Anne E. Duggan


In many ways Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy’s “The Bee and the Orange Tree” can be read as a commentary on the relation between nature and culture, which has implications, as I will argue, regarding d’Aulnoy’s perspective on gender and society. In order to highlight the ideological underpinnings of d’Aulnoy’s tale with respect to nature and culture, this article examines the ways in which Charles Perrault defines “feminine nature” in his tale “Patient Griselda,” and then looks at how d’Aulnoy uses “nature” to legitimate the equality of the sexes in “The Bee and the Orange Tree.” Finally this paper explores how d’Aulnoy situates her ideal society within the nature-culture spectrum in ways that anticipate the theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.