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The Complete Fairy Tales (Oxford World's Classics) Reprint Edition

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199585809
ISBN-10: 0199585806
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Editorial Reviews


Review from previous edition: "an excellent new translation by Christopher Betts, with the added bonus of illustrations by Dore" --Amanda Craig, The Times 17/10/2009

"This is a new translation by Christopher Betts, and it's magnificent. The verse and the later prose tales leap off the page, as do the wonderful Dore illustrations." --Fortean Times, January 2010

"The world has waited over 300 years for a really good critical edition in English of the fairy tales of Charles Perrault. Now we have in this book a reference version which will be hard for any scholar to surpass in years to come....this excellent book." --Books for Keeps, January 2010

About the Author

Christopher Betts was a Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Warwick until retirement. He has translated Montesquieu's Persian Letters for Penguin, and Rousseau's Social Contract for OWC.


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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (November 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199585806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199585809
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.6 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on September 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Charles Perrault, a minor government official in 17th century France, is best remembered today for the collection of fairy tales he published in 1697, just six years before his death. Perrault, however, was not the author of any of the tales collected in his book. Rather, he rewrote various folk tales, tales of unknown origin snatched from the oral tradition of his time, and published those stories in the versions that most closely resemble the ones children grow up on today.

This new Christopher Betts translation of Perrault's work presents a few of the stories in simple verse, the rest in prose, and it includes an all-star list of fairy tales. Among the stories in "The Complete Fairy Tales" are: "Little Red Riding-Hood," "Sleeping Beauty," "Bluebeard," "Puss in Boots," "Cinderella," and a story very similar to that of "Hansel and Gretel." But make no mistake about it - these are not the fairy tales you heard from your mother and they are, most definitely, not the ones made famous by Mr. Disney.

Nevertheless, Perrault did intend that his stories be read to small children by their parents. For that reason, his versions of the folk tales are shorter than the stories with which adults of the period would have been more familiar, they encompass a limited number of characters and motivations, and much of the most obvious sexual content has been removed or, at the least, disguised. In addition, within his stories, Perrault emphasizes lessons and warnings about the process of growing up and he attaches at least one moral to the end of each tale. The attached morals, however, do seem to be aimed more at the parent/reader than at the listening children.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ava Lynn on May 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think previous reviewer "Sam Sattler" covered just about everything you need to know about the content of this book, so I won't rehash it here; I recommend that you read his/her review.

I bought the Kindle version of this book, and the text itself is lovely. It collects all Perrault's fairy tales, with illustrations and a wealth of extra information and history, both of the stories and Perrault, in the introductions and appendix.

There are a few things to be aware of if you plan to buy this book for Kindle.
The text size of the verse stories varies and appears in three drastically different sizes within the same story and sometimes on the same page, regardless of any adjustment made in the text size menu.
The illustrations, which themselves are lovely, include brief descriptions that often appear quite far away from their corresponding pictures- that is, several pages before or after you actually see the picture, there will be a line or two in italics that says something like "the prince meets the princess."
These aren't major issues, and they don't cause any great difficulty in reading the book. However, this book is a bit more expensive than the other ebooks I've bought, and for the price I expected something without any strange mistakes, which is why I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5.
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Format: Paperback
Anyone familiar with the "standard" Grimm fairy tales will be a bit puzzled by some of the stories here. Perrault's versions are different, but no less enjoyable. For example, the final story seems like a mix of Hansel and Gretel and Jack and the Beanstalk. The story of Little Red Riding Hood doesn't have the standard happy ending of the woodcutter saving Red, but ends with her devoured. Sleeping Beauty continues beyond the awakening, with the prince's mother turning murderous.

Perrault is also very concerned with applying a moral to his tales, rendered in verse. They're often dated--such as Red's tale referencing women who behave without propriety around strange men, Perrault basically saying they're getting what's coming to them if they're raped--but sometimes they can have some value.

Overall enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The translation was very good and flowed nicely, BUT the font type was WAY too small in my opinion. That was my only gripe.
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