Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont (born Rouen, France in 1711; died Chavanod, Savoie, in 1780) was a French novelist. Her first work, a moralistic novel, The Triumph of Truth (le Triomphe de la Vérité) was published in 1748.

She was first married in 1743, but this marriage was annulled after two years and in 1746 she left France to become a governess in London. She continued her literary career by publishing many school books (Éducation complète, ou Abrégé de l'histoire universelle, 1762; le Mentor moderne, 1773). She then began to publish collections she called "magazines" of educational and moral stories and poems for children. She was among the first writers to specifically write fairy tales for children.

Over the next 30 years, dozens of versions of these "magazines" were printed, all containing the famous story Beauty and the Beast. Another famous storyteller of the era, Mme Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, was the original author of the story; Le Prince de Beaumont used her basic theme and considerably revised and abridged the lengthy story. The success of the shorter version is why today Le Prince de Beaumont is usually known as the author. She also wrote other tales based on traditional fairy tale themes, such as Aurore and Aimée.

After a successful publishing career in England, she remarried, bore many children, and left England to live the rest of her life in Savoy.


  • Contes et autres écrits. Ed. Barbara Kaltz. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2000.
  • Le magasin des enfants. Paris: Warée, 1843.
  • Nouveau cabinet des fées. Ed. Jacques Barchilon. Vol. 17. Geneva: Slatkine, 1978.

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