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Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' Is Much Less Scandalous Than the Original Novel
From the topic Entertainment. If you're going to see the live action version of Beauty and the Beast this weekend, you might be surprised to find out it's based on a true story. It originates from a 16th Century romance between a French court servant and a man with incurable hair growth. The French author was inspired by the real-life story of Petrus Gonsalvus and his bride-to-be Catherine. Petrus suffered from hypertrichosis, which made thick, dark hair grow all over his body and face.
Here we cast our minds back to the aristocratic salons of 17 th century France. In this original novella length tale, the back-story of both Belle and the Beast is given. The Beast was a young prince who lost his father, and whose mother had to wage war to defend his kingdom. The queen left him in care of an evil fairy, who tried to seduce him when he became an adult; when he refused, she transformed him into a beast. Beaumont pared down the list of characters of Beauty and Beast and simplified the tale to transform it into a quintessential fairy tale.
While similar folktales have been kicking around for thousands of years , the story that most readers know comes directly from a novel by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, first published in When Beauty moves in, a troupe of performing monkeys and a chorus of talking parrots become her servants. Food, clothing, and jewels are magically provided for her. When she returns to the castle, Beauty finds that the Beast has fallen sick, and her concern makes her realize that she does feel affection for her captor. But the prince vanishes from her dreams, and when she awakens the next morning, the transformed Beast is lying beside her. When he rejected her advances, she transformed him into the Beast.
A wealthy merchant falls into penury after his ships founder at sea. He moves his family to the countryside to live a more frugal lifestyle. His six daughters and six sons resent the loss of their comfortable life, their social engagements, and their many admirers. His youngest daughter, Beauty, is the only one to make the best of the circumstances, throwing herself into the daily upkeep of the home in order to keep the family clean and fed. Her older sisters, who are less beautiful and less dutiful, resent her, and they mock her for contenting herself with menial work. Then, the merchant receives a welcome surprise: One of his ships, thought to be lost at sea, has come safely to harbor with its full cargo. His children think their fortune will surely be restored.
There was once a very rich merchant, who had six children, three sons, and three daughters; being a man of sense, he spared no cost for their education, but gave them all kinds of masters. His daughters were extremely handsome, especially the youngest. When she was little everybody admired her, and called her "The little Beauty;" so that, as she grew up, she still went by the name of Beauty, which made her sisters very jealous. The youngest, as she was handsomer, was also better than her sisters. The two eldest had a great deal of pride, because they were rich. They gave themselves ridiculous airs, and would not visit other merchants' daughters, nor keep company with any but persons of quality. They went out every day to parties of pleasure, balls, plays, concerts, and so forth, and they laughed at their youngest sister, because she spent the greatest part of her time in reading good books.
The French author had it published in , and her story had everything: elaborate subplots that allow in-depth analysis of characters; magical items such as a ring capable of transporting the protagonist to a certain place; characters such as those of the jealous sisters; as well as some societal themes, that the narrative hints at how women had their marriages arranged in the past. The latest film version of the story, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, a box office success of , is just the latest of numerous adaptations. We thought you might find it amusing to know how the original storyline went…. Beauty is the youngest of all six. As it is in later adaptations of the story, her character is attractive. She is the humble one, pure at heart, beautiful and well-read. Her sisters are also beautiful, but they are wicked, spoiled and would do anything to just mistreat and hurt Beauty.