The Classic Fairy Tales

by Iona Opie

Other authorsPeter Opie (Author)
Hardcover, 1992




Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.


Presents the texts of twenty-four well-known fairy tales as they were first printed in English and summarizes the history of each title, especially from the textual point of view.

User reviews

LibraryThing member antiquary
A collection of well-known tales with historical/critical introductions tracing variants from different times and places. Most stories are generally known from European (English, French, German) traditions though they may have other connections. Stories include well-known ones like Tom Thumb, Jack
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the Giant-killer, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Ridinghood, , Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin,
Goldilocks, and the Princess and the Pea, and others less known (at least to me) such as The Yellow Dwarf, Diamonds and Toads, The Three Heads in the Well, and The Swineherd .Though these stories are often told to children, this edition is more aimed at adult readers interested in the background of the tales. The special point of this book is that its version of the tales are the first known versions in English -- early translations of Perrault and the like. As the Opies point out, folklorists often focus on trying to find the most "authentic" folk versions, but in fact the versions which become beloved and influential are "literary" versions.
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LibraryThing member BenjaminRead
A seminal text. One of the most important (and oft-returned to) texts on my reference shelves.
LibraryThing member skullduggery
Presents twenty-four of the best-known fairy tales in their original written form, with an introduction to each tale tracing the development of each story and noting points of interest. (For example, in a 17th century version of 'Sleeping Beauty', the prince actually raped the princess in her
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sleep.) Numerous b&w, and 40 colour illustrations, with artists including Thomas Bewick, Walter Crane, George Cruikshank, Gustave Dore, Richard Doyle, Kate Greenaway, John Hassall, Kay Nielsen, Arthur Rackham, W. Heath Robinson and Rex Whistler. The stories include: The History of Tom Thumb; Jack the Giant Killer - The History of Jack and the Giants; The Yellow Dwarf; The Sleeping Beauty of the Wood; Little Red Riding-Hood; Diamonds and Toads - The Fairy; Bluebeard; The Master Cat or Puss in Boots; Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper; Hop o My Thumb - Little Poucet; Beauty and the Beast; The Tale of the Three Wishes; The Three Heads in the Well - The King of Colchester's Daughter; Jack and the Beanstalk; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Snow-drop; The Frog Prince; The Twelve Dancing Princesses; Rumpelstiltskin; Goldilocks and the Three Bears - The Story of the Three Bears; The Tinder Box; The Princess on the Pea - The Princess and the Peas; Thumbelina - Tommelise; The Swineherd; and Hansel and Gretel.
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LibraryThing member mykl-s
I appreciate the scholarship Opie employs to present these stories as they were collected long before all the modern variations. They were enjoyable even though not the genera I usually read.



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