From Beast to Blonde

From Beast To Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers

Mariana Warner, 1994

This is an entrancing, multi-layered and as wittily subversive as fairy tales themselves, this beautifully illustrated work explores and illuminates the unfolding history of famous fairy tales and the contexts in which they flourished. It also lifts the curtain on the tellers themselves – from ancient sibyls and old crones to the more modern Angela Carter and, of course, Walt Disney. A brilliant compendium of folklore, fairytales and learning which reveals unexpected links and histories behind some of our oldest and most-loved tales.

Rather than treating the stories as `archetypal’ tales, Marina Warner returns them firmly to their historical context – a context in which small children really were abandoned in the forest during times of famine, where daughters suffered incest in silence, and where the lives of penniless old women were precarious indeed. As she restores the social context that has been airbrushed away since these tales were written down, she reveals them as they were: coded stratagems for survival, triumph, subversion, rebellion. Fairy tales, as she says, have `a generic commitment to justice’.


Xantippa, From Old Wives Tale by George Peele says, “A Woman without a Tongue is a Solider without his Weapon.” (13)

Andrew Lange wrote the Fairy Tale Books: Red, Green, Yellow, Blue and Rose

Italo Calvino Fiabe 1956

Charles Perrault 1697

Storks would return in the spring to nest on house chimneys and they came to symbolize birth. Later, parents told children that storks fetched babies from the marshes and brought them to their parents. See 1916 Painting. (54)

Mother Goose. Goose is Aphrodite. Goose became associated with Sex and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.  The Goose Month is the 1 month of Bedrest before Birth. (57)

Women story tellers associated with Storks and Geese (or the Goose).

Then Storks were associated with Doctors or Obygen’s.

Storks also were associated with the industrial revolution as well as they were portrayed as carrying bags of dirty laundry.

Sybl Nurse tells the children the future. (79)

Saint Ann, Dear Nan, Sybls II

German Ana is Grandmother. Ano is Grandfather or Ancestor. Greek Annis is Maternal or Paternal. Latin Anus is an old Unmarried Women. English Nan or Nana for Grandma. Nanny is then a Nurse or Grandmother-Like Role (86)

The Magic of the Cross: Queen of Shebal

“The legends Antoine de La Sale collected appeared in different forms elsewhere: Fazio degli Uberti (d.1367) had written a poem about Simon Magus, in which the wizard travels to the area to dedicate his grimoire to the pagan oracle; Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (d.1464), who became Pope Pius II, first identified Sibilla with the goddess of love, Venus herself.”

Beauty and Beast represents many dichotomies: Innocent and Adulterated, Good and Evil, Love and Self-Hatred, Overcoming Abuse

The Beast is Symbolic of Man’s Inner Beast. Belle is Physically Attractive and Pure of Heart.  Belle is Educated (Alone with Books and Isolated). Magic Rose is Enchanted. It represents the Pure Self.  It is delicate and thorny like the Psyche of The Beast.

Beauty by Robin McKinney, 1978, is  a retelling of the Fairy Tale.  “The rose had opened no wider. It was as though it had been frozen at the moment of its most perfect beauty. Looking at it—its perfume filled the room—I found it easy to believe that this rose would never die.

Beauty as Persephone and Beast as Hades.


About carilynn27

Reading and writing and writing about reading are my passion. I've been keeping a journal since I was 14. I also write fiction and poetry. I published my first collection of short stories, "Radiant Darkness" in 2000. I followed that up with my first collection of poetry in 2001 called "Journey without a Map." In 2008, I published "Persephone's Echo" another collection of poetry. Since then I've also published Emotional Espionage, The Way The Story Ended, My Perfect Drug and Out There. I have my BA in English from The Ohio State University at Mansfield and my MA in English Lit from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I also have my Post BA Certificate in Women's Studies. I am the mother of two beautiful children. :-)
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1 Response to From Beast to Blonde

  1. Janalee Smith says:


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