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Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
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Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm

Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm - Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Lucy Crane, Walter Crane

Coursera Fantasy and Science Fiction week 1

 

We all "know" these tales, right? Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, and so on.

 

Only, we really don't. Because the originals are not so much the Disney version. 

 

But then, what's original? The Brothers Grimm collected traditional German folk tales, and they published several different volumes—but their stories differ, even between volumes. This volume was translated by Lucy Crane.

 

These stories do have many similarities. There are lots of children, lots of evil stepmothers, lots of kings and princes and princesses and castles and woods. But there are also people being stuck into casks and thrown down hills, and burned at the stake, and other not-so-Disney things going on.

 

This volume is a pretty quick read—the writing is very much at an elementary school reading level. I personally would let my kids read this (if they wanted to, but that's another story). Sure they are a touch violent, but that's how kids play. The story morals are still there, and very obvious. I am glad I read this, simply because the stories are so familiar and part of American culture (even though they are German!). I even recognized some I didn't know I knew. Others were brand new to me, but not many!

 

Why is this in a fantasy and science fiction course? It's very much a root of fantasy. There is magic, and people transforming into animals and animals into people. Tricksters and evildoers.