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The Annotated Brothers Grimm (The Annotated Books) Hardcover – September 17, 2004

93 customer reviews

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Hardcover, September 17, 2004
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Editorial Reviews


Tatar's book, with its annotations, explanations, front matter and end matter, illustrations and biographical essay and further-reading section, is difficult to overpraise. A volume for parents, for scholars, for readers, it never overloads the stories or, worse, reduces them to curiosities. And as an object, it's a chocolate-box feast of multicolored inks and design.--
 Neil Gaiman, New York Times Book Review

Tatar provides a very handsome volume, richly illustrated, full of wonderful facts, quotations, history, and with a very clear and extremely readable translation. Tatar's annotated Grimm is the perfect volume for someone seeking to learn more about the tales. She does not fill this volume with her own opinions and judgments; she carefully amasses information then steps back.
Edward Carey, Boston Globe

“[O]ne of today’s most appealing versions is the Harvard scholar Maria Tatar’s Annotated Brothers Grimm, rereleased in a new edition this Fall.” (Amanda Katz - New York Times) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Jacob Grimm (1785-1863) is the author, along with his brother Wilhelm, of the classic tales of folklore and fantasy collectively known as Grimm's Fairy Tales. Also a librarian and dictionary writer, Jacob was an acclaimed linguist and academic who elaborated "Grimm's Law," a major historical breakthrough in the development of the study of linguistics.

Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859) studied law in the early 1800s but became much better known as an accomplished and passionate storyteller and, with his brother Jacob, one of the Grimm Brothers, who gave the world the groundbreaking and fantastic collection of folklore, fairy stories, and fantasy tales we now call Grimm's Fairy Tales.

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: The Annotated Books
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New edition edition (September 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393058484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393058482
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Like the others in this series (The Annotated Wizard of Oz, The Annotated A Christmas Carol), this volume is beautifully illustrated and annotated with details that personalize the age-old tales, revealing original publishers names and themes, a behind-the-scenes peek at the historical background of those fairy tales we have loved since childhood.

In a very personal introduction, A.S. Byatt speaks of her own yearning for myth and fantasy as a young girl: talking birds, unicorns, princesses, imps and spun gold, hair cascading down the length of a turret. Byatt cautions us to remember the violent nature of the past and that the acceptance of violence was a part of everyday life; hence, the physical became part of the narrative, public hangings common to the times. The beauty of fairy tales is that limbs grow back and the sleeper awakens, once more alive.

The editor/translator has reassembled original Grimm stories in the order they were first seen by the public. There are the most familiar, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and The Golden Goose; but Tater goes even further, adding stories that were removed, most originally meant for adults, later considered too bawdy for the consumption of children. And Tater has another surprise in this volume: a biographical essay on the Grimm Brothers, their personal lives and political views, as well as the original prefaces.

This book is a treasure on many levels, the early appreciation of fantasy read as a child, the historical implications of those tales, the psychology that underlies the power of story and man's need for images to act great battles of good and evil.
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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful By R. Terrence Hill on August 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was a little disappointed to find that Ms. Tatar chose to modernize the language of the Tales to the extent she did. While it's not a bad idea to make literature that is at least purportedly aimed at children more accessible, I think it is also important that the language retain some of the character of the original. Case in point: one of my favorite Grimm tales, "The Boy Who Could Not Shudder," which frightened me immensely as a child, has been changed dramatically here. Instead of being unable to shudder, the boy is unable to get the creeps. That's not really even the same thing, and lessens the impact by failing to use exactly the right word in exactly the right circumstance, a goal toward which I believe all writers, translators, or editors should strive.
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By J. Campbell on August 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was surprised by the depth and value of the content in such a beautiful, "coffee-table" book. This is a collection of the Grimm's Fairy Tales with annotations describing each tale, where it fit within the collecting work of the Grimms', and what individual allusions and themes might mean throughout each text.

Readers beware: this is not a children's book. Rather, it might be read by an adult to children, but it contains much thoroughly overblown academic delvings into the psychosocial an psychosexual meanings supposedly behind many of the tales. It also does not shy away from bringing the readers attention to all of the sexual dimensions found in various other forms of the tales.

All that said, this is a valuable book chronicling the history of the Grimms' collection, illustrating and adding to the content in many helpful and enjoyable ways.
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178 of 197 people found the following review helpful By TS VINE VOICE on February 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This edition has a great deal to go for it. It is beautifully illustrated, contains the "authoritative" direct 1857 versions of many of the Grimm's collected tales, and it includes several tales which have been bowdlerized out of more modern editions, such as "The Jew in the Brambles."

Despite these virtues, however, it has two distinct flaws.

1) It is not complete. Rather than include the complete collection of stories, it focuses on the better-known stories such as Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, etc. It does include many lesser-known stories, but it doesn't have them all.

2) I personally found the annotations somewhat pointless. Rather than provide new information, or explicate the period germanic background from which the tales were derived, or provide much information about the Grimm's scholarly research, they merely provided the annotator's own personal interpretation of the story, i.e., "fetched some large stones and filled the wolf's belly with them. The stones have been read as a sign of sterility, but they are more likely an appropriate retaliation for the incorporation of Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother."

I'm not sure this volume ever really made up its mind as to its target audience. It includes too many stories with clearly offensive themes (again, "The Jew in the Brambles") to be suitable for young children, but at the same time, the annotations do not appear to be aimed at scholarly readers, and the wealth of illustration gives the impression the book is aimed at young audiences after all.

I personally would have been happier with a volume that included the entire collection of Grimm's tales and detailed, factual annotations.
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