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MEslaymaker

MEslaymaker

 

 

Beauty and the Beast - Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont I recently found an interesting dissertation about this author, which prompted a rereading of her version of the fairy tale, one of my favorites. To the several good reviews of de Beaumont's telling, I'll add this: The emphasis tends to be on Belle's redemptive love for the beast, but his redemption depends just as much on his love for her; she stays with him because of his kindness to her. It's mutual care and respect that enable this love despite the difficulties. The lesson, girls and boys -- and the heart of de Beaumont's version -- is not selfless love but a love that encourages and appreciates one's best self.

"No, dear Beast," said Beauty, "you must not die. Live to be my husband; from this moment I give you my hand, and swear to be none but yours. Alas! I thought I had only a friendship for you, but the grief I now feel convinces me that I cannot live without you."

Beauty scarce had pronounced these words when she saw the palace sparkle with light; fireworks, instruments of music, everything seemed to give notice of some great event. But nothing could fix her attention; she turned to her dear Beast, for whom she trembled with fear, but how great was her surprise! Beast was disappeared and she saw, at her feet, one of the loveliest princes that eye ever beheld, who returned her thanks for having put an end to the charm, under which he had so long resembled a Beast. Though this prince was worthy of all her attention, she could not forbear asking where Beast was.

"You see him at your feet," said the prince. "A wicked fairy had condemned me to remain under that shape until a beautiful virgin should consent to marry me. The fairy likewise enjoined me to conceal my understanding. There was only you in the world generous enough to be won by the goodness of my temper, and in offering you my crown I can't discharge the obligations I have to you."



Should anyone else be interested, here's a link to the online dissertation about de Beaumont:
https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/10799/research.pdf?sequence=3