Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (26 April 1711 – 8 September 1780) was a French novelist who wrote the best-known version of Beauty and the Beast. She had a relationship with the spy for the British Thomas Pichon (1757–1760).
She was born in Rouen 1711 and died in 1780. She lost her mother when she was only eleven but wrote that she did not mourn her death. The family was very poor and several of her siblings had to be sent away for adoption. She wrote that her mother had suffered terribly at not being able to maintain contact with her children or to establish what had become of them. She therefore felt intuitively that her mother's death was a blessing.
From 1725 - 1735, she taught small children in Ernemont, about ten miles from Rouen. Subsequently, she obtained a prestigious position as a singing teacher to the children at the Court of the Duke of Lorraine, Stanisław Leszczyński, at Lunéville.
Her first marriage, in 1743, was disastrous and was annulled after two years. The Duke of Lorraine had personally paid her dowry, a huge sum, so that she could marry well, but her husband used the dowry to pay off his debts, then used the rest to buy a hotel. There, he held wild parties and entertained disreputable characters. After her husband contracted a communicable disease as a result of his lifestyle, she was able to obtain an annulment but she retained her husband's name.
In 1746, she left France to become a governess in London. She wrote Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales, and after a successful publishing career in England, remarried, bore many children, and left England to live the rest of her life in Savoy.
Her first work, the moralistic novel The Triumph of Truth (Le Triomphe de la vérité), was published in 1748. She continued her literary career by publishing many schoolbooks. She then began to publish collections she called magazines of educational and moral stories and poems for children. She was one of the first to write fairy tales for children. She also wrote other works, based on traditional fairy tale themes.
Another well-known storyteller of the era, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, wrote a story titled Beauty and the Beast. Leprince de Beaumont revised and abridged this story considerably, in the form in which it is most commonly known, and always included the revised version in the many magazines she published over the next 30 years. The success of this shorter revised version is the reason Leprince de Beaumont is commonly deemed the author of the classic story.