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The annotated Brothers Grimm by Jacob Grimm

The annotated Brothers Grimm (edition 2004)

by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm (Author), Maria Tatar (Translator), A.S. Byatt (Introduction)

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Title:The annotated Brothers Grimm
Authors:Jacob Grimm
Other authors:Wilhelm Grimm (Author), Maria Tatar (Translator), A.S. Byatt (Introduction)
Info:New York : W.W. Norton, c2004.
Collections:Your library
Tags:children's books, illustrated books, fairy tales

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The Annotated Brothers Grimm by Jacob Grimm (Author)


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This is our current bedtime read. I keep forgetting that my son is having a different childhood than I had, and that he didn't spend asthmatic afternoons stuck in bed with books. So he's not as fairy-tale literate as I was at his age. Also, he's old enough to be interested in the origin story of these stories as well as the stories themselves. So we're enjoying this collection and its introduction and footnotes.

--Just finished. This is a fine selection. The most famous tales rub shoulders with more obscure offerings. Maria Tatar included my favorite story, the clunkily titled "A Fairy Tale about a Boy Who Left Home to Learn about Fear;" but I loved reading grim stories that were new to me like "Godfather Death," "The Hand With The Knife," "How Children Played Butcher With Each Other," and the single-paragraph "The Stubborn Child" (hint: he does *not* come to a good end).

Speaking of grim stories: Was anyone else confused as a child by the coincidence of grim and Grimm? I remember starting a collection of the stories when I was young, and having to close it unfinished -- too much cannibalism, too many chopped-off heads. I looked at the name on the cover and wasn't sure if it meant that these stories were grim (which they certainly were) or if that was the name of the authors (which seemed like a scary coincidence). ( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
ever since i was a wee little tot, a copy of grimm's folk tales has, more often than not, been by my bedside. so it was a delight to find an edition that not only has informative annotations, but also, an inclusion of strange and slightly disturbing tales i had never seen before. ( )
  helynrob | Aug 13, 2013 |
I have always been a huge fan of fantasy, fairy tales and folklore and this collection of tales certainly did not disappoint. I'm sure that part of my love for the Grimm's tales in particular comes from being raised by my German mother and interacting with her family in Germany. We always had several fairy tale books as children and my mother also incorporated scenes from fairy tales into several pieces of her artwork.

What made this book especially interesting to me was the analysis provided in the introductions and footnotes throughout the book. These really gave me a broader look at the meaning and history of these tales than I had ever really thought of before. I wish that I had read this earlier, as a lot of the information presented would have been very useful to me in my literature classes in my undergraduate schooling.

The tales themselves, with a few exceptions, were just as enjoyable and magical as I remembered them and there were even a few tales that I hadn't heard (or even heard of) before! ( )
  StefanY | Feb 17, 2013 |
Honestly I found this book disappointing. It isn't my first time reading Maria Tatar or the Annotated Books series and expected more based on my past experience with each. I read Tatar's The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales and The Annotated Alice several years ago and found both terribly interesting and informative, The Annotated Brothers Grimm doesn't compare to either. The pictures are pretty good, but the footnotes are on the slim side for the series. They aren't particularly insightful and often repeat themselves.

To make matters worse Tatar's translation was underwhelming. To be fair this is hardly the first time I've been frustrated by an artless Grimm translation, but it's always disappointing. One of the things I love best in a good Grimm translation is the poetic repetition. There is a lot of variety in how the verse in Grimm stories in translated, but the versions here lack the grace and focus of more artful translations.

Compare the exchange between the princess and the horse head from Grimm's Fairy Tales: Twenty Stories with Tatar's rendering of the exchange.

'Alas! dear Falada, there thou hangest.'

And the Head answered--

'Alas! Queen's daughter, there thou gangest.
If thy mother only knew thy fate,
Her heart would break with grief so great.'


'Alas, poor Falada, hanging up there.'

And the horse's head would reply:

'Princess, princess, down and out,
If your mother found this out,
There's no doubt--her heart would break.'

I might not know what 'gangest' means but it's a hell of a lot better than a verse that hinges on rhyming 'out' with 'out'.

And then there's the dire warning in the Robber Bridegroom:

'Turn back, turn back, thou bonnie bride,
Nor in this house of death abide.'


'Turn back, turn back, my pretty young bride,
In a house of murders you've arrived.'

Yes she's managed a real rhyme half rhyme here, but the rhythm lacks the musicality of better versions. It isn't exactly hard to versify dire warnings either. The story Mr. Fox (not printed in this collection) does just fine with its variant.

Mr. Fox's warning:

'Be bold, be bold, but not too bold,
Lest that your heart's blood should run cold.'

Tatar's translations may owe their flatness to accuracy at the expense of art, but clearly I favor flash and rhythm over strict accuracy.

As if this wasn't enough all of the stories except the ones 'for adults' were taken from the Grimm's last edition after the stories had been heavily edited to be more suitable for Christian children. This means that all hints of sexuality were purged (Rapunzel's pregnancy), gratuitous mentions of prayer and piety were inserted (though the stories were of pagan origins) and blame was shifted off of fathers to mothers (Furrypelts) and off of mothers to stepmothers (an awful lot of them) to maintain the sanctity of parenthood. The only reason the 'stories for adults' escaped unedited was because after the first edition they were deemed inappropriate for printing and were purged from the collection. Actually that's not completely true. One of the stories, "Jew in the Brambles" was only deemed inappropriate by later editors. Jacob and Wilhelm printed the anti-Semitic tale in several of their books.

I guess Grimm's Fairy Tales: Twenty Stories is still my favorite. ( )
1 vote fundevogel | Jul 15, 2010 |
Book Description: W.W. NORTON & COMPANY LTD, 2004. Brand new. The 'Annotated Brothers Grimm' celebrates the richness and dramatic power of the fables. With 40 newly translated stories - including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel - Tatar redefines the Grimm canon. 416 pp.
  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grimm, JacobAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grimm, WilhelmAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Tatar, Maria M.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
A. S. ByattIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Introductory Material 
1. The Brothers Grimm . . . One More Time? (Preface)
2. Introduction by AS Byatt
3. Reading the Grimms' Children's Stories and Household Tales: Origins and Cultural Effects of the Collection
Tales for Young and Old
1. The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich
2. A Fairy Tale about a Boy Who Left Home to Learn about Fear
3. The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats
4. The Twelve Brothers
5. Little Brother and Little Sister
6. Rapunzel
7. The Three Little Men in the Woods
8. Hansel and Gretel
9. The Fisherman and His Wife
10. The Brave Little Tailor
11. Cinderella
12. Mother Holle
13. The Seven Ravens
14. Little Red Riding Hood
15. The Bremen Town Musicians
16. The Devil and His Three Golden Hairs
17. The Magic Table, the Gold Donkey, and the Club in the Sack
18. The Elves
19. The Robber Bridegroom
20. Godfather Death
21. Fitcher's Bird
22. The Juniper Tree
23. The Six Swans
24. Briar Rose
25. Snow White
26. Rumpelstiltskin
27. The Golden Bird
28. The Three Feathers
29. The Golden Goose
30. Furrypelts
31. The Singing Soaring Lark
32. The Goose Girl
33. The Poor Miller's Boy and His Cat
34. The Worn-Out Dancing Shoes
35. The Star Talers
36. Snow White and Rose Red
37. The Golden Key
Tales for Adults
1. The Jew in the Brambles
2. Mother Trudy
3. The Hand with the Knife
4. How Children Played Butcher with Each Other
5. Hans Dumm
6. The Evil Mother-in-Law
7. The Children Living in a Time of Famine
8. The Rose
1. The Brothers Grimm: Biographical Essay
2. Preface to Volume I of the first edition of the Grimms' Children's Stories and Household Tales
3. Preface to Volume II of the First Edition of the Children's Stories and Household Tales
4. "On the Nature of Fairy Tales"
5. The Magic of Fairy Tales
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393058484, Hardcover)

Maria Tatar redefines the Grimm canon with this authoritative and entertaining collection.

The Annotated Brothers Grimm celebrates the richness and dramatic power of the legendary fables in the most spectacular and unusual Grimm volume in decades. Containing forty stories in new translations by Maria Tatar—including "Little Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," "Snow White," and "Rapunzel"—the book also features 150 illustrations, many of them in color, by legendary painters such as George Cruikshank and Arthur Rackham; hundreds of annotations that explore the historical origins, cultural complexities, and psychological effects of these tales; and a biographical essay on the lives of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Perhaps most noteworthy is Tatar's decision to include tales that were previously excised, including a few bawdy stories and others that were removed after the Grimms learned that parents were reading the book to their children—stories about cannibalism in times of famine and stories in which children die at the end. Enchanting and magical, The Annotated Brothers Grimm will cast its spell on children and adults alike for decades to come. 75 color and 75 black-and-white illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Containing 40 stories in new translations by Tatar this celebration of the richness and dramatic power of the legendary fables also features 150 illustrations, many of them in color, by legendary painters.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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