THE SLEEPING BEAUTY by Charles Perrault


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Walker's translation from Perrault departs very little from those in the standard collections (Lang, for example), but his princess's awakening words, ""Is it you, dear prince?"" (with no mention of his long time coming), are evidence that the choices he has made have been in the direction of bland sentimentality. Similarly weakened, if less crucial, is the good fairy's arrival in a chariot drawn not by dragons, as is usual, but by doves. This tendency is even more evident in Walker's burnished, ultraromantic illustrations, which abound in drapery and blossoms and the most virginal of fairies. True, it's a romantic story, and many who are attracted to it will find the pictures suit their predisposition. But if Perrault's is the ultimate ""Sleeping Beauty"" it is also, compared to the solid perfection of the Grimms', a fragile one, and Walker is not always attuned to its subtler virtues. Where Travers (1974) overloaded the story with verbal frills, he sets it all atwitter with visual ones.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1977
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell