Not since Bruno Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment has there been such an illuminating contribution to the world of children's fairy tales.The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales is a remarkable treasure trove, a work that celebrates the best-loved tales of childhood and presents them through the vision of Maria Tatar, a leading authority in the field of folklore and children's literature. Into the woods with Little Red Riding Hood, up the beanstalk with Jack, and down through the depths of the ocean with the Little Mermaid, this volume takes us through many of the familiar paths of our folkloric heritage. Gathering together twenty-five of our most cherished fairy tales, including enduring classics like "Beauty and the Beast," "Jack and the Beanstalk," " ," and "Bluebead," Tatar expertly guides readers through the stories, exploring their historical origins, their cultural complexities, and their psychological effects. Offering new translations of the non-English stories by the likes of Hans Christian Andersen, Brothers Grimm, or Charles Perrault, Tatar captures the rhythms of oral storytelling and, with an extraordinary collection of over 300 often rare, mostly four-color paintings and drawings by celebrated illustrators such as Gustave Doré, George Cruikshank, and Maxfield Parrish, she expands our literary and visual sensibilities. As Tatar shows, few of us are aware of how profoundly fairy tales have influenced our culture. Disseminated across a wide variety of historical and contemporary media ranging from opera and drama to cinema and advertising, they constitute a vital part of our storytelling capital. What has kept them alive over the centuries is exactly what keeps life pulsing with vitality and variety: anxieties, fears, desires, romance, passion, and love. Up close and personal, fairy tales tell us about the quest for romance and riches, for power and privilege, and, most importantly, they show us a way out of the woods back to the safety and security of home. Challenging the notion that fairy tales should be read for their moral values and used to make good citizens of little children, Tatar demonstrates throughout how fairy tales can be seen as models for navigating reality, helping children to develop the wit and courage needed to survive in a world ruled by adults. This volume seeks to reclaim this powerful cultural legacy, presenting the stories that we all think we know while at the same time providing the historical contexts that unlock the mysteries of the tales. The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales is a volume that will rank as one of the finest fairy tale collections in many decades, a provocative and original work to be treasured by students, parents, and children. Over 300 often rare, mostly four-color paintings and drawings by celebrated illustrators
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Maria Tatar chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. She is the author of Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood, Off with Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood and many other books on folklore and fairy stories. She is also the editor and translator of The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, The Annotated Peter Pan, The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition and The Grimm Reader. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.From School Library Journal:
Adult/High School-The level of content, commentary, and art in this beautifully designed volume will confound anyone who contends that fairy tales are "just for kids." Tatar presents fresh and appealing translations of 26 traditional stories (primarily European), accompanied by engrossing annotations placed attractively in the wide margins of the large-sized pages. In clear, accessible prose, she links the tales to their original oral traditions and cultural contexts, and discusses the varied interpretations imposed by critics over time and across philosophical and psychological perspectives. Hundreds of high-quality, color reproductions of period illustrations illuminate and enhance Tatar's cogent remarks about the power of illustrators to influence and comment on a story through visual interpretation. The supplemental sections are as fascinating as the main material: biographies of authors, collectors, and illustrators; variant texts of "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Three Bears"; the illustrations of Walter Crane and George Cruikshank; and an extensive bibliography. This book offers multiple pleasures for browsing, pondering, and sharing, and is as good a source for reading aloud as for research.
Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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