05 May 2015

Bawdy, racy fairy tales

In 2012, readers around the world were intrigued to learn that a researcher in northern Bavaria had discovered hundreds of never-published fairy- and folktales collected by the 19th-century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. Working just a few decades after the Brothers Grimm, Schönwerth considered scholars his natural audience, and as a result the tales he recorded are bawdier, racier and significantly more scatological than the collection the Grimms published under the title “Children’s and Household Tales.” Everyone knows that the Grimms’ fairy tales are much darker than the cleaned-up Disney versions, but with Schönwerth’s, the action gets even more down-to-earth.

Erika Eichenseer, who ferreted Schönwerth’s finds out of the Regensburg Archives, has been publishing single and collected tales in German over the past few years, but now at last there’s an English translation of more than 70 of them, published this week by Penguin Books as “The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.” Maria Tatar, chair of the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University and distinguished editor of such books as “The Annotated Brothers Grimm,” took on the tricky task of rendering 19th-century Bavarian folklore into modern English.
Salon has an interview with Maria Tatar.  I've requested the book from our library.


  1. i just happen to be reading grimm's - the barnes and noble edition, which is 'lite' in comparison to what i recall reading a few years back in another edition.


  2. Another book I want. However, I have a stack that will last the rest of my life.

  3. I pre-ordered this for my Kindle, so I have it, but haven't started it yet. Looking forward to it!


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