"Beauty and the Beast" and Other Tales

Life and work

She was born in 1711 in Rouen, the daughter of Marie-Barbe Plantart and Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, and died in 1780. She lost her mother when she was only eleven. After that, she and her younger sister were mentored by two wealthy women who entered them into the convent school at Ernemont in Rouen. They were educated and then taught there from 1725 to 1735.[1]

Subsequently, she obtained a prestigious position as a singing teacher to the children at the Court of the Duke of Lorraine, Stanisław Leszczyński, at Lunéville.[2]

Her first marriage was in 1737 to the dancer Antoine Malter. Details of a second marriage to Grimard de Beaumont are unclear. However, it is known that she bore a daughter, named Elisabeth, by Beaumont.

In 1748, having separated from Beaumont in reaction to his marital infidelities, she left France to become a governess in London.[3] She wrote several fairy tales, among them an abridged version of Beauty and the Beast, adapted from Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's original.[4] After a successful publishing career in England, she left that country in 1763 with her daughter Elisabeth and son-in-law Moreau. She lived first in Savoy, near the city of Annecy, then moved to Avallon near Dijon in 1774 (see her personal letter #21 dated 22 December 1774 to Thomas Tyrrell).

Her first work, the moralistic novel The Triumph of Truth (Le Triomphe de la vérité), was published in 1748. She published approximately seventy volumes during her literary career Most famous were the collections she called "magasins," instructional handbooks for parents and educators of students from childhood through adolescence. She was one of the first to include folk tales as moralist and educational tools in her writings.

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