History

Sleeping Beauty’s earliest influence apparently comes from “Perceforest,” a French romance first printed in 1528. While not a Sleeping Beauty tale, Perceforest (1528) contains many elements similar to the later Sleeping Beauty tales.sleeping beauty

The next known version of the tale came from Giambattista Basile’s “Sun, Moon, and Talia” also known more formally as Il Pentamerone, Day 5, Tale 5 (1636). This is the tale which is thought to have influenced Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty. Perrault included his version, the first to use Sleeping Beauty as a title, as the first tale in his Histories ou Contes du temps passĂ© (1697).

After Perrault, the Grimms wrote down “Briar Rose” for their own collection of tales. This version is the tamest and does not involve any of the cannibalism, adultery or rape that is found in some of the earlier renditions. The Grimm version is thought to be derived from the Perrault version which preceded it, although the Grimm brothers would have vehemently denied such a connection. The Grimm’s tale is the most well-known version, barring Disney’s animated feature, although Perrault’s title is more commonly used. The Grimm tale ends earlier than the others with Beauty awaking with the Prince’s chaste kiss. The former versions like Perrault’s continued the story with the marriage and the events that followed. In the earliest variations, the king or prince impregnates Beauty in her sleep and then leaves. She wakes up when she gives birth to her twin children and one suckles her finger, removing the flax.

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