The “tale as old as time,” in versions from across the centuries and around the world—published to coincide with Disney’s live-action 3D musical film starring Emma Watson, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Audra McDonald, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, Dan Stevens, and Emma Thompson
Nearly every culture tells the story of Beauty and the Beast in one fashion or another. From Cupid and Psyche to India’s Snake Bride to South Africa’s “Story of Five Heads,” the partnering of beasts and beauties, of humans and animals in all their variety—cats, dogs, frogs, goats, lizards, bears, tortoises, monkeys, cranes, warthogs—has beguiled us for thousands of years, mapping the cultural contradictions that riddle every romantic relationship.
In this fascinating volume, preeminent fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar brings together tales from ancient times to the present and from a wide variety of cultures, highlighting the continuities and the range of themes in a fairy tale that has been used both to keep young women in their place and to encourage them to rebel, and that has entertained adults and children alike. With fresh commentary, she shows us what animals and monsters, both male and female, tell us about ourselves, and about the transformative power of empathy.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
March 7, 2017
Grades 9-12 + AP/IB
(editor) is the John L. Loeb Professor of Folklore and Mythology and Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. She is the author of many acclaimed books, including The Heroine with 1,001 Faces
, as well as the editor and translator of The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen
, The Annotated Brothers Grimm
, The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition
, The Grimm Reader,
and The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.
She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Winner of the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award
“[This] new book from Penguin . . . provides some historical context [to the Disney film]. . . . Most of the stories about young women and animal grooms follow a predictable pattern. . . . But the Penguin book also includes plenty of stories in which the genders are flipped, pairing young men with animal brides.” —The New Yorker
“Superb . . . Each story is basically an expression of anxiety about marriage and relationships—about the animalistic nature of sex, and the fundamental strangeness of men and women to each other. . . . Tatar points out, too, that every generation of monsters speaks to the anxieties of its time.” —The Atlantic
“The tales in Tatar’s compilation swing from vicious to romantic, from comedy to horror. . . . Tatar’s book alone contains stories from almost two dozen countries.” —NPR.org
“A rich, intriguing volume highly recommended for fairy-tale fans.” —Booklist
“Maria Tatar’s new collection for Penguin Classics . . . ventur[es] deeper into the rich universe of animal bridegroom stories. . . . There is also the parallel tradition of animal bride stories—swan maidens and selkies with a much sharper edge than The Little Mermaid.
. . . The source material here is much richer in possibilities than turning Belle into a crusader for women’s literacy.” —Jezebel
“Thought-provoking . . . It’s fun to encounter new stories but also to revisit childhood favorites with adult eyes.” —PopMatters
“Maria Tatar rounded up stories about animal brides and grooms from around the world in this new Penguin Classics collection, and while I am a certified fairy tale nerd, there was plenty in this book that was new to me.” —Constance Grady, Vox