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Thirard M.-A. From the Gifted Child to the Savage Child: Children in French Fairy-Tales at the End of the 17 th Century. Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 2, pp. 88–107. (In French)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-2-88-107

Author: Marie-Agnès Thirard
Information about the author:

Marie-Agnès Thirard, Phd, Professor, University of Lille SHS, Rue du Barreau, Villeneuve d’Ascq, 59650, France. ORCID ID: 0000-0001-6675-1438

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: February 20, 2019
Published: June 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №2
Department: World Literature
Pages: 88-107

UDK: 821.133.1
BBK: 83.3(4Фра)5
Keywords: Fairy-tales, 17 th century French Literature, Fairy-tale cabinet, D’Aulnoy, Préchac, Childhood.


This article examines The Fairy Cabinet with a focus on the late 17 th century French fairy tales. It refers specifically to the work of Mme d’Aulnoy who initiated the fairy tales trend in France among the literary circles of the time as well as the stories of Préchac, a writer and courtier who lived within the sphere of the court of Louis XIV. Of special interest is the theme of the childhoods and births of the characters that are often extraordinary. Madame d’Aulnoy develops the motif of gifted children, inherited from popular tales; however, she transforms it through the crucible of her literary and precious writing. Préchac, on the other hand, deals with the same theme in the courtesan manner, telling the story of a child-king endowed with all possible gifts, who enjoys a double assisted procreation thanks to fairies. What makes Madame d’Aulnoy so singular is that she shifts from the gifted child to the savage child whose status she idealizes. She thus subversively glamorizes a life akin to the state of nature, which was a way of challenging late the 17 th century society. Beyond the extraordinary birth of characters, we witness the birth of the good savage myth, a harbinger of the crisis in the 18 th century European consciousness.


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