Publication Details

L. Gomez Romero, 'The wondrous (Baroque) gender revolution, or the rise and fall of the empire of fairies' in M. Leiboff & D. Carpi(eds), Fables of the Law: Fairy Tales in a Legal Context (2016) 49-81.


The essay which follows is mainly concerned with how the history of ideas on norms, justice and power is shaped by the stories we tell and how we tell them. It specifically addresses the normative codes introduced into Western imaginaries by the raise of the literary fairy tale in France during the late seventeenth century. In both their oral and literary varieties, wonder fairy tales (Zaubermärchen or contes merveilleux) have constantly charted and undermined the contours of our cultural and political realities by escaping or retreating from them.³ The merveilleux genre allowed the first writers of fairy tales to act ideologically by embedding their own views on social conditions and conflicts into their narratives, while they interacted at the same time with each other and with past writers and storytellers in the public sphere.⁴ The question of the history and meaning of the first literary fairytales hence reflects the paradoxical cultural and political realities of the Baroque, which is the cultural and historical context in which they were created. In other words, the baroque aesthetic strategies deployed in the first literary fairy tales mirror specific political and juridical tensions which, I will argue, continue to relate to our understanding of the world today.



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