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Auneuil, Louise de Bossigny, comtesse d'

The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales

Jack Zipes

Auneuil, Louise de Bossigny, comtesse d' (d. 1700?), French writer of fairy tales. 

Virtually nothing is known of d'Auneuil's life, save that she had connections with the high society of her day and probably held a salon. Her works reflect the light-hearted social milieu for which many fairy tales were written in France at the turn of the 18th century. D'Auneuil's collection, La Tyrannie des fées détruite (The Tyranny of the Fairies Destroyed, 1701), begins with a story of the same name that depicts the end of fairies' powers; however, they reappear, their magic intact, in the subsequent tales. The cataclysmic title was doubtless a marketing ploy but none the less reflects the significant narrative and cultural role fairies play in French contes de fées. Three of her fairy tales are published as letters and are early examples of women's periodical literature: ‘La Princesse de Pretintailles’ (1702) and ‘Les Colinettes’ (1703), which concern decorations on early 18th-century women's clothing, and ‘L'Inconstance punie’ (‘Inconstancy Punished’, 1703), in which a sylphid punishes her unfaithful lover. D'Auneuil's final work, Les Chevaliers errans (The Errant Knights, 1709), features embedded narratives that borrow from medieval chivalric romance and orientalist writing. Several of these tales present a critical perspective on love by rejecting the conventional happy ending.

Lewis C. Seifert