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The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm; edited by Noel Daniel {Goodreads}
Published by Taschen in 2011
Hardcover edition; 320 pages {BookDepository}
"A compilation of Brothers Grimm fairy tales complete with vintage illustrations. In honor of their 200th anniversary, The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm brings to life twenty-seven of the most beloved Grimm stories, including classics such as CinderellaSnow WhiteSleeping Beauty, andHansel and Gretel, in a vibrant and meticulous new translation commissioned for this publication. Containing a selection of charming vintage illustrations from the 1820s to the 1950s by true masters of pictorial invention—the legendary Kay Nielsen, bestselling children's books author Gustaf Tenggren, British artists Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham, and giants of nineteenth century German illustration Gustav Süs, Heinrich Leutemann, and Viktor Paul Mohn, as well as many new discoveries—this compilation also features historic and contemporary silhouettes that dance across the pages like delicate black paper lace. In addition to the tales and illustrations, the book contains a foreword on the Grimms' legacy, brief introductions to each fairy tale, and extended artists' biographies in the appendix. For adults and children alike, this opulent edition rekindles the eternal magic of the Grimms' tales—the second most widely read collection of stories in the world after the Bible."

Fairy tales belong to the folklore of many cultures, but each has its own versions. We are all acquainted to them. Still, we can agree that the versions Disney has been doing are probably the most present nowadays. And, although those movies were lovely to watch when I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to see how the original stories were – even though the tales aren’t really that original since the Brothers Grimm adapted and modified famous oral tales known in their country. I should warn you first that this is not gonna be a review per se. Just me, raving about the edition and talking a bit about the fairytales I enjoyed the most.

There are multiple editions of the tales published worldwide but the edition I read has 27 tales. Most of them are incredibly famous, such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, The Hedgehog and the Hare and so on; but there were a few tales I didn’t know about. All of them though share some level of morality. Be kind and good and you’ll have your happy ending. However, keep greediness aside or don’t judge people just because they look weak because, well, instead of getting your happy ending you will have a very gory ending – Brothers Grimm style – or you will be punished.

Before telling you all about my favourite fairytales of the edition, I have to tell you all about the stunning artwork within. It takes the reading experience to a whole new level because you can see all the art these tales have inspired through the years and it’s so beautiful. Besides that, with each tale there is a little introduction – provided by editor Noel – which compares that particular tale with other versions and explains it a bit more. Its origins or the modifications the Brothers added through the years. For example, the first edition of Hansel & Gretel featured the cold-hearted mother of the kids and later on, they changed her and made her to be the stepmother.

One thing I’ve noticed the most is that in modern re-tellings (I’m looking at you, Disney!) most of our beloved princesses are orphans. The mother dies and then the father marries a horrible woman and then, sadly, the father also dies and the poor little thingy is parentless and has to endure horrible things. Let me tell you now that in some of these tales the parents (the father, to be more precise) are sometimes worse; one example is Cinderella. Read the tale and you’ll find out what I mean. Anyways, my favourite tales are: Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs, Snow White, The Golden Goose, The Goose Girl and Puss ‘n Boots.

Cinderella was actually the most surprising one for me. I knew some of the gore details beforehand but, dear goodness, the stepmother-stepsisters were even nastier and bloodier than I thought. I don’t know how much to say about the tales because even though I don’t think we can consider these spoilers since the tales are mostly known and have been for over centuries, I don’t want to disembowel the whole thing. Another tale I highly enjoyed was Snow White. Funny enough, while I was reading it I remember watching an animated movie where the original tale was partially told. I don’t recall the name of the movie though :(

The most disappointing tale was Sleeping Beauty and I’m sad to say this but I prefer the Disney version a lot more simply because the villain is scarier. Don’t know about you but whenever I watched the movie when I was a kid, I was utterly terrified. Maleficent had that lovely effect. However, the Grimm’s tale is not even scary. It was very underwhelming if I’m honest. Still, it is a great collection and I highly recommend reading it. I rated most tales with three stars and some with four and five.

My Rating:


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