14 Nov 2014


 A mother threatening to eat her own children because there is nothing else to eat? Rapunzel impregnated by her prince? The evil queen, Snow White's biological mother and not her stepmother, plotting to kill her daughter? Cinderella's stepsisters slicing off parts of their own feet in order to fit into the glass slipper? 

First published in 1812 with seven further editions, each of them more child friendly and with the addition of Christian references, to follow. This, the first edition of the Brothers Grimm, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm as translated into English for the first time,  reveals an unsanitised version of the stories that have been told at bedtime for more than 200 years.

What thinks you? Too scary for bedtime as the poll in this article suggests or as Frank Zipes, author of this latest edition, says in this article is it time for parents and publishers to stop dumbing down the tales for children? 


StarTraci said...

I had heard about Cinderella's stepsisters but not the others. Wow! The art of storytelling to children has truly changed. I must admit a little curiosity to read.

On another note, I've been away a bit and am just now seeing your new banner. It's lovely!

Kelly said...

Well I knew the originals were pretty gory and graphic, but I've not read them myself. I think they were often told as a way to make children behave. (Don't wander off in this woods or this might happen to you!)

I do think some tales are too sanitized and perfect in this day and age. Kids need to learn that the real world is not perfect, and they will be faced with troubles and disappointments. I've never believed in the "everyone deserves a trophy for trying" theory at the sports event....but then that's a whole other topic.

themethatisme said...

I'm not sure it is another topic Kelly. It is the same story about how we teach children. In 17th/18th century Germany and elsewhere we did not have the delights of t'internet or 24 hours rolling news coverage delivering the gory realities of the world directly into our consciousness, so the fantasised monsters of good/evil were invaluable instruction in morality. Our fantasised monsters now cannot compete with that which is in our news and reduce morality tales to simple entertainment rather than instructional models. I won't go into a whole diatribe about 'Twilight' here (she'll go nuts!) but I don't want my vampires to be non-blood drinking politically correct, vapid non-entities. I did read the original tales some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Kelly said...

While we're on the topic of the internet and 24-hr news coverage, don't you think that this (along with what kids see in film and on cable) has desensitized them to the point they're not as affected by the real-life horrors as older folks might be? For that matter, perhaps we're ALL desensitized to a certain point. It's too easy to say "that doesn't affect me directly" when seeing horrific reports from around the world.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I've always thought the original Grimm tales were more adult in nature.

Suko said...

Interesting post and discussion, Tracy. Many of the original fairy tales are cautionary tales. Parents should be available to read and discuss them with their children, if nightmares are a concern.

If I've neglected to compliment your new header, let me do so now. It is perfect!

Melliane said...

Oh I like books like that, I have one at home ans I used to love reading it again and again.

Brian Joseph said...

I will not weigh in on which version that children should be exposed to I am just not qualified to do so :)

I am very glad that the original version has finally been translated into English.

Brandi Kosiner said...

wow sounds super creepy