Nearly every culture tells the story of Beauty and the Beast in one fashion or another. Harvard Book Store welcomes Harvard University’s MARIA TATAR—the editor and translator of The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, and The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition—for a discussion of Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World.
The partnering of beasts and beauties, of humans and animals in all their variety—cats, dogs, frogs, goats, tortoises, warthogs—has beguiled us for thousands of years, mapping the cultural contradictions that riddle every romantic relationship.
In this volume, Tatar brings together tales from ancient times and from a wide variety of cultures. She highlights the continuities and the range of themes in a fairy tale that have been used both to keep young women “in their place” and to encourage them to rebel. 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.
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.