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The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  879 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In this illuminating work, a leading expert in the field of folklore guides readers through 26 fairy tales, exploring their historical origins, their cultural complexities, and their psychological effects on children. 350 full-color photos, paintings & illustrations.
Hardcover, 449 pages
Published October 17th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Marie Aponte Creo q es q es un devicia para mi tableta
East by Edith PattouSun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day GeorgeIce by Sarah Beth DurstEast o' the Sun and West o' the Moon by Peter Christen AsbjørnsenOnce Upon a Winter's Night by Dennis L. McKiernan
East of the Sun and West of the Moon
8th out of 31 books — 114 voters
The Annotated Alice by Lewis CarrollThe Annotated Peter Pan by J.M. BarrieThe Annotated Classic Fairy Tales by Maria TatarThe Annotated Brothers Grimm by Jacob GrimmThe New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft
Annotated Classics
3rd out of 18 books — 8 voters

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I'm a sucker for learning and I love annotated editions of pretty much anything. I'm the dork who reads all of the editor's comments and even sometimes I look up their citations. Obviously I was the annoying child who always asked why. So when I found this annotated edition of classic fairy tales on Amazon I had to buy it.

The editor is Harvard Professor Maria Tatar. She's a historian, author, and an expert on languages and literature.

The best part about this edition is that you get all of the cl
I really enjoyed reading this annotated edition of some of the classic fairy tales. I liked how their were different versions of many of the stories, with bits and pieces being changed. I also liked the many illustrations by various people, which was nice to have alongside the stories.
Abbi Dion
SUCH a freaking treasure. I love this book for the stories, the annotations (1), the critical introductions (2) and THE PLATES; my God, they are amazing. Kay Nielsen and Arthur Rackham are mind-blowing in their style and technique.

"he put on her clothes and her nightcap." Anne Sexton referred to the Grimms' wolf as a "kind of transvestite" in her verse collection Transformations.


Cinderella. Aschenputtel is the name the Grimms used for their Cinderella. The term was originally used to desig
As repositories of a collective cultural consciousness and unconscious, fairy tales have attracted the attention of psychologists, more notably the renowned child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. In his landmark study, The Use of Enchantment, Bettelheim argued that fairy tales have a powerful therapeutic value, teaching children that "a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoiable." (introduction, xiii)

Over the past decades child psychologists have mobilized fairy tales as powerful t
I usually love the Norton Annotated books, but this one was a disappointment. The first let-down was that Tatar also annotated The Annotated Brothers Grimm and The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, and many of the same fairy tales -- with the same or nearly the same annotations -- are included here. Only about 1/3 of the book is not available elsewhere, mostly Charles Perrault fairy tales. In addition, usually the art reproductions in these books are excellent, but in this case many of them wer ...more
I really enjoyed reading these fairy tales that I remember from my childhood... and some new ones to go along with it. Tatar's annotations make these stories even more interesting now that I'm an adult. I only had to read a couple of them for class, but I just decided to read all of them to learn about some new tales and refresh my memory on some old ones. My two favorite from this collection were "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" I thought it was beautifully written, and "The Ugly Duckling ...more
H. Anne Stoj
I really adore annotated books. It just calls to the book geek in me. Particularly when it concerns a topic that I love. It helps, as well, when the introduction is by someone that I really enjoy reading, like Maria Tatar who, like Jack Zipes, is amazing when it comes to knowledge about faerytales.

So, what are the classics? Most of us probably know a good many, but perhaps not all that Tatar includes here. But they are, in order:

Little Red Riding Hood - Brothers Grimm
Cinderella - Perrault
This marvellous collection does exactly what it says on the tin. Some of the most well-known fairy tales, from Little Red Riding Hood to Snow White to The Little Mermaid, are gathered here with lesser-known tales such as Kate Crackernuts, each with introductions explaining their genesis and history, notes for themes or other points of interest in the text (glass or fur?), and plenty of annotated historical illustrations from artists such as Arthur Rackham, Walter Crane, Edmund Dulac and Edward B ...more
Feb 14, 2008 hypothermya is currently reading it
This is not a good book to fall asleep cuddling. It is exactly the sort of book that will give you a black eye when you hop back into bed too quickly after hitting the snooze button on your alarm.

But it is exactly the sort of book that has all of your old favorite fairy tales. It is exactly the sort of book that has really interesting and well researched information on each of these stories. It is exactly the sort of book that happens to have a wide assortment of beautiful classic illustrations
Joseph Pinchback
The stories here are classic, of course, it's right there in the title. The annotations are fascinating; Tatar gives tons of illuminating little details. All of this is great. However, the real draw here is the illustrations, taken from classic sources. To call the illustrations beautiful is to understate the situation. I read a lot, and lemme tell you, it's nice to read such a great collection of stories while looking at a bunch of pretty pictures. I think it's about high time that we expanded ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Marcia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: librarians, fairy tale enthusiasts
This was a interesting look at the history of the fairy tales we know and love. Originally told between adults, they were often lascivious--in one version Little Red Riding Hood performs a strip tease for the wolf (the common symbol of the predatory male.) As the stories made their way to the nursery, they were cleaned up. and often changed to impart a moral. The psychological reasoning shared in the annotations is fascinating. The book includes many of the original illustrations which are mesme ...more
X-ray Iris
I found a gorgeous copy of this (with pristine dust jacket) at a used bookstore called, I think, BookMan BookWoman in Nashville. I was there at Xmas time, with family, on a trip to watch my niece compete in cheerleading nationals at the Opryland Hotel. Sorry (no offence to spirit teams), but horrifying. At the time I was writing my senior thesis on contemporary reworkings of fairy tales (heavy on the Angela Carter) (I have read SO MUCH about Bluebeard) and to find this was divine. It is just a l ...more
A wonderful collection of beloved fairy tales we have all grown up hearing. This edition also comes with some beautiful illustrations by artists such as Gustave Dore, Edmund Dulac, and Kay Nielsen. Fairy tales include. Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, The Little Mermaid, The Little Match Girl and Sleeping Beauty. A beautiful book for all fairy tale lovers.
Always a sucker for a good fairy tale. I picked this book up from a second hand stall at the Open Market in Brighton a few months ago. It’s two books in one really. The first section, which takes up 260 of the 400-odd pages, is an anthology of the classic fairy and folk tales; Red Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Bluebeard, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel. Each tale type has an introduction by the editor and then (and this is the really cool bit) there is the text of each tale, as told ...more
Catherine Lovelace
This was my Christmas present from my very best friend and I love it! I read the entire thing through cover to cover. It introduced me to different versions of fairy tales told in different areas, different stories all together, artists, how tales began and then were changed either intentionally or through spreading. Especially the artwork was so touching for me. I am now in love with Edmund Dulac. His illustrations for the Little Mermaid-my all time favorite fairy tale-were simply perfect.
Amy Lee
A good gift book, and with its greater variety I think overall more appealing than Tatar's Annotated Brothers Grimm, with which it is somewhat redundant -- though like that one, it's meant to appeal to a broader audience. Scholars should instead consider her academic texts, like the Norton Critical Edition of the Classic Fairy Tales. I do love her approach on fairy tales, a cross between anthropological and literary, not too caught up by the limitations of either.
A gorgeous volume. The illustrations are all done by famous, classic children's artists and should be savored. The source notes are wonderful and enlightening, and the annotations are good, but I sometimes wanted more information, maybe on symbolism within and between cultures. I guess sometimes they just seemed obvious to me, but the rest of the information is so good that this is a small point. So glad to have this in my collection!
Though the title says "... classic fairy tales", this book is not really for children. In fact it is for those (say, adults) who love the classic fairy tales and want to learn about the history of those fairy tales.
Very surprising and eye-opening to read the facts and reasons behind why some of those stories were made/told. Some even so dark and gory that I agree with the editor that such stories were not really for children:)
Tatar not only includes good annotations to the tales, but also brief bios about the writers and the artists. It is a wonderfully illustrated collection. A word of warning, the annotations for the Grimm and Andersen stories appear in those editions as well as here, so there is some overlap.
The nitty-gritty truth about such "innocent" stories as Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast... Not for the faint of heart!

I recommend East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Juniper Tree... as long as you're not squeamish!
Sep 14, 2011 Joni rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Interesting backstory to all our most-beloved fairy tales. I enjoyed reading the stories that I didn't really know but what I really loved about this book was the inclusion of illustrations from all the greatest illustrators of these stories.
Angi  Myers
The real fairy tales the way they were originaly written. Not so happy endings!
It's nice that they go into detail and explain the back story and some of the terminology from the stories as well as original illustrations.
I loved this collection of fairy tales and all the explanations of details of the stories and biographies on the authors/illustrators. I also loved the wide variety of illustrations for each story.
Annotated is a bit of an overstatement. More like an anthology with pretty good introductions to each story, including a relatively limited version of the history of each tale.
These are not like the stories I grew up with, and I would not read them to children, but they are fascinating.
One of my goals for 2012 is to re-read the classics from my youth. I decided to start with fairy tales.
An enjoyable collection of classic fairy tales with some annotation. This book excels in having engaging, readable versions of the classic fairy tales in a single volume. Especially fascinating to me were the lesser-known tales included like Donkeyskin and East of the Sun West of the Moon. The translations of the non-English tales are especially notable for readability. While Tatar definitely wants to examine the tales as more than moralistic literature, it is hard to argue that they do provide ...more
Simon Wheeler
Jan 24, 2013 Simon Wheeler rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults! Not for kids.
NOT a kids' book! A very interesting look at the origins of many classic fairy tales. Who would have thought Little Red Riding Hood started out as a warning to young girls about the perils of sex?! Her mother warns her about "straying from the path"... And Cinderella turned out to be a spiteful cow in the earlier versions.
I was amazed at the history, psychology and culture behind these stories. Includes simply gorgeous artwork from famous illustrators through the years.
Some time back, I wanted t
I loved reading fairy tales as a kid - Hans Christian Anderson, The Brothers Grimm, Ruth Manning-Sanders' collection of tales with such titles as "A Book of Charms and Changelings", "A Book of Sorcerors and Spells", "A Book of Trolls and Ogres" etc. A couple of months back, I read an NPR blog post on Maria Tatar's The Annotated Brothers Grimm and thought that a book illuminating the historical and sociological context - and the sometimes darker undertones - of well-known fairy tales would make a ...more
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Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures. She 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 Ha ...more
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