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Annotated Brothers Grimm [Hardcover]

Maria Tatar
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Sept. 12 2004 --  
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Book Description

Sept. 12 2004
The Annotated Brothers Grimm celebrates the richness and dramatic power of the fables in the most spectacular Grimm volume in decades. With forty newly translated stories-including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel-the book features the work of legendary painters such as George Cruikshank and Arthur Rackham; hundreds of annotations that explore the historical origins, cultural complexities and psychological effects of the tales; and a biographical essay on Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Perhaps most noteworthy is Maria Tatar's decision to include tales that were previously excised, including stories that the Grimms thought unsuitable for children. Tatar redefines the Grimm canon with this authoritative and entertaining collection. Enchanting and magical, The Annotated Brothers Grimm will cast its spell on children and adults alike.

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Review

Praise for the first edition: "...can inspire that sharp fairytale pleasure at impending danger, as when the witch's voice cackles: 'Nibble, nibble where's the mouse? Who's that nibbling at my house.'" (Marina Warner, The Times); "[It is] a very good thing to rescue fairy tales from their airbrushed, deracinated, Barbie-ised place in modern culture..." (New Statesman); "For this beautiful edition...Maria Tatar has provided new translations and a series of fascinating textual notes." (London Review of Books) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

MARIA TATAR is the dean for the humanities and the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.

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First Sentence
The Grimms led with this story because they considered it to be among the oldest in the collection. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Beautiful June 15 2011
Format:Hardcover
I was looking for a Brother Grimm book that would act as, not only a story book for my upcoming little girl, but also as a keepsake for her to have when she grew up. I'm a librarian, and have come across many substandard children's abridged versions of the Brothers Grimm, and when I started my search I was unsure if I would be able to find something that would satisfy me. This book has done just that. First of all, physically, this book is gorgeous. It has an embossed cover, and a collection of colour plates from various artists who have illustrated for Brothers Grimm tales in the past. The illustrations are traditional, so if you are looking for the funky, primary coloured modern-esque style of children's book illustrations that have become very popular, you will not find it in this book. It is hard cover, but the paper used makes it lighter weight than most. The paper quality is very good, it will certainly pass the test of time without going "dusty", yellow and brittle. The type is clear and a good size (about size 11 font?), making it good for bed times too.

The stories themselves will also stand the test of time, as the book contains both children's and adult stories from the Grimm Brothers. Other reviewer's will have done a much better job at explaining the quality of the stories than I, so I will leave the descriptions to them. However, I will add a clarification that I felt was missing from the other reviews when I purchased this book. The children's stories ARE suitable for children's ears. Any reference to Rapunzel becoming pregnant are in the notes in the side columns, and can be skipped until they themselves can read it and ask questions at a more suitable age.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Keepsake Book Jan. 2 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While I have not yet had time to read the whole thing I have enjoyed the book so far. What is more important to me is that it is a wonderful looking book that seems sure to become a keepsake for our family. The heavy, solid binding is gorgeous. The notes to the stories are entertaining and educational.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grimm book with a cheery outcome! March 14 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You might be worried that a book with the name "Grimm" in it may make for some poor foreshadowing, but this transaction was anything but!

Not only was shipping fast, but the book came in immaculate condition!

I would definitely come back for all and any of my texticular needs!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Response to Book Condition Oct. 5 2010
Format:Hardcover
Seller is prompt in responding to poor reviews. A full refund and offer to replace the book was also given.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
128 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An imaginative feast Oct. 24 2004
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
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. 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.
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book with excellent content Aug. 9 2005
By J. Campbell - Published on Amazon.com
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.
161 of 179 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The annotations were less than enthralling Feb. 23 2008
By T. S. - Published on Amazon.com
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. 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).
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old stories, modern language Aug. 17 2009
By R. Terrence Hill - Published on Amazon.com
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.
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars multi-faceted appreciation of Grimm's fairy tales Sept. 5 2004
By Henry Berry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
THE ANNOTATED BROTHERS GRIMM, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, edited with a Preface and Notes by Maria Tatar, translated by Maria Tatar, Introduction by A. S. Byatt. Norton, 500 Fifth Ave., NY, 10110. 2004. 462+lvii pp. $35.00 hard cover/7" x 10", ISBN 0-393-05848-4. color/black-and-white illustrations, bibliography.

With its color illustrations by Rackham, Nielsen, Cruikshank, and other popular book illustrators, and simple, spritey translations by Tatar, this collection of Grimm's Tales can be appreciated solely for its visual and literary quality. The rich blue cover with gilded decoration and lettering contributes as well to the special quality of this book. But for readers looking for more than the timeless fairy tales tales well told complemented by pleasing illustrations, Tatar's marginal annotations and introductory essay "Reading the Grimms" along with A. S. Byatt's 10-page Introduction enhance the tales in citing the origins of their elements, pointing to references of their characters and imagery, and denoting particular representations of themes and teachings found in all fairy tales and similar children's literature. Such material defines the distinctiveness of the Grimm's works while also setting them within the wide and long tradition of children's literature. With its inclusion of nine Grimm's "Tales for Adults" omitted from typical collections along with the varied other material allowing for appreciation or study of the many fairy tales in different ways, this work stands alone in its treatment of the tales. It's a part of the publisher's series of annotated editions of popular classics, including the Wizard of Oz and the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
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