Hawkins is in fine fettle, playing with verve on his three choruses where you can hear all his inventive qualities together with his punch and that wonderful sound.
Numéros en texte intégral
Despite the originality of his ideas, his technical limitations prevented him from establishing himself as a soloist; he was an excellent bebop accompanist, rather, whose personality, in passing, hardly seems in tune with the character of Hawkins. The flipside, Recollections, taken at a slow tempo, shows us this particular aspect of Hawkins' playing, where he alternates phrases on the beat with others where he rhapsodizes. The tenor solo has great melodic inspiration and is typical of the way Hawkins played a slow-tempo ….
On notera, dans le dernier chorus, une profonde ressemblance avec son disciple Byas. Here we can admire his famous 'breathless' vibrato, which gives his playing the warmth and emotion that made him a unique tenor. In the final chorus you can note his profound resemblance to his disciple Byas. Here Thelonious Monk takes a highly original 32 bar solo that I confess I like enormously, more, incidentally, for the harmonic ideas than for the beauty of his phrases.
The fourth side, Drifting on a Reed, over a slow tempo, is very close to the famous Body and Soul in the construction of his phrases, but it doesn't reach the same degree of emotion. Hawkins seems less comfortable here. He does play a very beautiful coda, however. To summarize: four very interesting sides that every Hawkins fan should possess. Also, in the short-lived magazine published by Eddie Barclay, Jazz News :. This is good Hawkins: A at a slow tempo, B mid-tempo, but all of it lacks muscle, to my taste.
The chances to hear Thelonious Monk are rare and, despite the fact he seems not to be on a great day, his playing will no doubt come as a revelation for many I prefer the second disc. On the Bean Whispering is very lively. Recollections is a beautiful tune by W. Thomas and Hawkins teems with languid ideas in this. Highly original soloist and accompanist. One of the bebop's precursors.
Thelonious Monk is generally considered an avant-garde pianist. He was even nicknamed the "High Priest of Bebop. His rather virile playing, despite nuances in his touch, seems centred on his constant research into both melody and harmony. A very personal style, with a sobriety close to that heard in solos by Count Basie. The inventiveness is at times disconcerting, especially in 'Round about Monk p , John Simmons b , et Shadow Wilson dm.
We don't understand very well why these four sides have been coupled like this, since Misterioso and Epistrophy could be sister-sides, both in the group's line-up and in the style of the music, and putting them together would seem appropriate. In these you hear a quartet made up of Milt Jackson vib. Monk p , John Simmons b , and Shadow Wilson dm.
I barely like Monk's piano solos: his sobriety could well be poverty, and those abrupt collisions aren't always signs of genius. But you have to agree that he has left a strong, personal imprint on these two works, one that the listener may find captivating. Misterioso is a blues in B flat. People have recorded many B flat blues pieces ever since jazz has existed, but there's little risk that this one might be confused with any another.
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The theme, based on a kind of ascending melodic sixths that are dotted over the chords and "passages" of this blues, is most unusual. Monk p , Eugene Ramey b et Art Blakey dm. Le meilleur est le jeu de la section rythmique. We already know the Epistrophy version by Kenny Clarke. This one is very different, with an introduction where Monk's piano and its "three for two" counteracts the general rhythm, which incidentally gives an overall impression of confusion.
On both sides, Monk is interesting above all for his highly original accompaniment, which is very welcome. As for Milt Jackson, he is a first-rate soloist, the only one to my knowledge on the same scale as Lionel Hampton. From that point of view, these two sides will come as a revelation to French jazzfans. As for the rhythm section, the tasks that Monk allots to them are carried out well. Monk p , Eugene Ramey b and Art Blakey dm. The tune is rather common, and a series of choruses without much relief do nothing to redeem it.
The best comes from the rhythm section. The hard sound of Monk is more in evidence in this title than on the other sides and, as in Humph and Epistrophy, here he goes too far in his use of the whole tone scale. Milt Jackson masterfully plays the first chorus on Evidence; in all likelihood he is one of the greatest bop musicians and, with Hampton, the best among the vibraphone players.
Then Monk begins a chorus, I won't say with one of those favourite phrases, but rather "his" favourite phrase, given that it comes back again on all his records! He likes it so much in fact, that he repeats it all the way through this side. I know many will say that his sobriety here is the work of a genius, but I'm afraid that this only shows poor inspiration in my opinion. It is, in any case, what it would be called in a Hawkins or a Lester Young if it took their fancy to play this way.
Here, in any case, Monk asserts himself as an original accompanist. Ruby My Dear is a Monk solo where I see no evidence of genius despite my efforts. He shows himself a rather mediocre pianist here, instrumentally speaking. Plus, his manner of playing whole tone scales is overdone, and I find his inspiration rather weak here. His two great qualities are his unquestionable personality and a definite swing. To my mind, his renown in America, in musicians' circles, stems more from his gifts as an accompanist rather than from his qualities as a soloist.
On peut encore attendre beaucoup de Thelonious Monk. Puissances du jazz. Paris: Arcanes, , pp. You rarely hear him even though he has rather often accompanied small groups centred around Hawkins or Gillespie. But in Paris, at least, record-shops are unanimous in declaring that his first records were hit by poor sales, and his name is certainly one of those least known to the public, even thosewho are "well-informed" or believe themselves to be so.
In , on his return from America, Robert Goffin spoke of him only as a mysterious character, albeit one whose influence over the 'new sound' everybody recognized as decisive. His originality is extreme. His lucidity doesn't imply coldness; rather a sort of perfection that goes against the grain, exasperating, with not even the excuse of being lyrical or mechanical. It allows me, at the risk of interpreting this deliriously, to situate Thelonious Monk—no doubt he's alone among the great jazz musicians I love—on an ethical plane "over and above good and evil", obviously.
I mean that with Thelonious Monk, the aesthetic value of the elements constituting jazz piano is immediately established as an autonomous value, having something of the nature of that unique category of universal relationships where dialectics oblige us to situate the Absolute. This perfection, which can be sensed in the "old" arrangements of Thelonious Monk, like Ruby My Dear and Evidence with Milt Jackson, John Simmons on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums is by turns adorned, in all the most recent sides early like Criss Cross and Eronel, with its ironic prologue, Four in One, Straight No Chaser, by a brilliant cruelty and a dawn-like freshness.
Thelonious Monk, as well as Milt Jackson, becoming more assertive as the best of the young vibraphone players, is here in the company of Al McKibbon b , Art Blakey dms and Sahib Shihab it must be a pseudonym on alto sax, whose choruses are weak, but whose unison playing with Milt Jackson is a revelation.
We can still expect a lot more from Thelonious Monk. The provocative dryness of the Sphinx's smile transpires in this music, whilst the slivers of wood and steel in its environment have the thrust of serpents, and its harmonies the tonic acidity of lightning. The support of the latter shows remarkable precision throughout.
The first of the four sides is typically humorous: for around a quarter of the recording,Thelonious plays with a deliberate, extremely insistent retard in the tempo, and then he lands on his feet like some tiger-cat thrown up in the air. The arrangements are not as clean as in the series with Milton Jackson, but I wanted to draw these discs to the attention of fans of this most "secret" of modern pianists. He plays terribly well, this high priest Monk: you must have these records just for him and for Art Blakey on drums, too.
When will the great Monk be really appreciated? Excellent records: among other things, "Skippy" includes an excellent solo from Monk. It's not possible to speak of a "Monk school. In parallel with the fall, at least in appearance, of its glories, the consolidation of more modest talents can't be denied. We have never known so many musicians who are very good. Without going back on the hatching of personalities like Getz, Cohn, Sims, Eager, Stewart and Moore, all of them Lester's grandchildren, you have to consider for example the increased mastery of a pianist like Monk.
Monk, of around twenty other artists, has bettered his technique constantly, and perfected his language at the same time. They are delicate works, pieces with an extreme melodic freshness, bop that has become subdued. But that last word brings us back to the heart of the crisis. Since we only have sectors of calm to indicate, it's because creation is now no more than transformation. The drama in this is the absence of all emergence…. Two months later the original article appeared in The Record Changer, November :.
It has become fashionable to think him a greatly overrated musician, something of a charlatan, a mystic whose very mysticism is calculated to conceal a rather prosaic flaw: poor musicianship. That is utter nonsense. There is no doubt that Monk is a man without conventional scope, without the sense of the opportune, devoid entirely of the deft imagination which Dizzy Gillespie turned into an even more valuable property than his talent, by capitalizing on the physical oddities of the bop school, with great good will and ingratiating theatrics.
I have a choice here between writing about Monk as he is, or as he seems to be, and is generally thought to be. He is undoubtedly a very selfish man this quality, too, is not at all unique among artists , and the business of having the world revolve around him has caused him to see things in a remarkably direct fashion—very much in the manner of a child. In this way, the formality of wearing clothes is inexplicable to a child, just as the formality of musical structure is inexplicable to Monk.
I think that some subtle facet of his mind realizes that he has this quality, and that he cherishes it. There are a couple of remarkable Calypso bands in New York, playing a real powerhouse music which is closer to Harlem in than Trinidad in any year. Monk fussed with the piano, discovering that it was a pretty venerable instrument when he sits at a piano there is a dead key on it—no matter how recently the thing was in perfect condition. A little later, I became aware that Thelonious was doing something extraordinary—tying his shoe or waving to somebody under the piano; as I watched, mesmerized, I saw that he was yanking at the pedal post with all his might first he kept up with the band by reaching up with his right hand to strike an occasional chord, but he had to apply himself to the attack on the post with both hands, and get his back into it, too.
There was a slight crack, a ripping sound, and off came the whole works, to be flung aside as Monk calmly resumed playing. It was obvious that here was a new experience, something outside the ken of a rational man; for the rest of the evening he looked upon Thelonious with a new respect. A necessarily iron constitution is supported by a six-foot, pound frame, which he drapes in double-breasted suits exclusively, most of the time with the coat unbuttoned.
Before he had completed the necessary ceremony of bench-adjusting, pedal-testing, and coattail-draping, the audience was in a state of prostration. This was not a matter of stage presence, or lack of it; only a perfect sample of the deportment of Thelonious Monk. At any rate, this man, unmalleable, exasperating, sometimes perverse to the point of justifiable homicide, is the man who casually formed the nucleus of the group which surprised itself by changing, at least temporarily, the direction of jazz. That was ten years ago. Inside, though, there is an atmosphere hard to find anyplace else in New York; an ease, a lack of the professional gimlet-eyes nightclub bandits, whose only salable commodity is an obsequiousness available to one and all, for a small consideration.
There have also been, at various times, a dapper waiter named Romeo, who was as likely to dance for the customers as bring them drinks, and many young musicians working for a living; in they include Kenny Clarke and Thelonious Monk. In fact, as he tells it, he was playing essentially the same way he does now in , when he was fifteen years old.
His conception is not something that grew out of what he felt was a need for something new in music—he just played that way. His ear was hearing between the lines of its own accord, and that nonconformist ago told him that what he heard was perfectly valid.
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Time seems to have borne him out. I doubt that either of them, or anyone else, knew what they were doing, saw anything momentous on the horizon, or even cared particularly. The complex personality which makes his behavior unpredictable has made his music stimulating to gifted and receptive men like Parker and Gillespie; that personality is unchangeable, the stimulus is unfading. Any new enterprise requires a certain personnel to be vital: several people who grasp because their sophistication tells them that here is a direction their machinery is admirably suited to travel in, and at least one who is here because he is unable to do anything else, the man with an honest germ of an idea.
Monk fits neatly into the latter category; not a virtuoso, but a creator. Well, what is his product? It is something quite fragile and intangible, like the quality in the stories of Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein. In fact, there have been many times when Monk has offended delicate ears with his pianistic assertion that a theme is a theme. The identity of a tune is like the identity of a word—it remains itself only as long as it is scrupulously kept in its proper place, with its proper emphasis; a great many ingredients go into recognition of either one.
Because of it, he is a provocative musician, one with whom other musicians play well—sometimes better than they ever have. Recognizing that he had something beyond a reputation to offer, Blue Note Records, a firm of almost suicidal integrity, decided to take the plunged and make some records with him. The idea bore fruit in more ways than one, because they immediately discovered a whole uneaten side of the evil apple which is bebop—young musicians, without reputation, who were following the avant-garde Gillespie and Parker circles, and bringing with them something of their own.
Alfred and Lorraine Lion and Frank Wolff were, for a time, father, brother, moral support and employment agency for Thelonious and his crew, and there were some fantastically messed-up moments for all parties during the time the records were being cut. That was a perfect unit, unlike any other, before or since; they played no tunes but their own, in no way but their own; they did more rhythmically, than any musical group I ever heard anywhere; and they kept improving until the inevitable break-up came, after too short a time.
Monk is likely to be as jarring a departure from Dizzy Gillespie as Dizzy is from Louis, and yet he may hit you right away. An open ear is a wonderful thing. Reproduced in The Thelonious Monk Reader. Edited by Rob van der Bliek. New York: Oxford University Press, , pp. This feature article in form of a promotional article will not be enough to convince potential buyers, and at the end of the year, after a final release of which we were not able to find a review :.
La formation comprend Sahib Sahib [sic] as , Milt Jackson vib. The group included Sahib Sahib [sic] as , Milt Jackson vib. Is it better to play cool, or bar blues tunes? Both, apart from specific local content, had news and reviews of records imported from the USA:. It is even said that his influence has been dominant, and that his contributions largely determine the leanings of this "New Sound.
Thelonious Sphere Monk was born in in New York [sic] into a family where no other members are musicians. Monk began experimenting with harmony and rhythm in a quartet that would have Keg Purnell for its drummer; this was in Despite the importance Monk has been given by the New School of Jazz and its musicians in particular , he has not the fame of a Parker or a Gillespie. This is probably because his qualities as a performer are not on the same scale as his boundless imagination. There are reports, also, of his proverbial modesty, and a way of life that is incompatible with the exigencies to which a star is submitted: it is said that he can do without sleep for a week, even if it means sleeping three days and three nights when he succeeds in tearing himself away from the keyboard.
The piano solos are rare and you will find the review of these titles in the French part of this issue. So now I come to the series of recordings that Blue Note has released under Thelonious Monk's own name, and which finally allow us to hear him under good conditions. These records show us a musician who is original to the extreme, firstly by his arrhythmia, more marked than with any other pianist, and then by his seemingly constant concern to astonish the listener; this search for the unexpected that is dear to the Be Bop style is pushed to the extreme in his playing.
Monk seems to take an elegant pleasure in hesitating, both in the rhythm and in the harmony; his solos exude an unhealthy impression.
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The systematic use of harmonics far from the fundamental results in agreeable, often inspired findings, but this sometimes takes him into a melodic deadlock. Thanks to his rhythmical variations he manages to keep his footing while waiting for a way out that is often no more than a timely return to a more traditional piano style, as is the case on "Thelonious. Instead of a single note, he sometimes chooses little motifs that he repeats to varying degrees "In Walked Bud".
His playing is simple, his style sober and sparing; he makes very little use of chords and concentrates his full attention on a right-hand style that is a single melodic line. Despite his audacity in this, Monk uses harmonic structures that are absolutely logical, relatively simple hypotheses, and the whole tone system dear to Debussy, which he applies with pertinence.
Most of these pieces are Monk compositions while the label attributes the paternity of "In Walked Bud" to him, one easily recognizes "Blue Skies".
He is the author [sic] of several well-known pieces—namely "Emanon" an anagram of No Name , "52nd Street Theme" another of Dizzy's recordings — and he wrote the harmonies of "Dynamo A. It is difficult to measure the contribution that Thelonious Monk has made to the New School of Jazz; he obviously relates to it by favouring the new, but his imagination seems to have taken him further than other adepts of the "new sound. The years to come will allow us to judge whether these records will have influence, as Monk says he hopes; he and the young American musicians will attract new disciples.
It's been said that in recording Monk, Alfred Lion was committing financial suicide. I really hope there's no truth in that, and I salute the valorous and enterprising Alfred, who has shown no hesitation in playing a card that is certainly not very commercial, but oh, how thrilling for jazz fans. In a previous "Jazz-Hot" we were told many things about the weird and fantastic Thelonious and his music; these records constitute an excellent illustration of the article in question.
The different soloists around him are not great stars but we'd be wrong to underestimate the work of Idrees Sulieman on trumpet and Danny Quebec on alto.
Numéros en texte intégral
On all these sides, Blakey and Gene Ramey, the bassist, provide very meaty support, although it is sometimes a little noisy. I like the theme and the Surrealist title of "Suburban Eyes", and the solo by Monk, who moves away from it in a manner that is really stupefying, and also his solo on the other side, where Monk constructs his whole solo around one note that he reaches in a hundred different ways, and then moves away from it before coming back to it, leaving his left hand to take care of supplying its colour.
Pleasant ballads, given a lift by the intriguing accompaniment of Monk's quartet, into which Milt Jackson throws a clear note. Monk's solo on "Should" has an amiable ingenuity. Allen Eager, sans doute. The trumpeter indeed seems to be Navarro, but the second tenor is more difficult to identify.
Probably Allen Eager. No matter, as the solos are good and the accompaniment of Kenny Clarke particularly brilliant. Monk's playing, swaying along with bizarrely struck chords here and there, with harmonies that are prodigiously disconcerting, is interesting enough, but rather hard to swallow. The visual representation of Monk's music gives you the impression of walking into a painting by de Chirico. This is one anthology that would do well to be in every modern jazz fan's record library.
We've already talked about these recordings in this same column, issued as 78rpm records. Let's take advantage of their reissue on LP to emphasize the considerable interest that they represent. Monk, whose technical possibilities are strongly limited, has created a style for himself whose attraction lies entirely in the intriguing harmonic modifications, the tonal subtleties, the unexpected articulation of his phrasing, and the general line of his improvising.
His playing, at first sight disconcerting, turns out to be very endearing.
Jazz in France - Thelonious Monk
The ensembles surrounding him here have merit, particularly in the impeccable manner the rhythms are kept: present here are characters like Art Blakey, Gene Ramey etc. On some pieces Milt Jackson gets along splendidly with Monk: the "common spirit" is in action. The themes, most of them excellent, are all by Monk. We are happy to announce that the 3rd Salon du Jazz will take place in Paris in May with an entirely new format. Here you will be able to find all the information you want in due course…. While the season proper is perhaps not on the same scale as its predecessors, on the other hand the shows planned over these eight days, with several American groups participating, will be worthy of previous Jazz Festivals….
Peytavin for his letter. Manifestations artistiques. The 3rd Jazz Fair will stand out from previous editions, as does every industrial and commercial exhibition by the way, due to its exceptional appearance. All the stands will be decorated based on a single theme: the decor is inspired by New Orleans' French Quarter. The two previous Fairs had proved not only the interest but also the necessity that lies in such an event, both artistically and from an industrial and commercial standpoint.
Indeed, it gives an opportunity to musicians, and music professionals whether manufacturers or distributors, to get together to appreciate the latest technical perfections, as well as the most recent new developments in their field. This exhibition of the greatest interest to the amateur or professional musician allows the latter to make his own choice in full knowledge of the facts, since here the entire production is submitted to his judgment.
We all know the prestige that is enjoyed worldwide by instruments made in France.
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And so all the great brands are present in this Fair. As for records, which play such an important role in the illustration of jazz music, they are represented brilliantly. All the record companies, whose interest in this music is on the increase, will be there. And some of these labels will even be making a particular effort because fans at the Fair will be able to obtain recordings that have not been released until now. Thanks to its size and spectacular presentation, this exhibition will also attract the public and so contribute to make jazz music better known and, consequently, develop the industries and commerce with which it has ties.
Artistic events. All the events at the 3rd Jazz Fair will take place inside the Salle Pleyel setting. Several French ensembles are also planned. The semi-finals of the Amateur Orchestras Tournament will take place on the mornings of June 5 and 6. On weekdays, films will be screened in the morning.
After the concerts have finished a large club will allow fans to hear the musicians in a different atmosphere. This means they will not have to run all over Paris in search of problematic jam sessions. Numerous group-visits, made easier by the Whitsun holidays, have been organized, with visitors coming from abroad as well as the provinces. Details of the definitive list of the American, European and French artists called on to take part in the different manifestations planned, as well as the days and times of their appearances, will be given later in the press, particularly in: Le Figaro and in Jazz-Hot in May In this context a special issue of J.
The Organising Committee reserves the right to modify the order of the various manifestations all changes will appear in the press in due course. Johnson, C. Tous vous diront quelle admiration enthousiaste ils ont pour lui. Ne prenons pour exemple que le cas de Clifford Brown. Le style de Monk est anti-commercial, disions-nous. Mais, sous les doigts de Monk, elles restent neuves. Prisonniers de quelques formules, ils deviennent rapidement lassants.
Jerry Newman, the man known for the "Charlie Christian Memorial Albums", has this document in his possession, a recording that would be worth publishing given how astounding it is to hear everything that hundreds of musicians would put to use a few years later: the way the left hand played, the sequences, melodic variations, rhythmic findings That night, Thelonious Monk was no doubt visited by the creative spirit, as he liked his chorus so much that he would always ask Jerry Newman if he could listen to it again, having never yet, he said, "heard anyone play piano like that.
Did Monk suspect at the time how important his finds were? Probably not, no more than drummer Kenny Clarke, who was assisting him every night in Joe Guy's group. Both of them, however, launched the revival in rhythm and harmony that jazz music experienced in On that subject, it's hair-raising to hear the contributions of Kenny and Thelonious in the midst of those jam sessions where they found themselves in the company of people like Joe Guy or Al Sears Monk began playing the piano at the age of 11, learning alone without the help of a teacher.
A little while later he became the organist in a church for two years. Thelonious points out that he doesn't know if that helped him with the piano or the contrary And, he says, "I was so tired of the whole chords in church music that I needed to hear something else. That's why I invented new melodies with chords nobody had heard before, with rhythms that just came freely without me thinking about it We know what the result of that was.
And, in around , Monk taught a lot of things to Dizzy Gillespie, who transmitted them later to his first young partners such as George Wallington, Milt Jackson, etc. Mettez le doigt sur la plaie, et appuyer bien fort. Creusez les sujets dont personne ne veut entendre parler. Soyez abjects, vous serez vrais. Connaissez ces deux formes. Demeurer dans cette voie noble, excellente. Je ne savais que penser.
Michel Houellebecq: Oui, oui, on peut parler de haine […]. Houellebecq: Oui, oui, on peut parler de haine. Treeck, , note Les personnages de Houellebecq sont nihilistes par choix et par philosophie. Ils sont misanthropes et donc aussi racistes.
Meizoz, Par exemple [ Qu'on se le dise une fois pour toute! Patricola, Qu'est-ce qui est vrai et qui ne l'est pas? Qui parle? Berlioz , written in by Egbert, the schoolmaster at the cathedral school of Liege, suggests that in the early eleventh century a story about a girl in red who meets a wolf was known to clerics and peasants alike. Admittedly, Egbert's story is about a 5-year-old girl who is pro- tected from wolf pups by the power of her red baptism tunic and who is thus saved by the grace of God. This pious story is a far cry from the modern tale about a pubertal girl who joins a wolf in bed.
But, as Jan Ziolkowski notes, Egbert could have deliberately "expurgated" for children a story rife with sexual implications It is true that such processes are well attested in our own time. Perrault himself made the tale's protagonist look childishly innocent Simonsen And, reportedly, a twentieth-century cohort of Canadian undergraduates acquainted with the story in children's books have presumed that the girl is about 8 years old Nodelman, "Canadian Fairy Tale," 23 —a decent match for Egbert's 5-year-old puella.
Clearly, the meeting of girls in red with wolves accommodates various degrees of sexual explicitness. Bearing this point in mind, I turn to Ziolkowski's remark that "the redness emerges as the central mystery of the story" in the Latin hexameters and in the modern tale. Intriguingly, Ziolkowski speculates that the motif of the red hood constitutes an unbroken "red thread" in the story across time , Ziolkowski is quite clear that Egbert's poem is not "the ancestor of Perrault"; still, he suggests that Egbert's tale—the unknown oral tradition it refers to— could well have its place "somewhere on the family tree" of "Little Red Riding Hood" , cf.
This is an interesting thought. These two literary texts have shaped the modern story as we know it. But again, as Delarue showed, a richer story used to be told in the oral traditions of France, Italy, and the Tyrol region. Delarue is adamant that the red headdress is "peculiar to the Perrault version, not a general trait" of the oral tradition Borzoi Book, Does this mean that the redness in the modern story is Perrault's own invention after all?
Or, alter- natively, as Jacques Berlioz asks, could Perrault have resuscitated the old theme "unwittingly, by intuition, or else by means of an oral tradition that still eludes us? Berlioz could be right. Indeed, the old theme may have surfaced in the collective consciousness even after Perrault's lifetime. At the time, printings of an elegy for a pubertal girl supposedly killed while wearing the red costume of her first communion, along with drawings of a pubescent naked girl mangled by the male beast, made the rounds Velay-Vallantin, "Conte mystique," Thus, less than one century after Perrault depicted the wolf devouring a red-capped girl in bed, a spate of wolf attacks again conjured the specter of an act of lupine rape regarding a girl in red.
What is more, the girl who was supposedly attacked while wearing the red dress of her first communion looks like the grown-up version of Egbert's puella. Therefore, Catherine Velay-Vallantin thinks that the author of the elegy for the girl in red may have been privy to Egbert's story That is possible, of course. But, to my mind, the fact that the core leitmo- tif of a girl in red who meets the wolf variously surfaced in otherwise unre- lated eleventh-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century writings also suggests that a folk theme of ruddy encounters with wolves including wolves, were- wolves, and lupine sexual predators persisted across centuries.
The following discussion lends support to this possibility. Perrault and the Oral Tradition To get started, consider the available options in assessing the position of Perrault's text in relation to the oral tradition. First, there is the notional pos- sibility that Perrault's text might have started the oral tradition of "Little Red Riding Hood. Barely one century elapsed between Perrault's early manuscript and the days when the instructors of the oldest known tale-tellers walked the earth.
Therefore she must have learned her traditional lore from people who were active by the end of the eighteenth century. If we wished to hypothesize that the French oral tradition stems from Perrault's text, then we would have to admit that within one century, in the illiterate backwaters of France, a literary text estab- lished a tradition that as Delarue showed lacked Perrault's imagery while hinging on a stable set of motifs not seen in Perrault's text—a mind-boggling scenario.
Alternatively, if Perrault's text is not the source of the tradition of "Little Red Riding Hood," then it has a place within that tradition. But keep in mind that the folk motifs missing in Perrault's text prove remarkably stable in the oral tradition; they are featured in the earliest recorded independent vari- ants, such as Levesque's text, and in a late batch of texts collected in the s, which are otherwise under the influence of Perrault Teneze Such dogged persistence is surely not the product of happenstance; rather, it must have deep roots in the oral tradition.
So it may be fruitful to suppose, for the sake of argument, that those per- sistent folk motifs were already a feature of the oral variants in the late seven- teenth century In the following discussion I probe this possibility as I discuss the symbolic equivalences between Perrault's text and the modern oral vari- ants. I hope to show that Perrault's distinctive images are creative adaptations of the folk motifs still displayed in the modern variants and that those folk motifs do not have a likely source in Perrault's imagery.
Then, once that issue is settled, I take a panoramic view of the "Little Red Riding Hood" tradition and try to assess the role that Perrault's variant played in the evolution of this tale up to the present day Here I advisedly use the word evolution. Evolution by cultural selection, as we might call it, is bound to happen whenever lore is transmitted with variations, and some variants fare better than others. This is usually the case with traditional lore.
Arguably, each theme evolves in the interplay between its recreations by tale-tellers and the selective receptions by historically changing audiences Vaz da Silva, "Tradition". I suggest that 1 Perrault used the tale-teller's prerogative of appropriating folktales accord- ing to his own agenda and his target audience and that 2 the imagery he used in "Le Petit Chaperon rouge" was instrumental in transposing the old oral theme into its modern multimedia avatars.
Perrault's Craft: Euphemism and Wordplay Let us turn to the allomotifs in Perrault's text and the modern oral variants. The story told by Nanette Levesque in provides a good introduction to the independent oral tradition. Consider the beginning of Levesque's "The Girl and the Wolf': A little girl was hired out to a household to watch two cows. When her time was up, she left. Her master gave her a small cheese and a piece of bread: "Here you go, little girl, take this to your mother, this cheese and this piece of bread, it'll be your supper when you meet your mother.
She went into the woods and met the wolf, who asked her: "Where are you going, little girl? And they gave me a small bread and also a cheese. What about you? Then he lighted a good fire and cooked the other half and shut the door. Finally he took to the mother's bed. Teneze and Delarue 99 The details in this variant are as distant from the familiar images in Perrault's story as you might dare imagine. Yet, despite the differences between the two texts, Levesque's variant helpfully turns Perrault's rather vague "little village girl" into a more tangible character.
The end of a time when a "little girl" must watch cows matches the fact that, in rural France, children from ages 7 to 14 used to work as animal keepers Verdier, "Little Red," —a time appro- priately dubbed au champ les vaches "at the fields [with] the cows," Zonabend As anthropologist Mary Douglas sums it up, an "informal system of age-classes" was in place; and, at the transi- tion between two age classes, "staying in the dressmaker's house was like a period of ritual seclusion, a light-hearted time of initiation" into "the frivolous period of courtship, the time of pins and temporary attachments" Just so, in the story the girl who did her cattle-herding time then goes into the woods, there to find pins and needles and to meet the wolf.
So this folktale variant speaks about coming of age by means of imagery that would be mean- ingful to its contemporary rural audience. The two variants are close to one another in that they follow the same plot line—the girl meets the wolf, they take different paths to the old woman's house, the girl slips into bed with the wolf, and she gets eaten. But this com- mon framework actually emphasizes the differences between the two texts. According to my hypothesis, the distinct motifs featured in Perrault's text are semantic transformations of those featured in the oral variants.
Recall Delarue's argument to the effect that the ubiquitous oral motifs not featured in "Le Petit Chaperon rouge" have something in common: they are rough images that would have proved embarrassing in Perrault's courtly milieu. Therefore, Delarue proposes, Perrault got rid of them as he adapted the folktale for a refined readership.
Delarue, "Contes merveilleux: Petit Chaperon," , As Cristina Bacchilega notes, all the omitted elements are ultimately "related to flesh and sexuality" Postmodern Fairy Tales, All in all, Delarue's proposition that Perrault got rid of these motifs as he adapted the folktale for a courtly social milieu is most plausible. But Delarue misses one important point. The likelihood that Perrault got rid of those awkward images does not mean that he dropped the underlying ideas. Arguably, the opposite is true: Perrault used alternative images to convey his own take on the underlying ideas.
Let us start with the motif of the wolf's hairiness. In the context of a meet- ing of the sexes in bed, the discovery of the presumed grandma's hairiness is a broad hint for among other things the sighting of the wolf's maleness. Pointedly, a French variant named "Lhabit de fer" "The Iron Dress" specifies that the girl spots the beast's "great tail" in bed Delarue, Conte populaire, ; and "El cappelin rosso," a Tyrolese variant, informs us that "Little Red Cap got into bed and noticed something hairy [etwas Haariges]" Schneller Clearly, Delarue has a point when he proposes that Perrault omitted this motif for the sake of "decency" "Contes merveilleux: Petit Chaperon," Perrault's expression is enticingly suggestive in French, which is why Marc Soriano notes that it is borderline saucy and Jacques Barchilon likewise flags it as an "ambiguity of expression" 91; cf.
Hennard And although deshabille is plainly an ironic reference to the semitransparent gowns in use by coquette ladies in Perrault's courtly milieu, Jennifer Schacker and Christine Jones rightly note that the word deshabille in this context can be taken as "meaning 'completely undressed' or 'naked- 7. So, by dint of clever wordplay, Perrault insinuates that when the naked girl gets into bed, she meets the wolf's male nakedness—which is precisely what the illustration of the bed scene in the original edition of "Le Petit Chaperon rouge" suggests.
This image, Catherine Orenstein notes, is "far more sexually suggestive" than Gustave Dore's latter-day illustration, for it "shows the wolf, without disguise, under the sheets with the girl" Incidentally, note how the image—in line with the textual play between deshabille and nakedness—displays the undressed girl in a deshabille fig.
So it is true, as Delarue implies, that Perrault obfuscates the wolf's sexual body for the sake of propriety But it is also true, as Delarue failed to acknowl- edge, that Perrault offers broad hints for anyone conversant in the art of dou- ble entendre. Actually, Perrault appears intent on making sure that no intelligent grown-up can possibly miss his point. The morality he appends to the story— Fig. This exegetic key invites seasoned listeners and readers to realize that the scene of a wolf eating a young woman— in a bed!
And, one step ahead, Perrault's wolf-man arguably carries an extra layer of meaning that refers to popular traditions. Remarkably, the twofold dimension of the wolf-man's transgression—alimentary and sexual—meets the reputation of werewolves. For example, a high-profile judicial case in sixteenth-century Germany concerns Peter Stump, a supposed werewolf, whom a contemporary pamphlet accuses of among other atrocious acts both raping a woman and "most ravenously" devouring her flesh, which he "esteemed both sweet and dainty in taste" Summers Or take the fact that in the folklore of the Isle of Guernsey, where a great eater was proverbially said to eat like a varou, the expression "aller en varouverie" also entails "debauchery" The point is that werewolves are supposedly ravenous creatures in both the alimentary and the sexual senses—in both the literal and the figurative senses of the verb man- ger, "to eat"—and Perrault plays on precisely this duality to depict an anthro- pomorphic wolf that eats a young woman in bed.
Therefore it is hard not to agree with Orenstein when she states that Perrault's text "resonated with the meaning of the werewolf' Orenstein 99; and see Zipes, "Trials," This is not really surprising because, in fact, the very text chosen by Delarue to represent the independent oral tradition portrays the wolf as a werewolf.
She said to her daughter: "Go carry this hot loaf and a bottle of milk to your grandma. At a crossroads she met the bzou, who said to her: "Where are you going? Meanwhile the bzou arrived at her grandmother's, killed her, put some of her flesh in the crate and a bottle of her blood on the sink. It hardly needs saying that whereas Perrault's wolfish man is readily explainable as a clever euphemism for the werewolf, it would be absurd to suggest that the ancient werewolf belief derives from Perrault's wolf-man.
So the imagery used by Perrault derives from the independent folk motifs rather than vice-versa. In "Le Petit Chaperon rouge" the werewolf of the popular imagination, reputedly cannibal and sexu- ally deviant Orenstein , becomes the "charming, handsome frequenter of the bluestocking salons who seduced and deflowered young girls of the upper crust" Perrault, by means of wordplay and euphemism, repackages a folk character reeking of gore to suit a delicate readership.
Bearing this lesson in mind, let us consider whether Perrault might have also transformed the pins-and-needles and cannibal-meal motifs into elegant mots d'esprit. Bristling Paths and Flowers Let us start with the flower-collecting episode. Although Perrault does not use the traditional motif of the girl taking a path of pins or needles to granny's house, he does depict the young woman gathering hazelnuts, running after butterflies, and picking flowers along the path.
The hazelnuts and the butter- flies are meaningful, of course,10 but the oral variants influenced by Perrault along with the artistic tradition of depicting the girl in a flowery setting, even in American cartoons; see Zipes, Enchanted Screen, , , have focused on the flowers. For instance, two variants named "Le Petit Chaperon rouge," collected in the Alps in the s, boil the path-walking scene down to this: "along the way, Little Red Riding Hood amused herself collecting flowers" Joisten In other variants from the same batch, the girl eats strawber- ries along the way The gender-specific significance of these images is highlighted in a rare variant that presents Red Riding Hood as a male.
In this variant the boy collects only hazelnuts—no flowers, no red fruits—and then stays out of the wolf's bed The gender implication here is that picking flowers, eating red fruits, and slipping into the wolf's bed are feminine actions. Therefore, walking among pins or needles, picking flowers, and eating red fruits are equivalent statements about a young woman in transit.
What do these images mean precisely? Yvonne Verdier points out that the paths of pins and needles coexist in oral variants with paths of stones, thorns, and brambles, all of which share a crucial feature: they "scratch, prick, cut, and conform with the bloody symbol- ism of the pins" "Little Red," Verdier mentions the bloody symbol- ism of the pins because she happened to study the French rural custom of sending girls who have completed their au-champ-les-vaches time to spend the winter of their fifteenth birthday with a seamstress.
Moreover, Verdier notes that pins and needles convey different aspects of the feminine blood. Whereas pubescent girls could be defined as carriers of pins and the pin would have been perceived as a symbol of maidenhood , needles—threaded through the eye—refer to "an emphatically sexual symbolism" Verdier, "Little Red," ; cf. Overall, Verdier proposes, the paths of pins and needles convey a sartorial language that would be readily understandable in a traditional milieu. The other scratching items confirm the meaning of this sartorial code.
It bears noting that in the oral corpus the girl chooses pins as well as needles, with no marked preference for either, as though both paths were relevant to her fate in the woods. Indeed, a girl walking along a spiny path will bleed according to the symbolism of pins. As she slips into bed with the wolf at the forest cabin, the girl faces further bleeding according to the symbolism of needles.
I suggest that Perrault also conveys this double message—but he says it with flowers. Indeed, Perrault translates the traditional path of the girl's fresh bleeding— her metaphorical transition to puberty—as a flowers-collecting path. This image literalizes the metaphoric expression jeune fille en fleurs maiden in flower , which designates a menarcheal girl as someone who carries flowers and, indeed, is in bloom. The proximate rationale for this metaphor is that the menarcheal blood foreshadows procreation, just as in plants the flower pre- cedes the fruit.
First, the girl taking the forest path is nubile. Second, she who goes down the path decked with flowers heads to her defloration. Hence Perrault's use of flowers precisely matches the sartorial code—the pins as well as the needles—found in the oral variants. Again, Perrault resorts to euphemism to adapt the tale to an elegant standard. His insouciant image of a girl "making nosegays of the little flowers she found" softens the bloody rawness of the young woman's spiny walk in the woods while nonetheless preserving the core meanings of the tale.
Does this mean that Perrault invented the flowers motif? Certainly, he did not invent the metaphor itself, which was widely used before his own day. Laurent Joubert, a sixteenth-century French medical doctor, states that the "menstrual purgations" of women are commonly called —flowers' because they ordinarily precede and prepare for the fruit, which is the child" 99 ; and he routinely uses the flowers metaphor in his discussions of feminine physiology. When Perrault used the meta- phor of flowers as an euphemism for the bristling paths of the oral tradition, he was acting like a tale-teller.
He gave a traditional yarn a graceful spin, which was preserved in writing for the delight of future generations. Sans le rouge. Much of the same reasoning goes for the chaperon rouge. Delarue allows that Perrault might have drawn on a local seventeenth-century tradition displaying this motif, yet he is adamant that the red cap is "an accessory trait, not connected with the theme" Delarue, "Contes merveilleux: Petit Chaperon," But why would a motif not connected with the theme actually come to represent it?
The hold of the red hood on the popular imagination is astounding. It has yielded a stream of literary retellings see Beckett, Red Riding Hood; Beckett, Revisioning; Mieder; and Zipes, "Trials" , and a cursory glance at a plethora of contemporary filmic transpositions suggests that the mass appeal of the theme hinges on the red gaiment.
The red headgear has found its way into the title of tale type which used to be "The Glutton" and is now "Little Red Riding Hood"; see Uther In short, more than years after Perrault, the red cap is pace Delarue very much alive in the contemporary imagination. In Jack Zipes shared the following thought: "What attracted me to Little Red Riding Hood in the first place was 'her' commodified appearance as sex object, and how I was socialized to gaze at her gazing at me" "Prologue," 8.