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A rare discovery in the world of fairy tales—now for the first time in English
Move over, Cinderella: Make way for the Turnip Princess! And for the “Cinderfellas” in these stories, which turn our understanding of gender in fairy tales on its head.
With this volume, the holy trinity of fairy tales—the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen—becomes a quartet. In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the forests, lowlands, and mountains of northern Bavaria to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth's work was lost—until a few years ago, when thirty boxes of manuscripts were uncovered in a German municipal archive. Now, for the first time, Schönwerth's lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, these more than seventy stories bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) had a successful career in law and the Bavarian royal court before devoting himself full-time to cataloging the customs and folktales of his homeland.
Erika Eichenseer (editor) is the director of the Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society. She lives in Germany.
Maria Tatar (translator and introducer) is the John L. Loeb Professor of Folklore and Mythology and Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Engelbert Süss (illustrations) is a sculptor, glass-artist, and illustrator. He created the bronze statue King of Dwarfs for the Schönwerth Fairytale Path in Sinzing, Bavaria.
Read an Excerpt
"Prince Dung Beetle"
There was once a poor girl named Barbara, whose mother was ill. she had to run over to the doctor and druggist for help. On the way, she jumped across a paving stone and slipped, almost flattening a dung beetle. When she realized that she had sprained her ankle, she felt terrible and cried out: “Now who is going to bring back the doctor? My mother is going to die!”
The beetle muttered: “Climb up on my back.” Startled by the strange voice, the girl began to sob uncontrollably. The beetle slid right under her, spread its wings, and lifted her up in the air, carrying her to the doctor and druggist in a flash and then back home to her mother.
“You must be sure to feed your little horse,” the mother said to her daughter while they were eating bread and sipping water.
“Yes, of course, but my little horse seems to have wandered away,” Barbara said. She searched every corner of the house and looked out all the windows. Suddenly one of the king’s horsemen appeared on the horizon, riding toward them.
“Oh, that must be the Blue Prince,” the mother called out, as if he were an old friend. The door flew open, and the prince marched right in, looking radiantly young and handsome. He greeted the mother warmly, and then he looked at the young woman, took her by the hand, and said: “You lifted the curse on me, and I want to thank you by giving you everything i own.” Barbara did not know what todo, and she looked first at the prince, then at her mother. she was afraid of the stranger. But he explained what had happened to him: “For many years, more years than there are trees in the woods, I have been living as a beetle, crawling around in dust and refuse, beaten down, crushed, tortured, and in pain, all because I did the same things to animals when I was a boy. My punishment was to turn into a beast and to suffer as they do. You took pity on me, miserable beetle that I was, and that’s how you lifted the curse. I want to ask your mother for the hand of the angel who saved me!”
The girl turned pale, and both mother and daughter were deeply moved.
The prince threw open the shutters and blew on his horn. The mountains wafted the melody over the forests, and everything there awakened and came alive. Barbara and her mother began to realize that the many people who had suddenly appeared with horses and carts were the prince’s subjects, and they, too, had been rescued by the love of a simple young woman. The mother was soon healed, and her beautiful, rosy-cheeked daughter joyfully accepted the prince’s proposal.
At the wedding, the fleas played the fiddle, the birds whistled tunes, and all creatures with feet, large and small, danced and leaped through the air.
What People are Saying About This
“Schönwerth’s tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault.” —The New Yorker
“[This] new collection of German folk stories . . . challenges preconceptions about many of the most commonly known fairytales. . . . Many of the stories centre around surprisingly emancipated female characters.” —The Guardian
“Schönwerth’s legacy counts as the most significant collection in the German-speaking world in the nineteenth century.” —Daniel Drascek, University of Regensburg
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Magic of Franz's tales retain the taste of the 19th century tales with a touch of humor and just a dash of horror. Review I grew up cutting my teeth on all the best that the Grimm Brothers had to offer. The tales from the Black Forest of Germany and Europe were based on folk legend and tales dating back into the middle ages and older. I loved the stories of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and oh so many others. Disney took these tales and brightened them even more into “Happily Ever After” stories. What more could any child ever ask for growing up? It wasn’t until my adult years when I acquired the complete works of the Brothers Grimm that I discovered just how dark their version of the old world folk tales truly were. But taking these most ancient of oral folk legends and setting them down on paper so that they would not disappear with time was not limited to the Brothers Grimm. Back in the mid-1800s, Franz Xavier Von Schonwerth determined that he didn’t want the folk legends of his native Bavaria to disappear with time and spent a great deal of time collecting stories from local sourceand binding them into a collection. Some of those stories have come down through time, but others just disappeared and no one knew what became of his work until a few years ago when they were discovered in the attic of a municipal building in the Bavarian Alps. With the translation and release of this new collection, we have been given a glimpse into fairytales of the region and time that have not been adulterated by Hollywood or Disney. They are refreshing and straight forward, with no preambling "Once Upon A Time" to give us hope of "Everafter". He starts right in as an old grandmother or grandfather would in the oral tradition of "There was a boy", or a fox or whatever. In many ways they remind me of the folk tales that Joe Hayes collected and told of Northern New Mexico, and that dated back to the 1600’s in their origins. The basis of those same folk tales most likely having come over with the Conquistadors in the 1600’s from Spain. Like the nursery rhymes of old, where the farmer's wife cuts off mice's tales with butcher knives, Franz doesn't soften and frill things up and make things pretty and innocent. Life is as life is; hard and harsh, but there are lessons to be learned. We are not talking blood and guts and gore, but life wasn't polished and programed for evening TV viewing until within the last sixty years or so. The New Yorker wrote an interesting article on Franz and his work. The Turnip Princess is a read that is a delight for story time with older kids, but more important, it is a fabulous find for folk literature. It is not just Franz’s ability to retain the story for posterity’s sake alone, but also his obvious joy in bringing these tales to life. With the turn of a phrase and careful attention to his storytelling skills, he makes them dance with humor and sometimes with a touch of terror. Hidden within each of the short stories is a basic moral lesson to be learned. For most folk tales were in fact moral sermons. The collection is divided into five different catagories that include: · Tales of Magic · Tales of Enchanted Animals · Other Worldly Creatures · Legends · Tall Tales · Tales About Nature The selection of stories includes titles that capture the imagination. · The Flying Trunk · Twelve Tortoises · Seven With One Blow · The Toad Bride · The Prince Dung Beetle I have added The Turnip Princess to my children’s library, as well as consider it a wonderful literary addition to my world literature collection. The collection is going on the shelf with Aesop’s Fables, the Brother’s Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and Joe Hayes. The Turnip Princess is scheduled for release February 24, 2015. I give this book a definite FIVE STAR rating for children’s literature, world folk literature, and just a great fun read. Net Galley provided a copy of The Turnip Princess to Shade Tree Book Reviews for the purpose of reading and reviewing. About the Author (from Wikepedia) Schönwerth was born in Amberg in the Upper Palatinate, the first of five children of the royal characters professor Joseph Schönwerth.From 1821 he attended the local grammar school . From 1832 he studied Cameralism in Munich, 1834 jurisprudence at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich . After first working years as a legal intern in 1840 he received a permanent position as Ratsakzessist in the Government of Upper Bavaria . From 1845 on, he was private secretary in the service of the Crown Prince Maximilian and was after his accession to the throne in 1848 his cabinet chief. In 1851 he was Executive Council. In 1852 he moved to the Bavarian Ministry of Finance as Ministerial and was raised in 1859 in the personal nobility. Schönwerth explored 1852-1886 the life of the Upper Palatinate population and recorded his observations. Between 1857 and 1859 he published his three-volume work entitled: From the Upper Palatinate - customs and legends. But published it is only a small part of his extensive research. Grave of Franz Xaver Schönwerth on his 125th death anniversary During his visits in the Upper Palatinate recorded Schönwerth say , fairy tales , anecdotes , kids games , nursery rhymes and - songs and proverbs on. He watched the life in the house and yard, described the rural life, thecustoms and costumes. He left us on the basis of his notes a living image of the life of the Upper Palatinate population of the 19th century. Jacob Grimm (1785-1863) wrote of him: ". Nowhere in the whole of Germany is prudent, fuller and has been obtained so quiet sense" [ 1] In 1886 Schönwerth died in Munich. His final resting place he found in the Old North Cemetery .
This is the first book I've ever returned for a refund. I grew up listening to fairy tales from Grimm and myths from Norse/Greek/Roman legends, so when I heard that there was a new collection of fairy tales, I imagined new worlds to discover and age old morals that I could revisit. To be fair, I read that Schonwerth recorded the tales without any literary embellishment. There's very little dialogue from the characters and it reads like an academic researcher summarizing qualitative data. Very dry and removed from action. If that's what this collection is, then publish them in an academic journal, but do NOT pass them off as stories. Stories have beginnings, middles, and ends. They have characters and plot. Fairy tales, in particular, might have a theme or a moral that readers learn along with the characters. Overall, I was very disappointed in this book and mostly in the translation. A few times I read colloquial English phrases, which no one from the 19th century would have used. The Commentator section at the end was not helpful.
Great mix of tales, some familiar, some completely different from the ones we know. Reminds me of Kafka at times--you are in an intellectual puzzle with no way out.
The quality of the tales vary. The best ones are about mermaids who are shown as being sinister.