review: fairy tales from the brothers grimm

by marjorieingall on December 2, 2012

I have a book review in today’s NYT. I wanted to dislike Philip Pullman’s Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm b/c I found the first couple of paragraphs of the foreword pretentious (it opens with a long quotation from James Merrill’s epic poem “The Changing Light at Sandover,” causing me to write “oh god” in the margin), and because I was irked at The Golden Compass for taking 80 pages to get good. I could not remain mad, though, because this is pretty much the perfect translation, so literate and thoughtful and funny. Still wish it were illustrated ($30 for a non-illustrated book?? GOOD FREAKING GOD, how can book publishing NOT be in trouble?) — but if you put it together with Taschen’s gorgeously published 2011 electric-purple-covered Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (of! not from!), with its breathtaking illustrations from the 1850s to today — hipster and stately, formal to cartoony, including some from Kay Nielsen, Wanda Gág, Arthur Rackham, and 19th century German illustrators  Otto Speckter and Viktor Paul Mohn — you’d have the perfect Grimm.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin Aronson December 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I loved your review — it got me thinking all kinds of things about fairy tales and what not. Thanks for the second recommendation here!

Even in Australia December 25, 2012 at 7:38 am

The purple Taschen one is the one I bought the kids for Chanukah! We had taken it out of the library and they loved it. But I now have the Pullman one on hold. I don’t understand the decision not to illustrate it. What better lends themselves to illustrations than fairy tales?!?

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