The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales

The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales

Hardback Annotated Books

Edited by Maria Tatar, Translated by Maria Tatar

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  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co
  • Format: Hardback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 224mm x 258mm x 42mm | 1,461g
  • Publication date: 3 December 2002
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0393051633
  • ISBN 13: 9780393051636
  • Edition: Annotated
  • Edition statement: annotated edition
  • Illustrations note: 350 colour illustrations
  • Sales rank: 73,519

Product description

This beautiful volume celebrates the best-loved stories of childhood through the vision of Maria Tatar, a leading expert in the field of folklore and children's literature. Challenging the notion that fairy tales can be read for their morals and used to make model citizens of little children, Tatar guides readers through the stories, exploring their historical origins, their cultural complexities and their psychological effects. Maria Tatar shows that by providing children with powerful models for navigating reality, these tales help children survive in a world ruled by adults. Twenty-six classic stories are presented - including "Beauty and the Beast", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "The Little Mermaid". Maria Tatar has also assembled over 300 mostly four-colour photographs, paintings and illustrations, some very rare, creating a volume that will rank as one of the finest fairy tale collections in many decades.

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Author information

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

Editorial reviews

Beautifully presented and illustrated, with brilliant annotations, this large volume of fairy tales is for both children and adults. The introduction by Maria Tatar, an expert on the history and culture of fairy tales through the ages, reminds us how vital these stories are to us as children, how they bring the imagination to life and help to form an understanding of wealth, poverty, conflict, romance, power, desire, elation and fear, as well as giving perspectives on 'good' and 'evil'. The accompanying illustrations are from earlier eras, and are much more powerful than much contemporary, 'safe' illustration, which can so often dilute and detract from the real essence of these often disturbing fables. Arthur Rackham, Charles Perrault and George Cruikshank are among many of the artists whose magnificent work is displayed in the book alongside annotations which give each story a historical and cultural context. Most of them existed for many centuries before being written down, and over time they have evolved through the oral tradition and as a result of changing moral and cultural mores, not to mention simple personal preference. For example, in 'Little Red Riding Hood', first published by Perrault in 1697, the heroine was originally eaten up by the wolf, but the more popular Brothers Grimm version, where the girl and her grandmother are rescued by a huntsman, became the dominant narrative. Even before Perrault, some versions of the story had Little Red Riding Hood eating the wolf's leftovers of her grandmother, thinking that her remains were 'meat' and 'wine', and in another she performs a striptease for the wolf as she plans her successful escape. These stories are enormously enjoyable for their own sake, and it is fascinating to discover that fairy tales that seem innocuous and light-hearted began life much more violently. This is a book that should be treasured and passed down throughout generations to come. (Kirkus UK)