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The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition Hardcover – October 19, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2015

One of The Independent's Best Books of 2014

One of South China Morning Post's Best Books of 2014

One of The Globe and Mail 75 Book Ideas for Christmas 2014

"This collection contains many of the most-loved fairy tales in the history of the form . . . The book is a classic, formed like a mosaic of precious small pieces, each one glinting with its own color and character, glass and crystalline, but somehow hard, unyielding."--Marina Warner, New York Review of Books

"[A] faithful translation--accompanied by striking black-and-white illustrations, evocative of shadow theatre, by Andrea Dezsö. . . . [T]he Grimms are spare, spinning the tales into beautifully wrought short stories."--Francesca Wade, Times Literary Supplement

"This new translation . . . allows those without German expertise a chance to re-experience familiar stories in all their original Hemingwayesque terseness."--Michael Dirda, Washington Post

"[T]he new Zipes translation of the first edition, with all its notes and annotations, is a must, a treasure for anyone with a serious interest in fairy tales, the motifs of which linger perpetually in the collective mind."--Carmel Bird, Sydney Morning Herald

"Thoroughly engaging, Zipes' translations into colloquial American English breathe life into these stories. Award-winning artist Andrea Dezsö's cut-paper black and white illustrations capture the essence of this strange and enchanting world that will entice fans of mystical realms and those interested in better understanding the Grimms' enduring influence on literature."--Barbara Basbanes Richter, Fine Books & Collections

"[M]agnificent . . . what makes this newly released original volume especially enchanting are the breathtaking illustrations by Romanian-born artist Andrea Dezsö."--Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

"Zipes, who edited and translated the new collection, has done splendid work, first in arguing for the early tales' significance. . . . Zipes' most important achievement, though, is simply putting the complete, uncensored tales before readers to judge for themselves. . . . The Original Folk and Fairy Tales--beautifully illustrated by Andrea Dezsö, by the way--isn't the Disneyfied version of the Brothers Grimm that we all grew up with. But for readers whose tastes lean more to, say, Tim Burton, wading into the collection might feel like stumbling into an agreeably dark and Gothic forest."--Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Never before published in English, the first edition of the Brothers Grimms' tales reveals an unsanitised version of the stories that have been told at bedtime for more than 200 years. . . . His version of the original 156 stories . . . shows a very different side to the well-known tales, as well as including some gruesome new additions."--Alison Flood, The Guardian

"[R]emarkable. . . . Zipes's introduction . . . is illuminating. . . . This is the uncut Brothers Grimm: shocking, funny, and at times downright weird."--Rebecca K. Morrison, Independent

"[B]eguiling collections that are both a showcase of the enduring fascination with tales of the marvelous and strange and a celebration of those scholars who continue to research the realm of folklore. They unearth gems, and further our understanding of the stories and storytellers' place in the cultural history of their respective countries and, more broadly, in the universal human need to tell and listen to stories. . . . The rewards of these collections are irresistible."--Rebecca K. Morrison, Independent

"The new book, published by Princeton University Press, offers a fascinating insight into how the collection has changed with the times."--Nick Enoch, Mail Online

"Think you know fairy tales? Be prepared for a nasty shock."--Andrew Donaldson, Rand Daily Mail

"Zipes has produced the inaugural English translation of the two original volumes in a gutsy, robust style--warts-and-all."--Marguerite Johnson, The Conversation

"A far more unsettling, exhilarating, oral and adult encounter than you might expect of 'fairy stories.'"--Arifa Akbar, Independent

"Who wouldn't want to read a story called The Singing Bone? 156 fables--their collected works--newly translated but easily just as creepy and weird."--Globe and Mail

"Zipes's translation of the first edition of the collection by the Brothers Grimm is a wonderful addition to the material available in English."--Rowan Williams, New Statesman

"As nature, admittedly sharp in tooth, claw and thorn, intended."--James Kidd, South China Morning Post

"With Disney's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's fairy tale mash-up musical Into the Woods finding a wide, wide-smiling reception at the box office, it's the perfect time to consider the source: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's dark and stormy tales. . . . Andrea Dezsö's illustrations--black-and-white, woodcut-like silhouettes--add the right note of eerie timelessness to these wondrous, wondrously strange yarns."--Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

"[T]hese unexpurgated Grimms' stories are really for older readers who want to delve into the strange stuff that is German folk tales. Deszö's black and white cut-paper illustrations convey a world in which boundaries between the practical and improbable are as fluid and shifting as a dream. 'The miraculous makes self-evident what is wrong with the real world,' writes Zipes in his learned, accessible introduction, and that's as good a key as any by which to enter this extraordinary territory."--Deirdre Baker, Toronto Star

"The venerable Jack Zipes, one of the shiniest scholars in fairy tale studies, has brought us a lovely treat, which is a new translation of the first edition of the Grimm Fairy Tales, decorated with wonderfully creepy illustrations by Andrea Dezsö. . . . It's an excellent little book. If not a replacement for whatever illustrated fairy tale collection you had as a child, it's certainly a valuable addition to the library of a fairytale-loving child or adult."--Reading the End

"The U.S.'s most prolific and deeply insightful fairy tales scholar, Zipes offers a keen and sophisticated, fresh and colloquia, first-time translation--complete with discerning introduction--of the Grimm's original two-volume opus of 156 stories, first published in 1812 and 1815."--Choice

"Jack Zipes's new translation of the original two volumes of the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales is a revelation. . . . I know I'll be going back to this book, time and again in the years to come."--Benjamin Read, Books To Look For

"[A]ccepted as probably the world's greatest authority on the Grimms and fairy tales in general, Zipes is well qualified to redress the common perception of the brothers' published works."--Kevin Murphy, Magonia

"Zipes puts forth expert and readable analysis and thoughts on the Grimms, and provides an excellent critical starting point to foster interest in the brothers' history and continuing legacy."--Sam Harby, Nudge Books

"[The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition] tempts like the devil to read the tales again, gasp at their brazen heroes, and wander their forest paths."--Willis Goth Regier, World Literature Today

"What a treat these stories are, presented to readers now with [Jack Zipes'] masterful translations. The tales are, in turn, moving, brutal, and always unequivocally plainspoken, a refreshing thing to read after so many edited versions. The book also includes exquisite black-and-white cut-paper illustrations from visual artist Andrea Dezsö."--Julie Danielson, Kirkus

"It's one thing to read Zipes's erudite commentary on the tales, and quite another to discover these differences for oneself in the reading experience, and thus I encourage folklorists, fairy-tale scholars, and lay readers alike to peruse the pages of the first edition of the Grimms' tales. The illustrations by Andrea Dezsö--stark, simple, and beautiful--are an additional treat."--Jeana Jorgensen, Journal of Folklore Research

From the Back Cover

"A massive and brilliant accomplishment--the first English translation of the original Grimm brothers' fairy tales. The plain telling is that much more forceful for its simplicity and directness, particularly in scenes of naked self-concern and brutality. Hate, spite, love, magic, all self-evident, heartbreaking, delightful. I will return to this book over and over, no doubt about it."--Donna Jo Napoli, author of The Wager

"For a long time, Jack Zipes has explored fairy tale territory with an unstoppable love and prodigious energy. Now, in this complete translation of the first two editions of the Grimms' famous tales, Zipes has redrawn the map we thought we knew, and the Brothers' stories are made wonderfully strange again. This new and indispensable volume is beautifully presented."--Marina Warner, author of Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights

"This complete, unexpurgated, and insightfully annotated English-language edition of the Grimms' tales keeps readers anchored in the timeless world of the fairy tale. It will be treasured by all lovers of stories. Irresistible and unputdownable." --Shelley Frisch, translator of Kafka: The Years of Insight

"This English translation of the landmark first edition of Grimms' folk and fairy tales makes available a very important text to everyone with an interest in these stories." --Donald Haase, Wayne State University

"Jack Zipes's translations of the 156 tales in this significant edition are truly exquisite."--Ulrich C. Knoepflmacher, author of Ventures into Childland: Victorians, Fairy Tales, and Femininity


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1st edition (October 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691160597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691160597
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Heidi Anne Heiner VINE VOICE on October 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
If you love Grimms and aren't very fluent in German, this is a book to get excited about. Even if you are fluent, it's pretty exciting, too.

Over the years, one of the top questions I've received as SurLaLune is: "Where are the dark, gritty fairy tales I hear about?" Well, that's a complicated question, but one interpretation of what they ask is: "Where are those lesser edited Grimms' tales that I've heard about?"

For some reason, the entirety of the first Grimms' edition has not been translated into English previously. Zipes, in the Acknowledgements of this new book, says that during the Grimms' bicentennial in 2012 he decided, "if nobody was going to undertake this 'task,' I would do it--and do it out of pleasure and to share the unusual tales the Grimms collected as young men when they had not fully realized what a treasure they had uncovered."*

That's a boon since, after all, Zipes has also translated one of the most used and most recommended editions of Grimms. For that conversation see my blog post: Library Essentials: Picking a Grimm Translation. Nice to have Zipes' translations of both the earliest and later versions of the tales to compare and consider.

After all, the Grimms had seven editions of their famous collection and there were considerable changes between that first and seventh edition. And many of those earlier versions were grittier and more adult since the Grimms hadn't intended children to be one of their primary audiences.

From the book's introduction:

"In fact, many of the tales in the first editions are more fabulous and baffling than those refined versions in the final edition, for they retain the pungent and naive flavor of the oral tradition.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the first time one is able to read the original editions of the famous tales of the Brothers Grimm in English in an excellent translation by Jack Zipes. Published originally in two volumes in 1812 and 1815, they represent the "raw material" (and it is often raw) that was later edited, polished and bowdlerized to be more acceptable to polite society and children. Almost all of us will be familiar with many of the tales as they were later presented culminating in the 7th edition in 1857, which is often seen as definitive.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were interested in 'recovering the "true" nature of the German people through their so-called natural Poesie, the term that the Grimms often used to describe the formidable ancient Germanic and Nordic literature.' (p. xxiii). Rather than a work of entertainment for children this collection was intended as a scholarly work and included extensive scholarly notes. It was presented with minimal editing with the aim of capturing the original stories as they had been told to the brothers by a variety of sources. Zipes explains, in an interesting introduction, how they wanted to show how the cultivated literature, Kunstpoesie, evolved and eventually replaced Naturpoesie (tales, legends etc.) which survived in oral traditions.
There are a total of 156 tales in the two volumes, including nonsense stories, fables, animal and magical stories. All the well-known stories are there - Rapunzel, Snow White, Bluebeard, etc., etc. - but usually in shorter and often more basic forms. For example, in one version of Rapunzel her meetings with the prince are revealed when she gets pregnant and her clothes become too tight.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Two hundred years of nothing and now two new translations of the same book(s) published within weeks of each other! Fantastic!

Now people have not only the opportunity to read the tales as they were originally published, they also have the choice of reading two different versions of the exact same texts done in completely different styles. I must congratulate Professor Zipes on his work. I am eagerly awaiting my copy. Having just published my own cover to cover translation of the 1812 Vol I Kinder- und Hausmärchen (KHM), I know exactly how much work this is. It seems we were, quite independently, thinking the same thing. I also thought that if no one has translated the 1812 and 1815 books, it was certainly high time someone did. So I thought I'd give it a try, but I'd do it my way.

I was in a small secondhand book shop in Hamburg, Germany December of last year, when I came across the 100 year anniversary edition of the KHM by Friedrich Panzer. This was the reset (German) edition of the 1812 and 1815 KHM texts printed in 1913. I very much enjoyed reading the original texts printed in the old German typescript. These stories were very different from the 1857 versions. I have in the past read English translations of the KHM, but I was always disappointed in them. I always wondered why did the translator translate it this way? This is not what it says in the German original. Why did he or she not include this word or that phrase in the translation? Why do they always seem to translate the German "suur" (Sauer) and "swart Suur" (Schwarzsauer) as "Stew"? Not only are they not "stew" they are not even the same dish. Why do they delete entire sections? Why do they always have to rewrite everything? Why do they update the texts to modern ways of speaking?
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