Thursday, 17 January 2013

Review: Grimm's Fairy Stories, Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm

Grimm's Fairy Stories

Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm

Kindle edition (public domain), originally published 1812

Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel: these stories, plus numerous less well-known ones, make up this compendium of fairytales, collated originally by the German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Like numerous new Kindle owners, I downloaded this for free to try out my ereader and to revisit a lingering fascination with these old fairytales, stripped of their Disney gloss and trendy YA makeovers.

The stories themselves are a bit hit and miss - short, with little extraneous detail, some are funny, most moralising, and a fair number are out and out strange. Benevolent kings, wicked stepmothers and greedy sons abound, creeping around in forests and coveting gold and silver, not to mention ignoring that ugly old woman in the cottage at their peril. On the other hand, young, beautiful women are there to be fallen in love with (often at first glance) and kidnapped 'rescued' - a far cry from their modern-day counterparts of Cinder and Scarlet and the raft of other fairytale-inspired novels that have emerged more recently.

But as storytelling goes, in its most simple, straightforward way, with a message and a purpose (even if that message does come via a talking, albeit beheaded, horse), this is a collection worth a read, if only to see the roots of a large chunk of literature, and to marvel at a time when getting a girl to marry you was as easy as carrying her off on a horse...

Overall rating: 6/10

Book source: Free Kindle download.

1 comment:

  1. This is something I'd never think to read but it would be a nice reminder of how these stories started as usually I only remember the Disney versions!


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