Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, And The Evolution Of A Fairy Tale

“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 her grandmother's house–and how, from the nursery on, fairy tales influence 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 lives the tale has lived since then, from its appearance in modern advertisements for cosmetics and automobiles, the inspiration it brought to poets such as 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.” –Amazon.com

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“Once upon a time, Red Riding Hood was a good little girl. When she foolishly strayed from the path in the forest and spoke to strangers, she fell prey to the wicked wolf, but, fortunately, the heroic woodcutter rescued her just in time. Today’s versions of the popular fairy tale tell a different story: for example, in the 1996 movie Freeway, the paved-over forest is full of gangs, guns, and wolves, but the teenager is her own savior. And what about that wolf in drag? With wit and insight, Orenstein makes us look again at the old childhood story, how it has changed and what that says about us. From Perrault and the Brothers Grimm to Bruno Bettelheim and Andrea Dworkin, the lively informal narrative surveys the stories and the scholarship in terms of folklore, psychology, feminism, and pornography. It’s as reader that Orenstein is most insightful. Never self-righteous, she shows that the story’s power lies in the truth that we are all a bit of everything: girl, grandmother, woodcutter, wolf.” Hazel Rochman, Booklist
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