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Secrets beyond the Door: The Story of Bluebeard and His Wives Paperback – 3 Oct 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (3 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691127832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691127835
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 733,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"In this fine book, which both scholars and ordinary readers enjoy, as I did, [Tatar] casts her net wide. She reprints several versions of 'Bluebeard,' and discusses not only these tales and their many variants, but also the reappearance of the story in fiction, film, opera, and poetry."--Alison Lurie, The American Scholar

"A respected critic of fairy tales, Tatar takes on Bluebeard and the result is a deeply resonant, fascinating study of intertextuality. . . . [S]he persuasively demonstrates how the Bluebeard tale shifts its shape century by century, revealing the secret anxieties of the age regarding sexuality, coming of age, romance, marriage, and marital discord."--Choice

"Secrets beyond the Door is full of transmutations and sublimations. Harvard professor Maria Tatar . . . returns with a scintillating account of what generations of high and low culture have done to the Bluebeard folktale."--John Leonard, Harper's

"A book that unlocks the reasons of transgression in the chambers of the mind."--Alex Moore, Foreword Magazine

From the Back Cover

"Learned. Readable. Entertaining. This is a fascinating exploration of a story that in one sense never changes, but at the same time is always changing, illuminating shifting cultural attitudes about marriage, secrecy, enterprising women and withheld men. Tatar has produced a vivid kaleidoscope of curious women and the mistrust they arouse."--Nina Auerbach, University of Pennsylvania

"A brisk, often breezy survey of one of the foundational stories of modern culture and its sexual mythologies. Tatar's book traces the changing, but still robust, reputation of Bluebeard's wife from its first wide dissemination in fairy tale and folklore to its later reworkings in literature, film, opera and cultural criticism. Tatar herself has been indefatigably curious in collecting various versions of the tale and in sighting otherwise almost invisible references to Bluebeard and his wife in contemporary literature."--Maria DiBattista, Princeton University

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First Sentence
whose problem-solving skills and psychological finesse make her a shrewd detective, capable of rescuing herself and often her marriage in the bargain. But she can also be seen as a figure who wants to know too much, whose curiosity represents a betrayal of trust, as Edna St. Vincent Millay suggests in a Bluebeard poem: "And you did so profane me when you crept/Unto the threshold of this room to-night." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scheherazade VINE VOICE on 7 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Maria Tatar is excellent -- this book is informative and easy to understand, but, above all, fascinating. She begins by discussing the origins of the Bluebeard tale, providing accompanying images of some beautiful illustrations that have graced reproductions of the story over the years. After this, she examines the role of both Bluebeard and his wife in a variety of modern productions, looking at the ways they've been adapted and changed, and suggesting some possible reasons. Ultimately, this is a brilliant book for anyone interested in the Bluebeard fairytale, and it's a great starting point for anyone studying or researching one of its modern variants.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In depth exploration of a universal tale 26 May 2013
By Daniel T. Keding - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maria Tatar once again gives us a book that opens the doors to the mysteries of the fairy tale. The book takes us from the origins of the story to movie treatment of this important fairy tale. Another great addition to her continuing study of our cultural literature.
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