Published by Random House Children's Books on August 2nd 2007
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fiction, Literary
Source: Bought for Myself
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Wolves and grandmothers, the seven dwarfs, a goose made of gold...the folk tales collected by the Grimm brothers created an astonishingly influential imaginative world. However, this is also a world where a woman cooks her stepson and an evil queen dances to death in a pair of burning shoes. Violent, funny, disturbing and wise, these stories have intrigued both children and adults for generations.
The only complete edition available, this collection features the 279 stories in an acclaimed, modern, unexpurgated translation.
I think most people are probably somewhat familiar with the Brothers Grimm. Jacob and Wilhem were German academics who are best known for the fairy tales they published in the early 1800’s. Their works which have base in myth, folklore, and legends and have been adapted by countless people for hundreds of years.
But I wonder how many people have read their versions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or Snow White? I’m someone who is better acquainted with the Disney versions of fairy tales than I am their Grimm counterparts. As a child my mother considered these classic stories to be a little too dark and grim (pun intended) for me and didn’t encourage me to read them.
Reading them now as an adult – I can understand her concerns. The tales are at times barbaric, often scandalous and bare little resemblance to the sunshine and rainbows versions I’ve grown up with. But I can understand how these legends evolved into the well known stories which still exist today.
One of the best things about this collection is how for many of the stories, multiple versions are included. They show how they brothers changed certain things in their tales to make them more palatable (did you know originally the villain in Snow White was her biological mother and NOT her wicked step sister?). I had a great time comparing the different versions and found some of the morals of the stories to be almost comical.
Reading this collection of traditional stories also gave me a greater appreciate for many of the twisted fairy tale adaptations I’ve been reading lately. There have been little hidden details which I now realise came from these two hundred year old fables.
Each tale in this collection is only a few pages long and it’s amazing how much story there is in each considering their length. The book is just over a thousand pages in total with 279 stories in all – along with an informative introduction from the translator also included. This book is well worth the money.
I highly recommend this edition of Grimm stories for anyone who loves fairy tales or is looking for something darker than Disney.