This post is by Mari Ness from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content
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“Either become a woman, or make me a cat.”
The image of a beast hiding deep within an enchanted forest in an enchanted castle, waiting to be transformed through love, is generally associated with, well, male beasts. The beasts also typically have a frightening appearance: they are often bears, or lions, or something too terrifying to describe.
But sometimes, that enchanted beast is a girl. As in Madame d’Aulnoy’s novelette, “The White Cat.”
Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Comtesse d’Aulnoy, (1650-1705) lived a life that was either mostly fabulous or mostly fabricated, depending upon precisely who you spoke to. One of those fabulous fabrications: accusing her husband of committing high treason, an allegation that eventually forced her to flee France for a time. Despite her exile, she later purchased a house in Paris in the late 1680s, without her estranged husband’s assistance but with his at least tacit ...