Everyone loves a fairy tale. There have been countless movies, countless books that have taken classic fairy tales and given them their own special spin.
But do you know where the genre of fairy tales was born? Or when some of the most famous fairy tales came about?
Well, now, dearest readers, I have some tantalizing tidbits to tell…
Once upon a time, there was a land full of decadence and excesses with elegant lords and ladies who lived in city mansions and sprawling palatial country estates. There were spectacular ballrooms and elaborate masquerade balls. Theatre and scandal sheets.
Yes, dearest readers, it was a time as fine as Regency England. Just as polished. With an added healthy dose of salaciousness.
That time was the 17th century. That place was the decadent Kingdom of France.
And it had all the elements we find in fairy tales.
There was a King – a lusty one, in fact. Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, loved sex and indulged in amorous encounters up to twice a day – into his seventies. The only thing he adored as much as women was dance and established the first school of ballet. King Louis and his glittering court were not only connoisseurs of the arts – but of the carnal arts as well. The pursuit of sinful pleasures was a pastime. Sex, an art form.
There was a queen – two, actually. The first was said to have been poisoned, something not uncommon in fairy tales.
Princes and Princesses – Louis had a number of mistresses, a brood of illegitimate children, most of whom he legitimized.
A castle – No, better than that! Palaces! Several owned by the King, the most magnificent of which was and still is the Palace of Versailles. Commissioned by Louis XIV, it is majestic, full of opulence and splendor. He wanted and got a palace fit for the most powerful monarch in all of Christendom.
It was during this time period that 17th c. French lawyer/writer Charles Perrault first began writing down fairy tales – folklore that had been passed on verbally for generations – and added morals to his stories. Soon fairy tales became a highly fashionable topic of discussion in the renowned salons of Paris – places of enlightenment, drawing the intellectually elite from around the world. Hosted by women of the upper class, the salons were where the literati – writers, poets, dramatists and grammarians – gathered with statesmen and the aristocracy to discuss and debate history and literature, religion and philosophy.
Charles Perrault created the Tales of Mother Goose in a magical, glorious time and wrote Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, to name a few.
And I, dearest readers, must admit that I find this most sumptuous place and time just as inspiring.
Both my 2010 releases, AWAKENED BY A KISS and THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED are a collection of stories – three classic fairy tales in each book, wickedly retold – with my very own steamy spin – and set during the very time when the genre of fairy tales was born!
Once upon a time, far, far away….