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The Annotated Brothers Grimm (The Bicentennial Edition) Hardcover – October 15, 2012
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
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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.--
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.
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.
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For example, the big bad wolf falls into a well and drowns. The annotation: "The destroyer of life who devours children is returned to the waters, to the source of life. The tale, which tells of death and rebirth, has been read as an allegory of the perpetual renewal of life."
It just seems like filler to me, like some student trying to fill the word quota for an essay when they got nothing. However there are some interesting details in the annotation when the writer is focused on history.
I had been just looking up the more interesting quotes on the internet each week...but nothing beats holding a great heavy book in your lap and cuddling up with some creepy ass story that pre- Disney was meant to scare the younguns outta the woods.
Really, a nice volume.
The book contains an introduction by A.S. Byatt, the author of Possession : A Romance (Modern Library) and Babel Tower, among others. There is also an article by the author titled "Reading the Grimm's Children's Stories and Household Tales: Origins and Cultural Effects of the Collection" which in itself, provides interesting perspectives on fairy tales. As Tatar writes, "the fairy tale keeps us firmly rooted in reality....we never stray into a world that requires us to navigate a new reality or to learn entirely new rules of behavior." The articles also explores some of the defining characteristics of fairy tales, the link between myth and culture as observed by Joseph Campbell (author of The Power of Myth), and the origins of fairy tales.
The book itself is divided into five parts:
Part I The Tales (37 in all) including The Frog King, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, The Brave Little Tailor, Cinderella, Furrypelts, The Singing, Soaring Lark, The Worn-out Dancing Shoes, etc.
Part II Tales for Adults
The Jew in the Brambles
The Hand with the Knife
How Children Played Butcher with Each Other
The Evil Mother-in-Law
The Children Living in a Time of Famine
The Stubborn Child
Part III The Brothers Grimm: Biographical Essay
Part IV Other Matters (Prefaces to the First Two Editions of the Grimms' Children's Stories and Household Tales
Part V The Magic of Fairy Tales (Further Reading and a Bibliography of Illustrations)
The work is extensively illustrated in both color and B&W, with illustrations by some renowned artists such as Arthur Rackham, and samples of his work can be seen in The Arthur Rackham Treasury: 86 Full-Color Illustrations, amongst others, Kay Nielsen, and also A.H. Watson.
The annotations reflect a deep understanding of the motivations behind the writing of these fairy tales, for example on page 231, the annotation to "the evil mother-in-law was sentenced to death at the stake" (from The Six Swans) reads "the villain's punishment, however severe, is no worse than what she planned for the tale's protagonist. The fact that she burns to ashes signifies a definitive end to her reign of terror." Most readers are drawn by the triumph of good over evil in these fairy tales, and children especially are calmed by the thought that such evil will end at the end and the perpetrator/villain will not ever return to cause pain or hurt.
I am deeply impressed by this work and have a couple of other annotated works by the same author. I hope to share them with my young daughter someday (she does ooh and aah at the illustrations!).
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