Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm (Dover Children's Classics)

by Brothers Grimm

Paperback, 1963

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

Dover Publications (1963), Paperback, 304 pages

Description

The primal beating heart at the center of much of the Western literary canon can be found in the folk stories, myths, and fairy tales collected by the amateur folklorists Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Surprisingly graphic in comparison to their sanitized twentieth-century retellings, these intense tales are not for the faint at heart. A must-read for any fan of folklore.

Physical description

304 p.; 8.32 inches

ISBN

0486210804 / 9780486210803

Barcode

3785

User reviews

LibraryThing member TiffanyAK
I actually read the original publication of this translation, from the 1800's, online, but this does seem to be a virtually exact reprint of the original. The illustrations are absolutely brilliant in the way in which they compliment the stories, and the translations are true to the original spirit of the tales. These aren't the Disney stories. Like all works in translation, the translator has a lot of power and responsibility for balancing the original language and spirit of a work with making a readable translation. Lucy Crane handled that job quite well here. If you can't read the original German, but do want to read the tales as they were intended to be, then this translation may just be the best option you have. But, be warned, what you've heard about the darkness of the originals is very true, and these stories are not for young children.… (more)
LibraryThing member Britt84
I'm a great fan of fairy tales, so I can't say anything else but that I loved this collection. The Grimm brothers are of course masters of the genre; the nice illustrations in this editions complement the stories very well.
One thing that is somewhat weird is that some tales are translated slightly differently.… (more)
LibraryThing member Sylak
This is no less than a treasury of European folk tales collected by the Grimm brothers during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and preserving for all time such classics as: Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White and the seven dwarfs and Cinderella - to name but the most commercially known of the lot. However, it is remarkable once you start to read the remaining forty four tales, just how many seem to be ingrained into our culture that throughout our childhoods we must surely have been exposed to almost every one of them at least once.
A word of warning I feel is needed; one should not look too deeply for hidden meanings or morals in every one of them; that, would surely lead to madness or worse - some form of misplaced snobbery suited to pseudo-scholars with nothing better to do with their lives but to philosophise over some message which quite frankly I do not believe was ever present. Instead I'd choose to appreciate them for what they are, which to my mind is beautifully naïve and whimsical stories such as the likes you sometimes chance upon hearing children tell one another, unpretentious and without shame. For that they are truly magical and draw you into a familiar child like universe which you'd thought lost to you long ago perhaps. They can stir up memories and in some cases open the floodgate which release the imagination and free the mind from the many constraints that a rational adult state sometimes puts you in. All you have to do is let yourself be absorbed by the book.
Sometimes when a computer begins to lag or stop working you need to perform a re-boot. This book was like a re-boot for my imagination.
The copy I have reviewed here was illustrated by Mervyn Peake (of 'Gormenghast' fame), and his pen and ink sketches work very well indeed to enhance the stories. There is also a fairly lengthy introduction by Russell Hoban (of 'Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas') which was interesting to read also.
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LibraryThing member marcoguarda
I fell in love with this story. I think it's one of the few in the collection where the character feels real, with all her down-to-earth quirks and desires and her own practical reasoning and a very imaginative mind she uses to successfully solve her own problems. She feels real and I was able to identify and to root for her.

I didn't care if Clever Grethel was lying both to her master and to his guest—they are, in fact, the "victims" of the story, they are the ones who have been defrauded of the two fowls —but all her thinking and the creative ways she answers her own questioning is just amazing.

Her personal assessments regarding real problems as hunger and / or thirst is an excellent example of first-class reasoning (it only works for her, that's true, but isn't that what our brain is made for, primarily—to help us survive?)

Clever Grethel with her wit, her volcanic imagination and the way her eyes see the cooking fowls is both refreshing, hilarious and entertaining—her idea of telling the guest that her master wants to cut off his ears and eat them is pure, bloodcurdling, evil genius and goes a long way in showing Grethel's deep knowledge of human nature and its primeval fears. Not to forget it's Grethel who accomplishes about 95% of all the tasks in the story, from catching the fowls, to plucking them, to actually cooking them as only a masterful chef can do (my mouth's still watering at the thought of the melting butter on the browning fowls)—so, why shouldn't she eat them as well? In fact, that's exactly what she does.

Clever Grethel is a worth cousin from of old of Charles Dodgson's Alice and a clear example of how the "reversed logic" device applies to a story, a device we're going to find recursively in the latter (more on this later on.)

Way to go, Clever Grethel !!!
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LibraryThing member The_Hibernator
This is a short, illustrated collection of Grimm’s folktales. All of the most famous of Grimm’s tales are in there, without too many of the redundant same-story-but-slightly-different tales that you’ll inevitably come across in a longer collection. The illustrations are enjoyable. The translation has a few small errors (apparently), but overall I think it’s a good place to start with the Grimm brothers.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jami_Leigh
He changed versions to this from the other after I was already 25% done with the very, very long other version. Fine by me! By that point, I'd read a lot of these, and was able to skim the ones I'd already read, and read most of this version in one night.
Compared to the other version, this one was far less painful to read. An essay will go here when I'm done with writing it. ;)… (more)
LibraryThing member gbsallery
These tales are similar in structure and tone to Aesop's fables, but are emphatically lacking in an explicit moral. If they seek to instil a lesson in the reader, it is this: the world is cruel, fate is capricious and causality is incomprehensible. These themes are repeated time and again, illustrated by abrupt death, the sadism of step-mothers in general and the obscure chains of reasoning which hold the plots together. Indeed, many of the stories are exercises in non-sequitur; it is as if the authors want to train the reader not to seek reasons for things, simply to compliantly accept whatever fate throws their way.

The simplicity of the language also reinforces this impression that questions are not welcome - everything is explained as if to a young child, with magical transformations and wanton cruelty presented in a matter-of-fact voice which serves to suggest the normal and unexceptional nature of events. Inconsistencies are glossed over, and bald assertions abound - these are not philosophical works, yet they do suggest a philosophy of fatalism.

Household Tales, then, is a compendium of folk tales put together with the apparent intention of teaching children not to question, not to seek answers and to meekly accept whatever happens to them. Through modern eyes, this comes across a being almost a toolkit for extinguishing the spark of individuality - and yet, at the core of the stories (particularly the more grotesque and macabre offerings) there is a spark of the magical. They may not have been written with a view to encouraging curiosity, self-reliance or trust, but the seeds they plant have flowered into a rich tree of fantastical literature. This alone assures their place in the history of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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LibraryThing member srearley
I'm not going to give this a star rating because...I just can't. I'll be honest: I did not end up reading this cover to cover. It was too painful. Dipping in and reading one or two at a time would be one thing, reading them for research to set the stage for retellings...I could handle that, but reading straight through proved to be impossible for me.

I think part of it was knowing that there was so much symbolism involved that I *couldn't* just enjoy the stories. Everything stands for something else (and half the time I totally miss that the story was really about something else...) and even though I enjoy fantasy, the fantastical elements were so bizarre that I just kept going "WHAT???" ( A mouse, a bird and a SAUSAGE live together in one of the stories.)

So many of them are very similar, as well, so it was hard to keep straight. I'll admit that several made me laugh (especially the one where Hans kept trading DOWN, a hunk for gold --> horse --> cow --> goat --> etc, until he was left with nothing, and was quite happy with himself).

People complain about how the Disney-fication of fairy tales and I don't think that what they did is any different even than what the Grimm Brothers or Perraulat or Andersen did for fairy tales -- they took existing stories that have been around for ages and updated them for a modern audience. I, for one, am fine with the Disney versions, or even the recent crop of retellings and reimaginings that are all the rage these days.
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LibraryThing member stuart10er
Glad I read it. Stories are even odder than I was expecting. Not something that I would care to read on my own.
LibraryThing member aoibhealfae

I am one of those people who kept buying classics all over and over because its cheap. But Grimms are some of the books that are hard to find in original non-children-appropriated form, for a good reason actually. I do see people still think folklore are for children. Weirdly enough, Household Stories is one of those things that you should avoid giving younger children to read.

Here's the reality of what people see in children fiction, they see the sanitized version of it. Most of this book is very adult in nature which can be conveniently placed in Young Adult genre of the day. Death, violence, sex, cannibalism, pedophilia, incest, infanticide... all are inherently in these stories and these are not the full volumes of the stories that the Grimms have collected,

These stories aren't meant for children, they are really meant for people to scare children.

Fear is useful to create submissiveness which are still apparent in the old days. The history that gave birth to these stories doesn't lie about how different the dark age was. If you are able to read in the original book that was untranslated, it could get even more gory. Fortunately I like dark literature and it does get interesting when you interpreted the story in certain light.

There are a lot of redemptive quality in the story -as in some twisted way- the stories does have morality in it. Loyal, noble, love, family, godliness. It a way that we could interpret it, it wasn't much difference with most religions themselves which support the local believe by telling stories like this. But, as usual, "history became legend and legend became myth" things. According to Grimms, the stories have story variation by region, which made the story in its core, as organic and mysterious as they would seem to be.

But if you are hoping to find a book for young children because it have Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and Snow White in it... please wait until they're older to know that these girls are actually barely in primary school when they have their family or someone trying to kill them. These stories are the even more darker version of ABC's "Once Upon A Time" and NBC's "Grimm", if you can't handle the show, don't give your kids these books. But even then, I don't think kids could understand it even.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Sopoforic
(I read this for Coursera's SF&F class, taught by Prof. Eric S. Rabkin.)

These were pretty interesting, in general. Some of the stories were dull, some were fun, some were odd, some were familiar, and some were new to me--quite a mixed bag. I'm glad I read them, though.

I enjoyed most stories like "Six Soldiers of Fortune" and "The Gallant Tailor", where the protagonist wins his fortune through cleverness and guile. It was fun, too, to read stories I was already familiar with, in these versions, such as the aforementioned "The Gallant Tailor", or "Aschenputtel", or "Little Red Cap".

We were to write an essay on this for the class, and I wrote about gender roles in the stories--in particular, that ambition is rewarded in men but punished in women.

In all, I think this was a great way to start a class on science fiction and fantasy, and well worth reading for anyone interested in fairy tales.
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LibraryThing member deckla
This is the best edition on Project Gutenberg, because it has the Crane illustrations. It may be pilfered from Dover, but it is in the public domain after all. I'm not quite sure how Dover does what it does.
LibraryThing member aoibhealfae

I am one of those people who kept buying classics all over and over because its cheap. But Grimms are some of the books that are hard to find in original non-children-appropriated form, for a good reason actually. I do see people still think folklore are for children. Weirdly enough, Household Stories is one of those things that you should avoid giving younger children to read.

Here's the reality of what people see in children fiction, they see the sanitized version of it. Most of this book is very adult in nature which can be conveniently placed in Young Adult genre of the day. Death, violence, sex, cannibalism, pedophilia, incest, infanticide... all are inherently in these stories and these are not the full volumes of the stories that the Grimms have collected,

These stories aren't meant for children, they are really meant for people to scare children.

Fear is useful to create submissiveness which are still apparent in the old days. The history that gave birth to these stories doesn't lie about how different the dark age was. If you are able to read in the original book that was untranslated, it could get even more gory. Fortunately I like dark literature and it does get interesting when you interpreted the story in certain light.

There are a lot of redemptive quality in the story -as in some twisted way- the stories does have morality in it. Loyal, noble, love, family, godliness. It a way that we could interpret it, it wasn't much difference with most religions themselves which support the local believe by telling stories like this. But, as usual, "history became legend and legend became myth" things. According to Grimms, the stories have story variation by region, which made the story in its core, as organic and mysterious as they would seem to be.

But if you are hoping to find a book for young children because it have Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and Snow White in it... please wait until they're older to know that these girls are actually barely in primary school when they have their family or someone trying to kill them. These stories are the even more darker version of ABC's "Once Upon A Time" and NBC's "Grimm", if you can't handle the show, don't give your kids these books. But even then, I don't think kids could understand it even.
… (more)
LibraryThing member TheDivineOomba
Ah yes - a book of fairytales, with pictures! Some stories are excellent, others, only indifferent. But, these are not Disney stories. The people in this book are sometimes bullies or thiefs or princesses or princesses. Highly recommended for any lover of fairy-tales.
LibraryThing member juliemarie27
I was ecstatic when I found this book in my late teens. The Grimm tales are familiar yet completely different from the watered down Disney versions I grew up with. Being a sucker for happy endings and medieval romance, I was shocked by the graphic horrors that awaited my beloved fantastic creatures. Even so, due to their nature the stories and morals have stuck with me into my twenties. I love this collection; the stories and the illustrations make this item a treasure!… (more)

Pages

304

Rating

(94 ratings; 3.8)
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