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Countess d'Aulnoy

(1651 - 1705)

Countess d'Aulnoy, born Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville (1651–1705), was a French author credited with popularising the term "fairy tale" through her prolific literary works. Her aristocratic background and tumultuous personal life provided a rich tapestry from which she drew inspiration for her tales. During a time when the literary salons of Paris burgeoned with intellectual discussions and storytelling, Countess d'Aulnoy established herself as a notable figure in shaping the literary form of the fairy tale.

D'Aulnoy's foray into literature began after returning to France following an unhappy marriage and time spent in Spain. Engaging in the salon culture, she started writing and soon earned acclaim for her innovative fairy tales and novels. Among her significant works are "The Island of Happiness" and "The White Cat," which showcased her ability to weave intricate, fantastical worlds with themes of transformation, deception, and virtue.

Her collections, including "Tales of the Fairies" (1697), contained stories imbued with the moral and cultural undertones of her times. D'Aulnoy's fairy tales often featured strong, clever heroines who navigated complex societies—a reflection of the salon's sophisticated, female-dominated environment.

Countess d'Aulnoy's stories have had a lasting impact on the genre, influencing other literary figures and enduring within European cultural narratives. Her pioneering spirit and the artistry of her storytelling solidify her place in the history of fairy tale literature.

Short Stories member since August 2019