The better to eat you with : the anthropophagy plots of fairy tales

Storti, Silvia (2021) The better to eat you with : the anthropophagy plots of fairy tales. In: Champion, Giulia, (ed.) Interdisciplinary essays on cannibalism : bites here and there. New York, U.S. : Routledge. pp. 176-189. (Warwick series in the Humanities) ISBN 9780367432607


This chapter examines a couple of examples of cannibalism in fairy tales and their adaptations, highlighting the links between past and present portrayals of anthropophagical plots and characters. Dorothy Thelander postulates that cannibalism may have been excised from oral tales in order to make less odious the identification with the rich landlords it might have represented, but it is indubitable that the fabrication of the ogre race allowed anthropophagy to persist in fairy-tale narratives. Charles Perrault penned his Sleeping Beauty along with other tales at the end of the 17th century, putting his secondary villain in line with Thelander’s analysis. Perrault’s ‘les inclinations des Ogres’ is translated as the ‘inclinations of an ogress’, which seems to imply a more human queen mother than the French text; even Carter, in her own version, gives it as ‘the queen still had ogrish instincts’.

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