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The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales
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The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  1,333 Ratings  ·  62 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, 445 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

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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
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you're interested in fairy tales, and want to understand their true import as explicators of the state of ancient societies and their discontents, lessons, and mores -- then this is the edition you must have. Tatar's introductory essays are thoughtful and balanced, presenting Bettleheim's psychological analyses, more modern gender-based explanations, and her own thinking in good measure. The illustrations are gorgeous, the thinking profound, and the fairy tales themselves truly terrifying whe ...more
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Abbi Dion
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
This is a great book to have if you're obsessed with fairy tales (like me) and love hearing about how they started, and about the psychological effects they have on children.

This was a very interesting read. The pictures are nice too!
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved this book. This book was so cool because it had a bunch of different illustrations and I really liked the different annotated notes from Tatar. Sadly, we breezed through this book (she'd assign 6 fairy tales at a time) so I don't think I could've enjoyed the book quite as much as I would've liked, but otherwise, I absolutely adored the book and all it contained.

H. Anne Stoj
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faerytales
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
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2007 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
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
X-ray Iris
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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:)
Amy Lee
Jun 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!
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.
Angi  Myers
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
These are not like the stories I grew up with, and I would not read them to children, but they are fascinating.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
One of my goals for 2012 is to re-read the classics from my youth. I decided to start with fairy tales.
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Love the annotations.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristen McQuinn
A decent compilation of many classic fairy tales. It would be better if it contained a more diverse collection, such as from Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and Native American cultures.
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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
More about Maria Tatar