Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s 1740 “La Belle et la Bête:” Seduction of a Prisoner, the Changing View of Mésalliance, and the Role of the Patriarchy

Beatriz Lara (Wayne State University)

Gabrielle de Villeneuve’s 1740 fairy tale “La Belle et la Bête" shows a female character whose situation may be seen as being imprisoned, coerced, and manipulated by male and female agents into a relationship in which she has little to no agency. But once the female character agrees, the match is opposed by another character, and there is an interesting push-and-pull of the bride as bartered goods. I explore this instance of a woman as token of exchange, and I also propose that this tale shows the changing view of mésalliance and of the writer’s approach to patriarchy in early modern France.

Part of V4-05 Folklore, Gender, and Literature, Thursday, October 12, 8:00 am–10:00 am