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The Classic Fairy Tales (Norton Critical Editions) 1st ed Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393972771
ISBN-10: 0393972771
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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.
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Product Details

  • 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: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,959 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

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
(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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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