Forget the “Gritty” Reboots, The Original Grimm is Here (And Far More Terrifying)
Greetings, readers. First off, I’d like to apologize for neglecting the blog so much recently. Other priorities demanded my attention and I let things get away from me. Anyway, thanks for sticking with me and I’ll be redoubling my efforts to bring you reviews and other banned books news.
To start things off, I bring excellent news for fans of mythology, folktales, fairy tales, German folk culture, and generally scarring children for life. A new translation of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales will keep all of the uncensored gory details and the (more) disturbing stories that got left out of the Brother Grimm collection when it was refurbished for children and the then-modern, Christian sensibilities of their parents. So, if you ever wished bedtime stories were more like this, only with more dismemberment and mommy issues, you’re in luck.
I wanted to share this news for three reasons: 1) I am half a religion and mythology major (double majored with creative writing, so you know I make the big bucks), so the Brothers Grimm are my jam. If you want to nerd out with me about the implications of their work or the struggle between preserving folk culture and oral traditions and standardizing them, I’ll see you in the comments. 2) The Brothers Grimm’s mission was much more anthropologically and academically minded than the casual bedtime story reader may realize. It was also originally targeted at adults and included two other volumes beyond the fairy tale collection they’re known for. This plays into many of the things discussed on the blog before, including actual target audience v. perceived target audience, fluff media v. “real literature/non-fiction”, and how much to change things for child audiences. 3) The article over on Tor featured this great quote from translator Jack Zipes, which just needed to be shared on this blog:
“It is time for parents and publishers to stop dumbing down the Grimms’ tales for children… [The Grimms] believed that these tales emanated naturally from the people, and the tales can be enjoyed by both adults and children. If there is anything offensive, readers can decide what to read for themselves. We do not need puritanical censors to tell us what is good or bad for us” (qtd in New Translation of Grimms’ Fairy Tales Will Include the Original, Bloody, Creepy Stories).
For a while now, I’ve also been debating how best to tackle the Brothers Grimm as a banned book and had decided to make it an ongoing feature on the blog, reviewing one story at a time to really get into the individual issues with each one (and to touch on their various incarnations/reinterpretations). However, I think I shall hold off on that until I can get my hands on a copy of this bad boy. The religion major and myth TA in me is drooling right now.
Anyway, I’ll have a review up soon (mea maxima culpa). In the mean time, if you want your fix of less Disney-esque fairy tales, I have a poem about Little Red Riding Hood as the Spanish Inquisition in this anthology and my personal blog has a section devoted to folk/fairy tales.