cover image The Annotated Brothers Grimm: The Bicentennial Edition

The Annotated Brothers Grimm: The Bicentennial Edition

Edited and trans. from the German by Maria Tatar. Norton, $35 (552p) ISBN 978-0-393-08886-1

The 200th anniversary of the publication of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Children's Stories and Household Tales is the occasion for Tatar, a Harvard professor and leading fairytale scholar, to expand her annotated translation of selected tales (initially published in 2004). Adding only six new stories to the previous edition, readers won't find much new reading material here, but illustrations and expanded annotations enrich the text. Divided into "The Tales" (for children) and "Tales for Adults," there's fodder for burgeoning bookworms, nostalgic grown-ups, and serious academics. Beloved classics like "Rumpelstiltskin," "Hansel and Gretel," and "Rapunzel" occupy the first section, whereas lesser-known tales like the grisly "How Children Played Butcher with Each Other" and the anti-Semitic "The Jew in the Brambles" are appropriately sequestered in the second. But despite the separation, Tatar is consistent in her scholarly examination of each story%E2%80%94in illuminating introductions and annotations, she is equally comfortable calling up the German philosopher Walter Benjamin, imagining how audiences might respond to particular passages, and providing cross-references to other stories. This rich and valuable edition brilliantly showcases the brothers' storytelling acumen, and reinforces their tales as timeless for both children and for scholars. Illus. (Oct.)