Charles Perrault

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Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author who laid foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, and whose best known tales, derived from pre-existing folk tales, include Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), La Belle au bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty), Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté (Puss in Boots), Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre (Cinderella), La Barbe bleue (Bluebeard), Le Petit Poucet (Hop o' My Thumb), Les Fées (Diamonds and Toads), La Marquise de Salusses ou la Patience de Griselidis (Patient Griselda), Les Souhaits ridicules (The Ridiculous Wishes), Peau d'Âne (Donkeyskin) and Riquet à la houppe (Ricky of the Tuft).[1] Perrault's stories continue to be printed and have been adapted to opera, ballet (e.g., Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty), theatre, and film.



Perrault was born in Paris to a wealthy bourgeois family, the seventh child of Pierre Perrault and Paquette Le Clerc. He attended good schools and studied law before embarking on a career in government service, following in the footsteps of his father and older brother Jean. He took part in the creation of the Academy of Sciences as well as the restoration of the Academy of Painting. In 1654, he moved in with his brother Pierre, who had purchased a post as the principal tax collector of the city of Paris. When the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres was founded in 1663, Perrault was appointed its secretary and served under Jean Baptiste Colbert, finance minister to King Louis XIV.[3] Jean Chapelain, Amable de Bourzeys, and Jacques Cassagne (the King's librarian) were also appointed. Due to his position as Colbert's administrative aide, he was able to get his his brother, Claude Perrault, rendition of the severe east range of the Louvre, built between 1665 and 1680, to be seen by Colbert. It was chosen over designs by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and François Mansart. One of the factors leading to this choice included the fear of high costs, for which other architects were infamous, and second was the personal antagonism between Louis XIV and Bernini.

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