Customer Review

174 of 193 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The annotations were less than enthralling, February 23, 2008
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This review is from: The Annotated Brothers Grimm (The Annotated Books) (Hardcover)
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. Other readers might prefer a cozy illustrated volume of Grimm's Greatest Hits with annotations to spell out the complicated parts ("Wait, the wolf is a sexual predator?!"). This volume seemed to attempt to strike at both those targets, and hit neither (although it fell closer to the second).
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 2, 2009 6:51:51 PM PST
WriterReader says:
I liked your thoughtful review. Do you know of any more scholarly annotated books, not too heavy, but something along the lines of this book?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2009 1:12:44 PM PDT
T. Simons says:
My guess is that this book was modelled on books like "The Annotated Alice" by Martin Gardner. I'm still looking for a really well-done, detailed book on fairy tales, though. If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan there are a number of very well done annotated versions, one by William S. Baring-Gould and a more modern one by Leslie Klinger.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2011 3:01:25 PM PDT
Thank you for this review. I own the Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, and have found that the annotations are next to pointless, though there are some that shed some light on the subject matter. I mainly bought the Annotated HCA for the introductions and comments which I did find useful; I may also look for the Annotated Grimm's for the same reason.

Since this Annotated series is published by Norton, I suspect that these are "Norton Criticals for the masses," as I found in the utterly pointless and movie-referenced "Annotated Dracula."--look at the Amazon preview, it's pathetic.

@WriterReader - The Barnes & Noble Classics series *might* be useful to you.

Posted on Jan 12, 2012 4:51:36 AM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2012 8:37:07 AM PST
@ Occidental Artist - I believe you have misinterpreted what T. Simons said in the review, and what we in the comments have been discussing; T. Simons, WriterReader, and myself were desirous of a book consisting of the complete tales supplemented by historical and biographical annotations. This book is imbued with those "destructive cultural marxist degeneracy and lies," as you put it. "They" did write their own interpretation (this book) and we were disappointed in it.

@ T. Simons - You likely already own a satisfactory edition of the complete Grimm's, but if you do not, I would recommend Zipes' volume, The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm All-New Third Edition. I cannot vouch for bias (as is a chief concern of Occidental Artist), but having recently bought this book from Amazon, I can say with certainty that it is indeed a complete Grimm's, including several tales never published, being culled from the various correspondence of the brothers. The downside is that the modestly-sized volume is paperback--and not the highest quality to be found in paperback either.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 11:46:28 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 18, 2012 12:12:19 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 12:11:42 PM PST
D Thrasher says:
Re: Occidental Artist, your abrasive comment to this review and your enjoyment of "arguing over the Internet" (your words) speaks volumes about your closed mind and ignorance you posses about "literary interpretation." Your comment here is a reminder not to take mean and ignorant words personally and certainly to stay clear of people who hide behind the Internet. In this case, I guess I did "take the bait" enough said- TIME WASTED, moving on now.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 24, 2012 8:02:11 AM PDT
FYI says:
I've been searching for a good edition of the complete Grimm's, with Arthur Rackham's superb illustrations. Thank you for your recommendation: "The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm All-New Third Edition. You may enjoy the fine, lyrical Tolkien essay "On Fairy Stories," in the section "Tree and Leaf" (even the intro to this section is a delight) of The Tolkien Reader, as well as his fable "Leaf by Niggle" that follows. Tolkien: "I feel strongly the fascination of the desire to unravel the intricately knotted and ramified history of the branches on the Tree of Tales . . . It is now beyond all skills but that of the elves to unravel it" (Tolkien 1966:46-47).

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 12:09:27 PM PDT
M. Gaffney says:
Try Jack Zipes' The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm.
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