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The Sprites of Kernosy Castle (1710) by the Countess Henriette-Julie de Murat illuminates the history of the novel from the late seventeenth to the early eighteenth century and Murat’s role as a transitional figure who, as she evolves, moves away from the marvelous and from earlier models of the novel. By undermining the marvelous — the sprites are in reality noblemen — and by situating the action in the author’s present, rather than in the sixteenth century or earlier as had been typical, Murat challenges both the genre of the fairy tale, in which she had once engaged, and that of the novel. The introduction provides valuable context — the history of leisure, the history of theater as a part of aristocratic life — and crucial information about Murat’s life and her contributions to the development of the novel.
-Anne E. Duggan, Professor of French, Department of Classical & Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Wayne State University

The Sprites of Kernosy Castle exemplifies the novel of leisure, a type of fiction that became popular in the late seventeenth century, reflecting both increased interest in the private lives of the aristocracy and a pre-Enlightenment questioning of political and religious orthodoxies. Murat combines humor, social satire, and a proto-feminist outlook in a well-constructed plot where the supernatural is debunked. The insertion of two fairy tales into the 1753 edition of Sprites, which was extensively rewritten by Marie-Madeleine de Lubert, illustrates the paradox of Murat’s career: having won fame initially as a writer of fairy tales, she later eschewed them, only to have them reintroduced by a later reviser.

PERRY GETHNER (1947–2023), Regents Professor emeritus, Oklahoma State University, was an expert in early modern French drama, religious plays, the baroque opera libretto, and the history of women playwrights. Over the course of a long and distinguished career, he published more than 70 scholarly articles and 30 critical editions and translations.

ALLISON STEDMAN is Professor of French at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. A specialist in seventeenth-century French cultural history, she is the author of Rococo Fiction in France, 1600–1715: Seditious Frivolity, and has published widely on early modern French women writers.

The Sprites of Kernosy Castle (1710) by the Countess Henriette-Julie de Murat illuminates the history of the novel from the late seventeenth to the early eighteenth century and Murat’s role as a transitional figure who, as she evolves, moves away from the marvelous and from earlier models of the novel. By undermining the marvelous — the sprites are in reality noblemen — and by situating the action in the author’s present, rather than in the sixteenth century or earlier as had been typical, Murat challenges both the genre of the fairy tale, in which she had once engaged, and that of th...

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book Details

  • Page Count:

    184 pages

  • Publication Year:

    2024

  • Publisher:

    Iter Press
  • Series:

    • The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series 105

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USD$ 49.95 ISBN 978-1-64959-106-7 Order Print Book

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