henry VIII of England.

Keywords:   fairy tale, Charles Perrault, La Barbe bleue, Bluebeard, curiosity, serial wife murder, forbidden chambers, punishment, Bible, Greek mythology

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