In a world where pop culture favorites like Once Upon A Time and Wicked tell us the “real story” behind classic literary and fairy tale characters, and Disney is adapting its classic animated stories into feature films to then reimagine them again into new family friendly heartwarming tales, it might be hard to remember that the original stories on which these iconic fairy tale characters are based weren’t so friendly in the first place. In fact, the original Brothers Grimm stories featuring Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and The Frog Prince are actually incredibly scary, violent and super messed up.
Now, after hundreds of years of storytelling, translator and editor Jack Zipes has assembled The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, the first ever English translation of the first edition of the iconic collection. Zipes describes the first edition of stories as “curt, blunt, raw.” Zipes also mentions that the first edition is important because one can still feel the beginnings of the iconic text before revisions entered the picture, explaining, “If one studies the seven editions published by the Grimms, one can trace the continual editing of Wilhelm Grimm, who transformed the tales into aesthetically pleasing literary works. He also deleted many tales that appeared to be French stories, and he added Christian references, folk proverbs, ornate description, and moralistic comments.” Zipes, while speaking to The Guardian added, “It is time for parents and publishers to stop dumbing down the Grimms’ tales for children.”
The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm was illustrated by Andrea Dezsö whose art has been seen and recognized around the world. Watch the book trailer below for a glimpse at Dezsö’s gorgeous illustrations and a look inside the original versions of the Grimms Fairy Tails we all know today.
The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, translated and edited by Jack Zipes and illustrated by Andrea Dezso, is available for order from Princeton Press.