Bluebeard in Chapbooks and Juveniles
Charles Perrault’s French fairy tale, “Bluebeard,” initially rose to prominence through the eighteenth century in the form of reprints and pirated knockoffs of Mother Goose tales. Later, it was published in chapbook form, referring to small, cheaply printed books that are crudely illustrated and sewn. Chapbooks were in circulation throughout the British Isles by the hundreds of thousands between 1750 and 1850. By the late eighteenth century, “Bluebeard” was headlining many of them. Indeed, Bluebeard became a household name because of chapbooks, rather than the more expensive and elaborate printings of Mother Goose. Chapbooks, which were commonly pirated at the time, consisted of illustrations that formed a major advertising point for publishers.
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