Belle – Emma Watson
Mixed media marker and pencil.
Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins (The Young American and Marine Tales). Her lengthy version was abridged, rewritten, and published by French novelist Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756 in Magasin des enfants (Children’s Collection) to produce the version most commonly retold. Later, Andrew Lang retold the story in Blue Fairy Book, a part of the Fairy Book series, in 1889. The fairy tale was influenced by Ancient Greek stories such as “Cupid and Psyche” from The Golden Ass, written by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis in the second century AD, and The Pig King, an Italian fairytale published by Giovanni Francesco Straparola in The Facetious Nights of Straparola around 1550.
Variants of the tale are known across Europe. In France, for example, Zémire and Azor is an operatic version of the story, written by Marmontel and composed by Grétry in 1771, which had enormous success into the 19th century. Zémire and Azor is based on the second version of the tale. Amour pour amour (Love for love), by Pierre-Claude Nivelle de La Chaussée, is a 1742 play based on de Villeneuve’s version. According to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, the story originated about 4,000 years ago.