How Old Was Charles Perrault When He Wrote His First Fairy Tale?
Believe it or not Charles Perrault was almost 70 years old when he wrote his first fairy tales in 1697! They were instant hits, and it is from Perrault Fairy Tales that we get the most famous versions of some classic stories.
Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author and member of the Académie Française. He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales.
The best known of his tales include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots), La Belle au bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty), and Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard).
Some of Perrault’s versions of old stories may have influenced the German versions published by the Brothers Grimm more than 100 years later. The stories continue to be printed and have been adapted to opera, ballet (such as Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty), theatre, and film.
Perrault was an influential figure in the 17th-century French literary scene, and was the leader of the Modern faction during the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.
Perrault was born in Paris to a wealthy bourgeois family, the seventh child of Pierre Perrault and Paquette Le Clerc. He attended very good schools and studied law before embarking on a career in government service, following in the footsteps of his father and elder brother Jean.
He was always ahead of his time, and caused a stir for writing that modern ideas are better than ancient ideas. He believed in the future and in progress, so it is very strange that we celebrate him for Tales of Times Past! When his wife died he gave up his public life to educate their children. Charles Perrault died five years later, in Paris in the year 1703.