on March 3, 2003
I've always loved fairy tales, and I've never found a better version of Grimm's Tales. Why? The translation! Other versions tend to gloss over the details, taking away from the richness (and occasionally, gruesomeness) of the original. Manheim stays true to the spirit of the work in his translation, and the character of the original really shines through.
The best example I can give is one of the stories -- "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers." Other versions translate this as "The Boy who left home to find out what fear was." Why is this wrong? Well, the story is really about the physical effects of fear -- shivering. He didn't actually leave home to find out about fear itself. The gist of the story is that the main character never understood why his brother would "get the shivers" when he heard a scary story, so (among other reasons) he leaves home to seek his fortune. No matter what scary things he encounters, he never gets the shivers. Finally, at the end, the princess he married gets fed up with his whining about the shivers, and while he's sleeping, dumps a bucket of cold water full of minnows on him. He wakes up happy, saying "I'm shivering, I'm shivering!"
To this day, I use this story as a test of any translation of the Brothers Grimm.
What a great read! As an adult reading this to myself I am enjoying these tales! Contrary to what most people think these tales truly are meant for adult ears and are of interest to all ages.
Manheim explains that in early translations these were incorrectly labeled fairy tales and mistakenly assumed they were stories for children only. Over and over I am shocked by the gruesome content and punishments. Punishment by entrapping someone inside a barrel lined with the nail heads and then rolling them down a hill, father cutting off his daughters hands to avoid harm to himself, etc.
The reason I began reading these was to get a purist idea of what the Grimms' tales were: having grown up on the Disney version I was curious about the real thing. I was surprised at what I found, and happy! I was hoping to retell these stories to my 3 year-old but I have yet to find one that is tame enough to retell to him, but that is okay.
The storytelling nature of this is truly captured and I am entranced by these tales. The translator explains in his preface that this was the first time that the tales were translated from German to English by one person who was reading the original Grimms' manuscripts. This was first published in 1977. Manheim explains how earlier translations by other translators were muddled and errors made which changed some words, and at worst enough of the content was erroneous that the reader was really missing out on the true flavor and intent of the story. Manheim claims his edition is the most pure English translation. I compared this with my copy of the Pantheon edition edited by James Stern, as I was reading both copies at the same time. I found that the Manheim edition made more sense, that is, that some words were correctly translated to English while the other book had some words that I had just never heard of and could not understand. What fun to read these tales! Reading this book has been more fun than reading some recent fictional works. I have a renewed interest in reading about the old folk tales and fables now. Indulge yourself and read this book!
on April 25, 2000
This is a book to keep close at hand. Not only does it reveal the fact of those stories you must recall from your childhood, but also it does have aunique quality of they being told orally.
Besides that, these stories retain their sinister atmospheres, their haunting terrors, their violence and charm... look again to the face of Briar Rose and Snow White and see they are not as innocent maidens as you once thought.
My favorite in this book? "The Goose Girl" in all of its gory splendour.
Take care with this tome. It isn't the Grimms you knew as a kid, but you'll love them any way.
on May 4, 2008
This not only contains every story the Grimms wrote/recorded, it keeps them in their original state, so that you aren't reading the cleaned up version that keeps out the parts of a story that modern middle class parents might find "too scary". Children enjoy hearing a story told to them without a book, and this is a great resource for stories to learn and tell orally or while they are laying down for nap time, they can hear you as you read to them. If the story gets a little too scary and they tell you, you can yourself gloss it over but usually, I find the kids can handle it and enjoy hearing a different version of a tale they already know.
The only problem for me is that the type is a little small and the stories are crowded together. But all of the stories are there and it's already a pretty thick book so unless You want The Oxford Dictionary Like collection of Grimms Fairy Tales, you make do.
on October 3, 2008
I have read this Manheim's translation many times. It is almost perfect and true to the original. As for the book, two things are certain: (1) Grimms' tales are not just so stories and (2) they are not for kids. It is probable that such stories may have been inspiring to Freud, Bergman or could offer food for thought to Edward Witten as they are full of dream or nightmare stuff and lots of inexplicable things. They are an illustrated version of depth psychology and a quantum or string theory at the same time. They are truly authentic folk stories, many of them being incomplete in their logical development and many completely absurd in the existentialist sense of the word. They are sure to leave a hole in your head. Therefore, if you want to have a nice time, do not read them, because they are not nice stuff. However, if you want to get a bad fright, if you want to be haunted by them for weeks on end, read them one after another, and do read them after dark. And take my word for it: these stories will make you scared. You can take the Juniper Tree for a good start (by the way, does not the song of the devoured child (birdsong) remind you of Gretchen's song at the end of Goethe's Faust Part I?
on April 3, 1999
The nineteenth century was the age of nationalism, and there seems to be a classic folktale collection for every national group. The brothers Grimm got in very early with this entry for Germany. I think it's the best of them all. (If you like it, the one to read next is Afanasiev's Russian collection.) As a book this is perfect. It's just the right length, and there seems to be exactly one of everything.
How authentic the Grimms' stories are is of no moment. The whole point of folktales is that there is no original to be faithful to - just a lot of stories, culled and created by a mixture of natural and artificial selection, some tellings of which are better than others. These tellings are all very good. Somehow they did this kind of thing better in the nineteenth century.
on November 13, 2000
This book contains the stories and fairy tales presented by the Brothers Grimm in their original form (translated from German). There are 210 tales in this book, and some of the more well known of these stories include: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel & Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel.... And the list goes on.
These original stories contain undertones that are lost with Disney-like euphemisms and euphemistic adaptations. This also means there are some ghastly contents to children, so be attentive. As well, it is unillustrated, and may be more difficult to relay to children, but any effort will be well worth it, in my opinion. At any rate, it could be good reading for adults who wish to discover the original version of some of the fairy tales they might have heard as a child.
on February 16, 2014
This book reads as I imagine the tone of the original collected stories must read. It is well written but not modernized. I have read this book aloud to children and quietly to myself for many years, to the point where it is very worn and loved. It makes a great gift, a classic text that every home should have.
on March 27, 2004
How oft we remember dreaming - day dreams as a child and letting our imagination run wild! The Grimm's Fairy Tales are all *Five* Favourite Stars in my Read and Make Read collection in my Library. Some of my fav stories are:
1. Hansel & Gretel
2. Red Riding Hood
3. Snot White
6. Sleeping Beauty
Many More...you name it and these stories make your dreams sound true! Children love to read and listen. Even write reviews. This book is a famous collection of German Folk Tales by two brothers Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm. The first volume contained 86 tales and the second 70 and the last around 210 tales. The translations are perfect in this book and and took minute care to language details. The Grimms had taken pains to collect the tales mainly from friends and acquaintances who lived in and around a place called kassel in Germany and printed as expression of the spirit of german people. These retold stories with their own versions, the brothers have come out to suit public taste and their ideas about telling tales effectively. The translator Ralph Manheim has taken pains equally in translations! I recommend a 'Sure Sure Pick' whether one is a kid or a teen or even an Adult. Nothing like these stories will ever take you on a trip to wonderland! My Choice, of coz!
on July 30, 2003
Before this book, I had only known the juvenile -"G" rated versions of Grimms. As I had to read this for summer reading, I have to say, it's a bit of an eye opener. This book is great for analysis- you can see why my English teacher picked it (guess he thought we needed a challenge as we already speak English) One fault I do find is in the title: Grimms' Tales...for YOUNG and Old? I would not recomend anyone under the age of maybe thirteen to read this book. I doubt they would understand it very well.