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. Far deeper than mere storytelling, the Tales of the Brothers Grimm are the sturm und drang of the German culture, powerful and political, pagan and pure, complex and simple. Cultural complications aside, this tome stimulates curiosity at every turn, the beginning of a great adventure even adults can enjoy.
These wonderful, familiar stories are brought to life by the exquisite illustrations, both black and white and full color, as well as the annotated remarks that add such flavor to the interpretation. A visual and intellectual treat, The Annotated Brothers Grimm is a feast of possibilities, fancies, fears and dreams. The impossible is possible. It is all a matter of imagination. Luan Gaines/2004.