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The Princess Story

Modeling the Feminine in Twentieth-Century American Fiction and Film


Sarah Rothschild

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.


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™ BIBLIOGRAPHY ™ Primary Texts Baker, E. D. The Frog Princess. New York: Bloomsbury, U.S.A., 2002. Tales of the Frog Princess. Print. Beauty and the Beast. Dir. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Perf. Robby Benson, Paige O’Hara. 1991. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2002. DVD. Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World. Dir. Cullen Blaine and Daniel de la Vega. Perf. Robby Benson, Paige O’Hara. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 1998. DVD. Binchy, Maeve. “Cinderella Re-Examined.” 1985. Reprint. Ride on Rapunzel: Fairytales for Feminists. Dublin: Attic Press, 1992. Print. Burnett, Frances Hodgson. A Little Princess. 1905. Ed. U.C. Knoepflmacher. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print. ———. The One I Knew the Best of All. New York: Scribner’s, 1893. Print. ———. “Sara Crewe; or, What Happened at Miss Minchin’s.” Sara Crewe, Little Saint Elizabeth, and Other Stories. 1888. Reprint. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1900. Print. Cabot, Meg. Perfect Princess. New York: HarperCollins, 2004. The Princess Diaries. Print. ———. The Princess Diaries. 2000. New York: HarperTrophy, 2001. The Princess Diaries. Print. ———. Princess Lessons. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. The Princess Diaries. Print. ———. Princess in Love. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. The Princess Diaries. Print. ———. Princess in the Spotlight. New York: HarperTrophy, 2001. The Princess Diaries. Print. ———. Princess in Waiting. New York: HarperTrophy, 2003. The Princess Diaries. Print. Card, Orson Scott. Enchantment. New York: Ballentine Publishing Group, 1999. Print. Cinderella. Prod. Walt Disney. Dir.Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, and Clyde Geronimi. Voices by Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audrey, Verna Felton, Claire Dubrey, Helene Stanley, etc. Buena Vista Home Entertainment. 2005. DVD. Dokey, Cameron. Beauty...

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