Rare texts and images from early modern France

Ex libris Georges Ascoli

Earlier this year, I was following via the Internet a book auction held in Génicourt, a village northwest of Paris. Having bid successfully on a … Continue reading

December 31, 2023 · 1 Comment

Succession in Barneville

At the beginning of Madame d’Aulnoy’s fairy tale “The White Cat,” an aging and timorous king sets up a winner-take-all competition between his sons: “whichever … Continue reading

August 8, 2022 · Leave a Comment

Madame d’Aulnoy and Monsieur le Premier

As biographers have occasionally pointed out, Madame d’Aulnoy was related on the maternal side to one of the most prominent families at the French royal … Continue reading

November 7, 2021 · 1 Comment

Baroness or Countess d’Aulnoy?

Among the many mysteries surrounding the life and works of Madame d’Aulnoy is the question of her title of nobility: was she a baroness or … Continue reading

October 25, 2021 · 1 Comment

Sentiments of a penitent soul

Laidronnette, the noble but ugly heroine of Madame d’Aulnoy’s fairy tale “Serpentin vert,” begs her royal parents to “allow her to go and shut herself … Continue reading

January 11, 2021 · Leave a Comment

Anne Le Fèvre Dacier in America

The summer of 1720 in France brought not only an outbreak of bubonic plague in Marseille and the economically disastrous bursting of John Law’s Mississippi … Continue reading

August 11, 2020 · 1 Comment

Madame d’Aulnoy’s productive confinement

According to many critics today, Madame d’Aulnoy’s contes des fées originated in the sociable setting of her salon. Jack Zipes, the doyen of American fairy-tale … Continue reading

May 2, 2020 · 3 Comments

The birth and beginnings of Madame d’Aulnoy

Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, baronne d’Aulnoy, died in Paris on January 13, 1705 – this has been known for a long time. But when … Continue reading

March 29, 2019 · 2 Comments

Marie-Madeleine Perrault (1674-1701)

This is no fairy tale but a true story. It is based on archival sources that have lain dormant for centuries and, to my knowledge, … Continue reading

December 31, 2017 · 1 Comment