The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm is a new collection of the famous stories edited by Noel Daniel and newly translated with Matthew P. Price.
It’s published by Taschen and marks the 200th anniversary of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm initially set about collecting tales as anthropologists and linguists. Their fame as children’s authors developed during the 19th century with the publication of successive collections of German folk tales, re-written & adapted over time.
If anyone doubts the importance & influence of the brothers work, the Grimm’s fairy tales were selected for inclusion in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2005 – an initiative to safeguard documents vital to world history!
This particular book works on two levels – and it’s a perfect balance.
On one level it’s an analysis of the tales – their origins, variations, morals, meaning & symbolism.
This is done with a comprehensive overview at the start of the book, then through short introductions to each tale.
Their influence on visual culture has been widespread and the art they inspired is a fundamental aspect of this book.
The artwork is consequently stunning – we love the use of different illustrators, both historical and contemporary, for each story within the one collection.
There’s classic Art Nouveaux, Art Deco & Romanticism. There are illustrations with medieval appearance and some with a Scandinavian folk art feel.
Everyone will have their own personal favourites.
We gravitated towards those from the late 40s & 50s – the colour lithographs by Herbert Leupin featured in Sleeping Beauty & Mother Holle; tempura drawings by Gustaf Tenggren as seen in Devil with the Three Golden Hairs & Snow White - and the silhouette pictures by Divica Landrova featured in Little Red Riding Hood.
There are extended biographies for all the artists at the rear of the book.
On a simpler level, the book is just a lovely collection of classic fairy tales.
We can imagine the sense of anticipation & excitement as it’s taken from the shelf for a bedtime story!
It’s a sumptuous book to handle – a fabric cover in a rich, royal purple, debossed gold lettering and colourful bookmark ribbons.
A real treat for the reader or the listener!
The tales have a timeless magic – and we’re sure that owners of this book will be keen to pass it onto the next generation.
Classic stories such as Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Rumpelstiltskin – along with lesser known tales – The Brave Little Tailor, The Fisherman & his Wife and The Golden Key for example.
It will give hours of pleasure whether it’s viewed as a reference book or a story book – a work that can genuinely be shared between adults & children.
[Many thanks to Taschen for this review copy]