The Moral(s) of the Story: Early Versions of ‘blaubart’
This chapter looks at early German translations of Perrault's conte, and at the familiar, classic versions by the Grimms (1812) and Ludwig Bechstein (1845), all of which seek to cover over the material's explosive potential in similar ways. The development of ‘Blaubart’ in the classic 19th-century versions involves several significant features. It confirms Suhrbier's suggestion that the 18th- and 19th-century Bluebeard tradition uses distancing devices, since Tieck, the Grimms, and Bechstein all distance the tale both in time and class from their bourgeois present. The social dimension that is so important in Perrault's version is removed from the later texts, thus isolating the bride and making her appear more helpless. As far as the bride herself is concerned, there is an increasing narratorial ambivalence, and her transgression is miniaturized into curiosity, which in turn becomes a foolish covetousness. Thus, like the children at whom such Märchen were increasingly directed, the wife appears immature and in need of education.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.