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The Classic Fairy Tales
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The Classic Fairy Tales

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  1,882 ratings  ·  61 reviews
"Criticism" gathers twelve essays that interpret aspects of fairy tales, including their social origins, historical evolution, psychological drama, gender issues, and national identities A Selected Bibliography is included.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 17th 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published November 4th 1998)
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I was astonished by how gory the better stories were, and then by how bloodthirsty my children were as readers. The criticism and the selections themselves were great, but seeing kids put down the Ipod to read The Juniper Tree out loud to each other again and again is proof of the necessity of these archetypal tales, especially now.
Interesting to learn the various versions and history of fairy tales...a far cry from disney. This book inspired the following poem based on "The Little Match Girl" It is dark, but such is the way with fairy tales I have learned.

"The Littlest Match Girl”
By: Shannon Ingram

The vague memory
of my older sister
still haunts my soul
and how she froze to death
on New Year’s day
when others drank champagne and sang
some song about old acquaintances forgotten.

A failed peddler of matches,
an empty belly,
bare f
Laura Anderson
Fans of fairy tales everywhere should read this. Maria Tatar brings together fairy tales from around the world, tied together in chapters with familiar modern Western titles (Cinderella, Red Riding hood, etc) and examined with a critical introduction.

For instance, we are treated to the familiar version of Grimms Cinderella alongside the Chinese Yeh-hsien, French Donkeyskin, English Catskin, Himilayan Story of the Black Cow and the Egyptian Princess in the Suit of Leather. Reading the tales toge
Mike Anastasia
Tatar's book, along with Jack Zipes' anthology, represent the cream of the collective crop with regards to fairytale studies. This book is denser than Zipes' and also has more material, but I found Zipes' writing style easier to read over the long haul. As someone who wasn't terribly interested in folklore, it can get a bit banal at times.

This version, more so than Zipes', is loaded with gore. As many people know, most of the Disneyesque fairy tales we grew up with were actually riddled with dr
Yes, I needed to read this one for school, but it was so interesting that I thought I'd tell you all a little about my thoughts on it. The Classic Fairy Tales is about as bland of a title as you can get when it comes to this collection. Edited and selected by Maria Tartar, most of the book contains fairy tales while about a fourth of it is articles and criticism concerning fairy tales both modern and ancient.

The fairy tales are all separated into different sections in the book so that the reader
A nice concept for a collection, The Classic Fairy Tales is divided into sections for each of the classic stories (Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Cinderella, Bluebeard and Hansel and Gretel). Each section has a somewhat lengthy introduction, that is a little heavy on feminist psychoanalysis/Bettleheim etc., but still interesting. Then it has five or six variants of the stories, including the classic Grimm and/or Perrault versions, versions drawn from other cultures aro ...more
Alex Fairhill
I picked up this book to use for a uni assignment, and ended up reading the lot. Tatar has collected several versions of stories including Cinderella, Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Red Riding Hood as well as some key academic essays in the study of fairy tales, and introductions to each collection of variants.

The different versions of the tales from different cultures, authors and times from folklore to contemporary are fascinating - particularly given the versions we're most famil
Jun 22, 2015 Amy is currently reading it
"The staying power of these stories, their widespread and enduring popularity, suggests that they must be addressing issues that have a significant social function - whether critical, conservative, compensatory, or therapeutic." (Intro)

On Beauty and the Beast:
-These tales may mirror a social practice of an earlier age, arranged marriage. Many an arranged marriage must have seemed like marriage to a beast.

On Snow White:
-The magic looking glass and the enchanted glass coffin are the tools patriar
I wrote an essay based on what I truly learned from this fascinating book:
A Rite of Passage ‘To Eat or To Be Eaten’
The primary subject of the two fairy tales: Hansel and Gretel and the Little Thumbing are to narrate the rite of passage from a powerless childhood to the resourceful young adulthood. Two woodcutter families decide to get rid of their children during the famine and by doing so put their children in a dire position of to eat or to be eaten.
Centuries ago, long before industrial revo
The original fairy tales are always surprising and shocking. It's not always about the evil mother figure either, as I learned in Donkeyskin, a Cinderella story variant about a girl who had to escape her lustful father. Girls were a lot tougher before Disney came along. This book does a great job comparing all of the oldest tales and why certain versions became more popular.
Taylor Porter
I enjoyed this book because of the fact that it explains the reasons behind the fairytales. I love that the author added in different illustrations of the stories. The author did a great job explaining and connecting the fairytales to other ones, as well as giving a bit of history behind the stories. I loved this book and recommend it to others to read.
I read many of these stories before and thought most of these stories are not for children. Fairy tales do open a whole new world but at the same time they open your eyes to the world you are living in and how unpleasing it actually is. That is one thing I do like about these stories they are unfortunately timeless.
My college advisor had an extra copy of this on her shelf, and knowing my love for fairy tales (and the final paper I was writing on "Bluebeard" and "Jane Eyre") she gave it to me. Best professor ever. And a great collection of tales with literary criticism.
Feb 27, 2009 Cici rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Cici by: Suzanne actually gave me this book :)
Shelves: fairy-tales
I honestly did not know fairy tales were this dark until I read this book! All the fairy tales were a little disturbing because they don't have the classic fairytale "happily-ever-after"
I had never even heard of half these fairytales.. probably because a lot of them are different countries versions.
Juniper Tree and Bluebeard were probably the creepiest out of the book.
I guess now, looking back, the story of Hansel and Gretel was pretty scary.. but they also defeated the witch, so it softened the
A fantastic collection, both as entertainment and as an introduction to the world of academic folklore studies.
Criticism from; Tatar, Warner, Zipes, Darnton, Propp and Aarne/Thompson; on contributions from; the Grimms, Perrault, Straparola, Basile, Anderson, Wilde, Dahl, Calvino, Carter, and Atwood. The gang is all here! A veritable 'who's who' of folklore and its study.
The criticism offers a broad range and takes into account modern and postmodern ideas of perspective, historical context,
Meredith Links
I read this for my children's literature class. I loved reading the fairy tales, but the introductions and the articles were really boring and I didn't agree with a lot of what the articles said, specifically about Disney.
This is an excellent collection of fairy tales and I love the way that its organized. Instead of a single story--some that you are familiar with and some that you are not--the Norton edition grouped a number of stories under different categories so for Beauty and the Beast there were several variants, some very old, some modern, some that were sparse in style and others that were eloquent and intricate. For the fairy tale/folklore buff this collection is quite useful. Some of the lit crit essays ...more
Samantha Rodriguez
I MOST DEFINITELY enjoyed reading this book. I liked it because everyone knows about the disney version of fairy tales, but not many know about the original version. Disney versions always have a happy ending. Many of the fairy tales in this book didn't always have a happy ending. It was interesting to find out how Disney completely recreated these fairy tales that originally have profanity, violence, and graphic scenes. This was my mom's book for college, so it's not really appropriate for my a ...more
I love fairy tales and I love knowing about different versions of the same tale. There were some that I've never heard of and the ones in each collection I wouldn't have put together but I think it just makes you think more about how the pattern is the same but the thread is different of a story.
Maria McLaughlin
A wonderfully compiled collection with interesting essays and multiple tellings of the same or connected stories. If you like fairy tales and want to find out more about the history of your favorites stories or authors you should definitely read this book.
I like everything about this book but the Andersen bashing - that bores me to tears because it really is such a crock
It was a good, new look at some of the fairy tales I was told growing up. The way the stories were arranged was well-done as stories of the same type from different cultures were grouped together giving another prespective. Though I think I really enjoyed the essay at the end as they were even more insightful and very worth, at the very least, a skimming through.
Maria Tatar offers a great selection of well-known fairy tales as well as some versions that aren't nearly as popular. The modern stories are especially interesting to contrast with the older ones, and Tatar's commentary and background on each tale type is very helpful for scholarly study of the tales.
A very nice compilation of fairy tales. The introductions at the beginnings of each tale-type section were informative, and the criticisms at the end were interesting (if occasionally annoying in how much they read into fairy tales). It's not the most comprehensive book of fairy tales, but what it does have is diverse and well-oriented by introduction and criticism.
Giovanni Ponciano
I took a course on Fairy Tale Literature in college and this was a required book. Its an interesting read and contains many useful and insightful articles on the varying undertones and themes of many classic and beloved tales. Its useful and interesting if you have an interest in fairy tales but if not, you probably won't enjoy it.
iele paloumpis
shows how fairy tales have been passed down, watered down, reinvented. so interesting to learn about how and why these stories have transformed (originating as racy stories of sex and violence shared among members of the peasant class to then be co-opted by the church and wealthy as didactic texts for small children).
Naomi Begg
Not easy reading! Its basically half really creepy fairy tales and half essays about them. Would only recommend if you like studying English, unless you were going to skip the introductions and just read the fairy tales. Although even then, it tends to be several versions of the same story and can get tedious.
This book is one of my best and it's because it lists all the old different versions of fairy tales. As I studied children's literature, I realized that the Disney version of ll the fairy tales is far from the real one.
I do recommend this book for any of you who want to know more about the real fairy tales.
Squeaky Skull
This was one of many books that were assigned texts for other peoples classes, but that somehow ended up in my book bag. I sure hope someone didn't have to go without their book this semester - it was very interesting, full of different versions of classic fairy tales as well as an overview of critical analysis
This was such an interesting book no kidding! Never grew up knowing many classic fairytales but only through the Disney's characters because my parents are Hmong and so it was never shared. Although when I read it, the book reminded me very much of my own culture stories as well. Really neat! Two thumbs up!
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Fun and insightful 1 4 Oct 21, 2008 09:45AM  
  • The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales
  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  • Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale
  • The Annotated Brothers Grimm (Annotated Books)
  • The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen
  • The Interpretation of Fairy Tales
  • Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
  • The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales
  • The Yellow Fairy Book
  • Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales
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
More about Maria Tatar...
The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood Off with their heads!: fairy tales and the culture of childhood Grimm's Grimmest

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