The creator of the fairy tale (contes des feés) genre in literature, French poet Charles Perrault (1628–1703), was born on this day in Paris, the son of a wealthy family. Young Charles was a lawyer before pursuing a career in government service as a member of the French court.
Perrault was at the heart of "the quarrel of the ancients and the moderns," the Age of Enlightment debate which pitted the importance of classical ancient literature against "modern" literature. Perrault supported the literature of his day and wrote poetry most of his life.
With a passion for tales of magic and lore, at the age of 55, Perrault transformed a collection of eight traditional oral tales into literary stories for his book Tales of Mother Goose (1697).
"A young prince in love," Perrault wrote, "is always brave."
Because folk tales were considered peasant fodder, Perrault protected his identity by using his young son's name. His book captured the classic fantasies of Bluebeard, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and Little Red Riding Hood.
As German dramatist Johann Friedrich Von Schiller once observed, "Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life."
With fairy tales of heart and wisdom, Perrault celebrated truth and imagination, laying the foundation for the wealth of favorite fantasies in literature that followed. Children's writer Marjorie Barrows said, "A fairy seed I planted, so dry and white and old, there sprang a vine enchanted, with magic flowers of gold."
Live happily ever after...