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Charles Perrault's Biography (Books)

Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 - 16 May 1703) was a French author and member of the Academie Francaise. He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known of his tales include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botte (Puss in Boots), La Belle au bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty), and Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard). Some of Perrault's versions of old stories may have influenced the German versions published by the Brothers Grimm more than 100 years later. The stories continue to be printed and have been adapted to opera, ballet (such as Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty), theatre, and film. Perrault was an influential figure in the 17th-century French literary scene, and was the leader of the Modern faction during the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.

Perrault was born in Paris to a wealthy bourgeois family, the seventh child of Pierre Perrault and Paquette Le Clerc. He attended very good schools and studied law before embarking on a career in government service, following in the footsteps of his father and elder brother Jean.

He took part in the creation of the Academy of Sciences as well as the restoration of the Academy of Painting. In 1654, he moved in with his brother Pierre, who had purchased a post as the principal tax collector of the city of Paris. When the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres was founded in 1663, Perrault was appointed its secretary and served under Jean Baptiste Colbert, finance minister to King Louis XIV. Jean Chapelain, Amable de Bourzeys, and Jacques Cassagne (the King's librarian) were also appointed.

Charles Perrault began to win a literary reputation in about 1660 with some light verse and love poetry and spent the rest of his life in promoting the study of literature and the arts. In 1671 he was elected to the Academie Francaise, which soon was sharply divided by the dispute between the Ancients and the Moderns. Perrault supported the Moderns, who believed that, as civilization progresses, literature evolves with it and that therefore ancient literature is inevitably more coarse and barbarous than modern literature. His poem Le Siecle de Louis le Grand (1687; "The Age of Louis the Great") set such modern writers as Moliere and Francois de Malherbe above the Classical authors of Greece and Rome. His chief opponent in this controversy was Nicolas Boileau. Perrault's stand was a landmark in the eventually successful revolt against the confines of the prevailing tradition.

Perrault's fairy stories in Mother Goose were written to amuse his children. They include "Little Red Riding Hood, The Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots," and "Bluebeard," modern versions of half-forgotten folk tales, which Perrault retold in a style that is simple and free from affectation.

Source: wikipedia, encyclopaedia britannica