One of our most beloved and elemental fairy tales, 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, and Emma Thompson
Perhaps no fairy tale is as widely known as “Beauty and the Beast”—and perhaps no fairy tale exists in as many variations. To some, “Beauty and the Beast” is a love story, demonstrating the transformative power of compassion; to others, it is a cautionary tale, helping sort out sexual politics, marital roles, and feelings of ostracism. Nearly every culture tells the story in one fashion or another—such cultural phenomena as The Fault in Our Stars and Me Before You are recent examples—and it is impossible to find one version that laid the foundation for the rest. 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.
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, making a case for the fluidity of the fairy tale that’s 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.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 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.