The Electronic British Library Journal (2006)
The history of the tale of Little Red Riding-Hood from Charles Perrault’s manuscript of 1695, via illustrated editions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to the present day.
Charles Perrault’s tale of Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding-Hood) first appears with four other stories in a manuscript Contes de ma Mère l’Oye, which was offered to Élisabeth Charlotte d’Orléans, the niece of King Louis XIV, in 1695. According to Marie- Françoise Quignard, Charles Perrault rewrote tales which had been transcribed from the stories of nurses and old women by his son Pierre Perrault d’Armancour. Charles had the tales beautifully written out, and illustrated them himself with little gouache paintings at the head of each story, but signed the dedicatory letter with his son’s name in order to obtain him a post as secretary to Elisabeth Charlotte. The manuscript is now in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. The tales were intended to be read aloud, as the introduction refers to ‘those who listen’ to the tales. There are corrections to the manuscript, possibly by Perrault, and, in the story of Red Riding-Hood, beside the last reply of the wolf that his big teeth are ‘to eat you with’, a note says that these words should be spoken in a loud voice in order to frighten the listening child.