Title: Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Author: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Published: 2012 (originally 1812)
Language: English (translated from German)
I’ve always thought that fairy tales where my thing, but after reading this edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, I’m not so sure anymore …
Grimm’s Fairy Tales is a collection of fairy tales written by the brothers Grimm. They were originally written in German (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), in the early nineteenth century. The brothers Grimm based their fairy tales on well known folk tales and have popularised many of them.
What I liked about this collection is that it contains the ‘cruel’ versions of the fairy tales: not the Disney interpretation, but the ‘original’ stories where toes and heels are cut off and evil (step)mothers or -daughters are hanged for their crimes. Of course quotation marks are in order, because these stories aren’t originals in the sense that they are still the interpretations of the brothers Grimm of the folk tales – tales that, in the nineteenth century, were already very old. Another thing I liked was that I remembered a lot of these stories. My parents read a lot of bedtime stories when I was a kid, and a lot of fairy tales as well. (Not only Grimm but also Andersen, Perrault, 1001 nights and fables by La Fontaine and many, many more …)
That being said I thought that the collection over all was just too much of the same. It was always the same old king who was about to die and doesn’t know to which of his sons he should bequeath his Kingdom, the same stupid greedy elder brothers that never make it back from the quest their father sent them on, the same youngest prince that turns out to be handsome, smart, friendly and humble (seriously, HOW many stupid Kings are there? Just choose an heir already!) and the same beautiful and dutiful princess as damsel in distress. My, you would almost start to think that there are some common tropes in fairy tales, wouldn’t you? In short: some stories are okay, but most of them are repetitive and misogynistic …
I’m very glad that I was able to get my hands on this particular Puffin Hardback Classics edition and I’m glad that I’ve finally read it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Have you read the Grimm’s Fairy Tales? What did you think of it?