"Tatar's main concern is with the enduring hold of the tales on children's imaginations. Why should they enjoy stories about other children sent out to die in a wood, or being victimized by cruel stepmothers, or given impossible tasks to perform, and (if female) forced to marry frogs or bears? . . . The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales- ...
"Tatar's main concern is with the enduring hold of the tales on children's imaginations. Why should they enjoy stories about other children sent out to die in a wood, or being victimized by cruel stepmothers, or given impossible tasks to perform, and (if female) forced to marry frogs or bears? . . . The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales--related in language that is sharp, lively, and free of jargon--is delightful evidence that Grimm scholarship can give pleasure to the general reader." --Janet Adam Smith, New York Review of Books "For scholars, students, and general readers, Tatar's book is a balanced, sensitive, and informative guide to the content and context of Grimms' fairy tales." --Merle Rubin, The Christian Science Monitor" . . . intelligently eclectic and refreshingly commonsensical, a thoughtful ramble through the dark childhood woods that haunt our adult dreams."--Carl Maves, San Francisco Chronicle
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Publishers Weekly, 1987-11-20 This erudite, cogent perusal of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm's Nursery and Household Tales is, for the most part, accessible to a lay audience. Tatar charts the evolution of the tales through manuscript form and the various editions, and offers what she maintains is the first complete English translation of the prefaces to the first and second editions. The Grimms abandoned a scholarly effort to salvage pure remnants of folk poetry, advances Tatar, and ``with each new edition, the tales veered more sharply away from the rough-hewn simplicity of their first versions to a sanitized and stylized literary form that proved attractive to both parents and children.'' She demonstrates how the Grimms purged the collection of references to sexuality and incestuous desire but intensified violence, particularly when it took the form of revenge. In opposition to child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, Tatar warns that some cautionary tales may instill fear, rather than confidence, in children; regarding ``Bluebeard,'' she faults Bettelheim for turning a tale depicting the most brutal kind of serial murders into a story about idle female curiosity and duplicity. Tatar (Spellbound: Studies on Mesmerism and Literature) chairs the German literature department at Harvard University. Illustrated. (December) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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