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The Classic Fairy Tales (Norton Critical Editions) [Paperback]

by Maria Tatar
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 4, 1999 0393972771 978-0393972771 1st ed 9 and up 4 and up

Fairy tales shape our cultures and enrich our imaginations; their narrative stability and cultural durability are incontestable.

This Norton Critical Edition collects forty-four fairy tales, from the fifth century to the present. The Classic Fairy Tales focuses on six tale types: "Little Red Riding Hood," "Beauty and the Beast," "Snow White," "Cinderella," "Bluebeard," and "Hansel and Gretel," and presents multicultural variants and sophisticated literary rescriptings. Also reprinted are tales by Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde.

"Criticism" gathers twelve essays that interpret aspects of fairy tales, including their social origins, historical evolution, psychological drama, gender issues, and national identities.

A Selected Bibliography is included.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Maria Tatar chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. She is the author of Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood, Off with Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood and many other books on folklore and fairy stories. She is also the editor and translator of The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, The Annotated Peter Pan, The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition and The Grimm Reader. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st ed edition (November 4, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393972771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393972771
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maria Tatar teaches folklore, children's literature, and German cultural studies at Harvard University. She chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mirror, Mirror... February 1, 2001
An excellent collection which highlights the grislier, taboo aspects of fairy tales that are often sanitised for today's consumption. As well as traditional versions of the most popular fairy stories, editor Maria Tatar has also included feminist re-tellings of "Bluebeard" and "Beauty and the Beast" by Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter. This fascinating anthology helps to deepen our understanding of the cultural implications of the fairy tale form, and includes essays from important contributors to the field such as Vladmir Propp, Bruno Bettelheim and Marina Warner. If you thought that fairy tales were just for children, then you'll find this collection an eye opening experience.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for storytellers June 15, 2001
A good mixture of browsability and serious reading. For the storyteller this book is a godsend - several variants of each story compiled for easy comparison, with an authoritative commentary for background research. And the variants are often not obvious or well-known, so giving real discoveries and delights. The scholarly essays cover a fair range of subjects, but for those just interested in the stories there is plenty in the rest of the book to satisfy. If this book interests you, try 'The Classic Fairy Tales', by Iona and Peter Opie - same title, similar approach, except that variants are only discussed rather than given in full.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good resource for beginning fairy tale scholars March 30, 2000
Tatar has contributed several works to fairy tale scholarship, but this is one of the best for an introductory course. The book offers essays and fictional variations for well known fairy tales including Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Bluebeard, etc. The collection includes a story by Margaret Atwood, poetry by Anne Sexton, and more traditional versions of the tales from older sources. New translations by Tatar of some tales are also presented. I highly recommend this book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reference in the Genre July 2, 2006
By Nick
(This is an old review I wrote somewhere else before, 20th April 2005.)

This book is a collection of both classical fairy tales and contemporary ones, though you never get the contemporary ones without their former classical models. Mostly, the book is divided into some six or seven sections devoted to the most well known tales out there: Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Bluebeard, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel. There's also a section about Andersen and one about Wilde.

For each section there is an introduction by Maria Tatar, usually an excellent one. Also, since this is a Norton Critical Edition, you get a whole part of the book devoted to essays by the most recognised critics of fairy tales. Some of those are dubious, and bashed by other essays included there, and rightly so. Be careful about the psychoanalytical ones. But basically it's interesting to see how thoughts evolve from one essay to another, because they're put in such an order that they exist in a continuous current of thought, and that gives a neat unity to this book, as far as the essay side of it is concerned.

Excellent book to get into fairy tales with a critical mind.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Guide to Fairy Tales April 26, 2004
A collection of fairy tales that have lasted throughout the years, "The Classic Fairy Tales" also offers many essays by the experts in fairy tale. The very best critics including Jack Zipes and Maria Tater, have written well-thought out essays varying from Disney's involvement in fairy tales to the sexuality of these tales. These essays along with the eight stories (Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Cinderella, Bluebeard, Hansel and Gretel, four short tales by Hans Christian Anderson, and three by Oscar Wilde) and you get a book which will help you understand not only the tales themselves, but the ideologies, social connections, and cultural importance. This book is definitely a good read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSIGHTFUL AND A VERY INFORMATIVE READ December 30, 2008
The Classic Fairy Tales which has been edited by Maria Tatar is quite an extraordinary read which I found fascinating and helpful, cover to cover. It is a collection of fairy tales which most of us are familiar with on one level or another. Maria Tartar has covered Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Cinderella, Bluebeard, Hansel and Gretel, and given us a good introduction to the works of Hans Christian Anderson and Oscar Wild. Each section of this work, and indeed each of the fairy tales noted here comprise an entire section, is accompanied by a scholarly introduction which is quite readable and very informative.

The author has, in each case, given us a fare selection of the variations of each of these tales as presented by different cultures throughout the world and different eras. This work is well researched, and I say this not lightly. I am modestly familiar with this particular genre, its history and its place in the pantheon of our literature...the author has done her work well. Not only do we get an accurate rendition of the original tale (as close to original as we probably ever will get, as many of these tales received their origin so far back into the mist of time, that it would be impossible to be absolutely accurate as many of them began strictly through oral tradition), but the author has in several cases given us a more modern version of the tale from a feminist view point.

If we take the story of Cinderella, we find that over the past several hundred years that there have been literally hundreds of versions of this classic myth. Tatar has given us a good sampling; not all inclusive, I grant you, but good never the less. The comparisons are stark, well presented and do indeed give us a wonderful overview.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Text for class
Now I've purchased my fair share of textbooks for class that I hardly ever touched, but I've almost read this thing cover to cover. Read more
Published 21 hours ago by Ashleigh Benoit
5.0 out of 5 stars For my fairy tales class
This book came in great shape. Definitely used but nothing wrong aside from a little wear and tear. Had majority of the big fairy tales with some interesting critic quotes and... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Kristin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great compilation of stories and fairy tales
Bought this book for a class and I really like it. Has the classical fairy tales as well as other fairy tales told by other people. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Naomy Villalvazo
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars
This book served its purpose

I like this book it is in great condition
it was recommended to me to choose books from this cite and
I would definitely recommend... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Angelica Blanks
4.0 out of 5 stars Good deal
The book arrived on time. The pages and cover were more worn than I was expecting, but the book was in good enough condition for me!
Published 2 months ago by Marisa
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection
I haven't read all of them yet, but they are much better than what you will find in smaller children's volumes, in all their gruesome fairy tale glory
Published 2 months ago by Equus
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Great book with all sorts of versions of common fairytales. I bought it for a class but will be keeping ti forever.
Published 4 months ago by E.B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Fair Tales
They are a different spin on the disney tales, but they are wonderful. There are many stories to read and there is criticism in the back of the book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kayla
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
I love the book, it has many great folktale stories that have all sorts of meanings unlike most modern fairytales nowadays. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Anayeli Rodea
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to my collection
This book is a great addition to my research on Fairy Tales as well as for the class I am teaching.
Published 6 months ago by Linda Schnakenberg
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