The Princess Story

Modeling the Feminine in Twentieth-Century American Fiction and Film

by Sarah Rothschild (Author)
©2013 Monographs VIII, 276 Pages
Series: Modern American Literature, Volume 63


What is a princess story? In this subgenre, newly defined in The Princess Story, the protagonist either is a princess or is attempting to become one: the girl transforms into or identifies herself as a princess through marriage or through discovered identity, or both. Princess lessons often accompany this transformation, lessons that not only educate the fictional girl but also the reader.
Cultural expectations and anxieties about the roles of girls and women are transmitted through princess stories, and the dialogic nature of feminism and patriarchy, forces for progress and forces for tradition, can be explored through their study. In this book, feminism and progress are embodied by the first, second, and third wave of feminist princess stories; patriarchy and tradition are represented by Disney Studios’ princess stories. All of these stories influenced their readers, some of whom grew up to write their own princess stories, stories that reflected and – they hoped – furthered their ideological goals. Princess stories of the early 2000s are compelling in that they tensely balance romance and feminist assumptions.
Anyone interested in folklore studies, feminist studies, children’s literature, Disney studies, film adaptations, psychology, sociology, or theories of child development will find The Princess Story: Modeling the Feminine in Twentieth-Century American Fiction and Film essential reading. When contemplating the changes made by feminists to American culture, no one figure is as worth examining as the fictional princess, and no book has yet approached the topic as thoroughly as this one.


VIII, 276
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2013 (June)
transformation folklore identity progress tradition
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2013.VIII, 276 pp.

Biographical notes

Sarah Rothschild (Author)

Sarah Rothschild earned her PhD in English literature at the Graduate School and University Center, CUNY. Her two master’s degrees, in history and English, are from Temple University. She has been a presenter at the NCTE Annual Convention and has won the Honored Faculty Award and the Faculty Peer Recognition Award at the Art Institute of Washington, where she serves as Lead Faculty for English.


Title: The Princess Story