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Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale Hardcover – 12 Aug 2000

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (12 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465041256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465041251
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,136,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Catherine Orenstein is a writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the San Francisco Examiner, Ms., the New York Times Op-Ed page and other publications. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where the idea for Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked began as her senior thesis. She lives in New York City. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading this and I have to say it was an enjoyable and interesting mix. Mostly I could not put it down though there were rare points when I thought the author was really grasping at straws and getting too sidetracked in her point. It covers most versions of Little Red Riding Hood from the early stories- The Grandmother's Tale, Perrault's Le Petit Chaperon Rogue, the Grimm's Little Red Cap- the more adult versions by Tanith Lee and Angela Carter amongst others, several poems based of the fairytale, films- Freeway, The Company of Wolves- and adverts.

It analyses each one divided into topics including Red as a victim, a sex symbol and indeed even a villain and the wolf as a villain and a cross dresser bringing up interesting points about both characters and how the story has developed over the years turning Red from a disobedient child of warning to a brazen sex symbol who wanted the wolf to come to her or was more than capable of dealing with him.

There were many opinions and topics offered in this book, some I had never heard of or considered before, which offered for an enthralling read but there were times when I felt it could have offered more on some topics and less on others for example, when it came to The Company of Wolves and the short stories by Angela Carter it was based on I was really looking forward in the author plunging into the film, really analysing it and going into depth about the three stories, as it was both topics were mentioned by only for a couple of paragraphs, equally Tanith Lee's short story Wolfland was only loosely covered.
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Format: Hardcover
Catherine Orenstein gives a truly remarkable review of the history of red riding hood. Starting with the version of Perault, she moves on to the brothers Grimm, only to go back to the oral history before Perault. Then she evaluates the function of the story in different settings and times, giving original and eye-opening opinions.

What do you think of her vision of the various Prince Charmings: necrophilic pedophiles. Pointing out that the prince of Snowwhite falls in love with her after she died and wants to share his life with a corpse, and the prince of Sleeping Beauty falls in love with her comatose body lying in a death-like state. Both ladies underaged.

An other interesting vision is her disagrement with feministes that red riding hood was raped. Yes in our perspective she is. The wolf is a sexual active male as Perault point out and Orenstein confirms with several examples. But rape didn't exist in the days of Perault. It was the father of the girl who was robbed of the chance to arrange a marriage for his daughter and make some fortune out of it.

The book is written with great insight and also humor. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really interesting exploration of the popular fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. It follows the evolution of the tale from Perrault's Little Red Riding Hood, to Carter's Company of Wolves and the film Freeway starring Reese Witherspoon. It shows just how much of an impact this one tale has had on our society and is entertaining and easy to read. It is a good starting point for anyone wishing to study the origins and development of Red Riding Hood or just someone wanting to learn more about it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An actual over view of Red Riding Hood, thought Red Riding Hood would have been physically uncloaked, great essay.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read unique spin on classic fairy tales 12 Dec. 2002
By Stephanie Manley - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book puts a unique spin on a common children's fairy tale that many of us grew up with. As she states in the book this story starts out rather baudy and morphs as our morality changes through time. Little Red Riding Hood becomes younger and younger through the years with first starting out as a young woman undressing and crawling into bed with the wolf, until now where the woman singlehandedly defeats the wolf herself.
I like this book because she brings in historical context of this tale. It is amazing how many tales may have originated from the French Court during its heyday. Cinderella, which also started out much differently, Rapunzell, are all noted in this book. I hope the author continues writing about other tales as she did this one. Her style makes it hard to put this one down.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fun, sexy, thoughtful 16 July 2004
By Cherie Priest - Published on
Format: Paperback
This was a fun little ride through one of the more iconic fairy tales - tracing its original publication as a morality fable about high-society sexual escapades and traipsing on down through the twentieth century. Along the way, the book addresses old Bugs Bunny cartoons, Sam the Sham and the Pharohs ("Little Red Riding Hood ... you sure are looking good ... you're everything a big bad wolf could want ...") and Kim Cattrall in the Pepsi commercial where the wolf/woman roles are exaggerated and fused. Lots of good analysis going on here; much of it is fairly obvious, but every now and again the author surprises you with a little moment of, "Huh. I never thought about it that way."
Definitely a fun pop culture read. I might even go so far as to say it's one of the better ones I've gotten my hands on in awhile.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST Read !! 29 July 2002
By Daniel Weiss - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Catherine Orenstein has a real hit here. A fast, engaging, "can't put it down" read, "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked" is smart and funny and sexy and engaging all the way along. Her research is deep, the analysis powerful, and she turns a nice phrase too! ("Like a prism that refracts light and delivers the spectrum of the rainbow, 'Little Red Riding Hood' splits and reveals the various elements of human identity"). She uses the story as a window into so many aspects of culture, society and the human psyche. I Loved it!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The morphology of a fairy tale 11 Aug. 2006
By Steve Reina - Published on
Format: Paperback
Though just reduced to writing within the past three hundred years, little red riding hood existed even earlier as an oral tradition.

Interestingly enough, there's evidence to show that little red riding hood was widely told and retold in both the east and west with both oriental and European versions.

A good scholar, Orenstein faithfully recounts ten versions of the story as it has been retold in the west over the past three hundred years. Though some forms have been more baudy and violent, throughout Orenstein has seen the story as a sort of potential myth of female empowerment.

As one reads this book, one is reminded of the various versions of the flood story as told and retold through the world's religious traditions. Just as each religion took the story and retold it in its own distinctive fashion, each culture and time has taken the little red riding hood story retelling it in its own distinctive fashion.

In this sense, the retellings say more about the culture or individual doing the talking than they do about any intrinsic pedagogic value the story may have in its own right.

Though like many commentators, Orenstein referenced Joseph Campbell when discussing the imponderables of why certain stories seem to have such pan cultural staying power, it should be noted that great strides have taken place in behavioral psychology in the past fifty years since Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. So, those interested in really learning why certain stories have staying power over others would be wise to consult the works of Pascal Boyer.

For her part though, Orenstein has produced a great book that essentially tells the story by letting the story speak for itself.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific insight into an intersting tale 26 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a layman to the fairy tale culture, I found Catherine Orenstein's book fascinating. She brings the eqique tale, which we all know in detail, to the forefront explaining its cultural and historical context. For instance, the initial yarn was told during Louie IV's courtyard as a warning for young girls to protect their virginity. Its usefulness continues today and is now seen promoting products around the world. Catherine Orenstein makes a powerful case for Red, and other fairy tales, impact on society.
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