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Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality and the Evolution of a Fairy Taleby Catherine Orenstein
Synopses & Reviews
In Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked Catherine Orenstein reveals for the first time the intricate sexual politics, moral ambiguities and philosophical underpinnings of Red Riding Hood's epic journey to Grandmother's house — and how, from the nursery on, the story influences our view of the world.
Beginning with its first publication as a cautionary tale on the perils of seduction, written in reaction to the licentiousness of the court of Louis XIV, Orenstein traces the many and various lives the tale has lived since then, from its appearance in modern advertisements for cosmetics and automobiles to the inspiration it brought to poets like Anne Sexton and its starring role in pornographic films. In Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked, Red appears as seductress, hapless victim, riot grrrrl, femme fatale, and even she-wolf, as Orenstein shows how, through centuries of different guises, the story has served as a barometer of social and sexual mores pertaining to women.
Full of fascinating history, generous wit, and intelligent analysis, Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked proves that the story of one young girl's trip through the woods continues to be one of our most compelling modern myths.
"A witty journey through the many versions of 'Little Red Riding Hood,' through which we can see the dazzling importance of the fairy tale to our cultural and sexual identity....One of her most fascinating points is that the tale has changed (and is changing) as society and gender identity has changed....Through this simple lens of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, we can see more clearly how far we have come, and perhaps how far we have to go." Michael Sauer, NewCity Chicago
Book News Annotation:
A freelance writer traces shifting cultural messages about sex roles reflected in this classic fairy tale's diverse incarnations. Versions interpreted and illustrated include Perrault's original 17th century tale, the Grimm brothers' Victorian revision, Avery's animated Red Hot Riding Hood (1943), a 1972 feminist version, and 1990s porn and indie movies. Based on a Harvard U. senior thesis.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A young scholar goes to Grandmother's house--and beyond--to uncover the surprisingly complex and contradictory morals found in the seemingly simple folk tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Illustrations.
About the Author
Catherine Orenstein is a free-lance writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Miami Herald, the San Francisco Examiner Sunday Magazine, and other publications. She lives in New York City.
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