The Temptation of the Material in Jean Lorrain’s Fairy Tales: ‘La Princesse sous verre’ and ‘La Princesse Neigefleur’
The glass coffin, a central motif in ‘La Princesse Neigefleur’ and ‘La Princesse sous Verre,’ underpins the relationship of Lorrain’s decadent fairy tales to their sources in Perrault and Grimm. This magical element is reserved for the female object of desire in Snow White and Sleeping-Beauty type tales, models which the decadent author emulates. Lorrain’s stories, however, develop in the ellipses of the well-known narratives. His elaboration on the texts amplifies them without propelling them forward, investing them instead with a wealth of material detail. The glass coffin becomes an ornate reliquary serving as mise en abyme for the fairy tale genre. The author encases his sources in another text, which appeals to the decadent sensibility through decoration, materiality, and idiosyncratic imagery. Constituting Lorrain’s original contribution to the genre, this renders the fairy tale a ‘matter pool’ showcasing the porosity of the literary text to its material subjects.
Oancea, Ana, "The Temptation of the Material in Jean Lorrain’s Fairy Tales: ‘La Princesse sous verre’ and ‘La Princesse Neigefleur’" (2017). Modern Foreign Languages Faculty Work. 96.
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