1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aulnoy, Marie Catherine le Jumel de Barneville de la Motte

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 2
Aulnoy, Marie Catherine le Jumel de Barneville de la Motte

AULNOY (or Aunoy), MARIE CATHERINE LE JUMEL DE BARNEVILLE DE LA MOTTE, Baronne D’ (c. 1650–1705), French author, was born about 1650 at Barneville near Bourg-Achard (Eure). She was the niece of Marie Bruneau des Loges, the friend of Malherbe and of J. G. de Balzac, who was called the “tenth Muse.” She married on the 8th of March 1666 François de la Motte, a gentleman in the service of César, duc de Vendôme, who became Baron d’Aulnoy in 1654. With her mother, who by a second marriage had become marquise de Gudaigne, she instigated a prosecution for high treason against her husband. The conspiracy was exposed, and the two women saved themselves by a hasty flight to England. Thence they went (February 1679) to Spain, but were eventually allowed to return to France in reward for secret services rendered to the government. Mme. d’Aulnoy died in Paris on the 14th of January 1705. She wrote fairy tales, Contes nouvelles ou les Fées à la mode (3 vols., 1698), in the manner of Charles Perrault. This collection (24 tales) included L’Oiseau bleu, Finette Cendron, La Chatte blanche and others. The originals of most of her admirable tales are to be found in the Pentamerone (1637) of Giovanni Battista Basile. Other works are: L’Histoire d’Hippolyte, comte de Duglas (1690), a romance in the style of Madame de la Fayette, though much inferior to its model; Mémoires de la cour d’Espagne (1679–1681); and a Relation du voyage d’Espagne (1690 or 1691) in the form of letters, edited in 1874–1876 as La Cour et la ville de Madrid by Mme. B. Carey; Histoire de Jean de Bourbon (1692); Mémoires sur la cour de France (1692); Mémoires de la cour d’Angleterre (1695). Her historical writings are partly borrowed from existing records, to which she adds much that must be regarded as fiction, and some vivid descriptions of contemporary manners.

The Diverting Works of the Countess d’Anois, including some extremely untrustworthy “Memoirs of her own life,” were printed in London in 1707. The Fairy Tales of Madame d’Aulnoy, with an introduction by Lady Thackeray Ritchie, appeared in 1892. For biographical particulars see M. de Lescure’s introduction to the Contes des Fées (1881).