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Grimm's Grimmest [Hardcover]

Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 11 2005
First published in 1997, Grimm's Grimmest now has a blood-red, gothic cover to ensure these gruesome fairy tales will chill a whole new audience of adults. Nineteen of the darkest tales collected by the Grimm Brothers are presented unedited as originally recorded. Illustrated throughout, 14 of the stories also open with a colour oil painting commissioned for this book.

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A scholar of fairy tales, Maria Tatar, provides a fascinating introduction about the history and meaning of the stories assembled by the Brothers Grimm. She writes, for example, "We now know that the stories collected in the nineteenth-century folktale anthologies ...had their origins in an irreverent peasant culture that arose in conscious opposition to the feudal state's ruling class. By overdoing it in the realm of storytelling, these narrators were able to alleviate--if only temporarily--some of the tedium that marked the daily life of their audience ... [These tales] can be seen as the ancestors of our urban legends about vanishing hitchhikers and cats accidentally caught in the dryer or as the preliterate equivalents of tabloid tales describing headless bodies found in topless bars. But in many ways, it is the horror film to which the matter and manner of these folktales has most conspicuously migrated. Like horror films, folktales trade in the sensational--breaking taboos and enacting the forbidden with uninhibited energy."

The text of the 19 tales in this collection is based on the 1822 edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Nursery and Household Tales) by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm--before the tales were expurgated and rewritten to make them more "suitable" for children. It's bound in a handsome faux-antique format, and lavishly illustrated by Tracy Arah Dockray (15 full-page color paintings, and a black-and-white drawing on nearly every page). Most of the tales will be unfamiliar to American and English readers, who may be surprised by the graphic descriptions of incest, murder, mutilation, and cannibalism. Chronicle Books has done us a service in helping restore to our adult culture these vivid, evocative folktales. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Maria Tatar (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is one of the world's foremost Grimm scholars and is professor of Germanic languages and literature at Harvard.

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A LONG TIME AGO there was a rich man who had a beautiful and pious wife. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Jan. 16 2012
By Ash
It was exactly what I was looking for. Arrived just before Christmas and in great shape. Thanks you so much!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grimmer than what I heard as a kid May 19 2003
Liked the illustrations to this volume of the darker tales, especially Juniper Tree, which was an amazing story that makes you realize just how awful the stepmothers of fairy tales are. Some of the stories are familiar but quite a few were new to me, so this was something of an adventure.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Grimm Indeed May 25 2004
Maria Tatar introduces the stories and some of the variations in different editions. She also delves into the politics that have helped some stories become well known and helped keep others obscure. There is a table of contents, but the stories are in no discernable order.
This collection takes readers closer to the original tales and include incest, sex, and graphic violence. The stories are rough and sometimes hard to understand. For example, I could not understand why the daughter who had fled the castle and the incestuous advances of her father, the king, later purposefully let her identity be known to him.
These stories are excellent reading that should help tellers understand these folk tales better. They may be tellable as written to an adult audience. However, I feel that an audience that is not well-versed in the oral tradition my need some help in understanding them or putting them into context.
The illustrations have a lurid quality that intensifies the feeling of uneasiness.
Source Notes: Selected stories from the 3rd ed. (1822) of Kinder- und Hausmärchen by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Reviewed by Karen Woodworth-Roman, MS Library Science
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wow Feb. 22 2004
This book contains the collection of the Grimm's brothers original fairy tales, and mostly gruesome in nature, involving cannibal and gruesome acts. Fairy tales for adults and not for children's bedtime stories. It fills out the missing parts of the stories you read when you were a kid and fairytales genre lovers would denitely love to have their hands on this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and fascinating read Aug. 31 2003
I received this book as a Christmas present last year, and it has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. Okay, yes, the stories are pretty darn gory, with decapitations and/or mutilations playing a prominent role in quite a few of them, not to mention the incest and cannibalism and so forth, so you need to keep this book away from the kiddies. That aside, it's a wonderful and fascinating collection of tales. The illustrations are very nice, and there's a lot of them. Plus there's a great introduction at the beginning that gives the reader more of a background story on the Grimms and their work. Overall, a fantastic book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bring in Vincent Price March 1 2003
These are original, bloody tales collected by the Brothers Grimm. Very few end with "they lived happily ever after" and even less beginning with "once upon a time".
Containing cannabilism, incest, murder, sex, and a host of many things not consider "good" for children. Many of these stories evoke visions of Vincent Price rather than the canned, sanitized Disney movies. These are stories of goodness and purity most often - not always! - winning the day. The wicked are punished brutally for their misdeeds.
Printed on yellowed paper with both black and white and color illustrations it feels as if you are reading a book far older than it is. The story structure is rough, crude because these are oral stories written down perhaps for the first time when the Brothers gathered them. The language and pacing stay true to this oral tradition making the reading rough to a reader used to modern well edited stories. I could almost smell the smoke from the poorly vented fireplace as an old grandmother spun a tale to frighten and delight.
Grimm's Grimmest has more incommon with Freddy Kruger and Jeffery Dahmer than Disney - definitely not for the squeamish.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Jan. 28 2003
About the only fairy tale we will notice is the Cinderella story called Aschenputtal in this book. It is very different from the Cinderella we know. These tales are pretty good, but kind of dark and dreary. The gore is graphically and literally depicted. There are ninteen stroies and they are pretty well developed. They really give us a great glimpse into the past. The book is designed really well and the art in the book is excellent as well. The cover is great too. If you get the book and don't like it at least you will have a unique addition to your collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK Jan. 6 2002
By Desi
If yo enjoy ny type of horror thi book is worth reading. I loe this book, it is my faveorite book
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