Maria Tatar is well-respected in the academic field for her fairy tale studies and texts as well as one of the most published. She is a professor at Harvard University's Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures.
Tatar, Maria M. The Grimm Reader: The Classic Tales of the Brothers Grimm. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.
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"Forty of the most famous and celebrated stories from the Brothers Grimm translated and edited by a leading professor of folklore. Even after two hundred years, the tales collected by the Brothers Grimm remain among our most powerful stories. Their scenes of unsparing savagery and jaw-dropping beauty remind us that fairy tales, in all their simplicity, have the power to change us. With some of the most famous stories in world literature, including “Cinderella,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White,” as well as some less well known stories like “The Seven Ravens,” this definitive collection promises to entrance readers with the strange and wonderful world of the Brothers Grimm.
Maria Tatar’s engaging preface provides readers with the historical and cultural context to understand what these stories meant and their contemporary resonance. Fans of all ages will be drawn to this elegant and accessible collection of stories that have cast their magical spell over children and adults alike for generations."
Tatar, Maria M. The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007.
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From the publisher: "In her most ambitious annotated work to date, Maria Tatar celebrates the stories told by Denmark's "perfect wizard" and re-envisions Hans Christian Andersen as a writer who casts his spell on both children and adults. Andersen's most beloved tales, such as "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Little Mermaid," are now joined by "The Shadow" and "Story of a Mother," mature stories that reveal his literary range and depth. Tatar captures the tales' unrivaled dramatic and visual power, showing exactly how Andersen became one of the world's ten most translated authors, along with Shakespeare, Dickens, and Marx. Lushly illustrated with more than one hundred fifty rare images, many in full color, by artists such as Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen will captivate readers with annotations that explore the rich social and cultural dimensions of the nineteenth century and construct a compelling portrait of a writer whose stories still fascinate us today. 146 illustrations including color."
Tatar, Maria M. Secrets beyond the Door: The Story of Bluebeard and His Wives. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2006.
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From the publisher: "The tale of Bluebeard's Wife--the story of a young woman who discovers that her mysterious blue-bearded husband has murdered his former spouses--no longer squares with what most parents consider good bedtime reading for their children. But the story has remained alive for adults, allowing it to lead a rich subterranean existence in novels ranging from Jane Eyre to Lolita and in films as diverse as Hitchcock's Notorious and Jane Campion's The Piano. In this fascinating work, Maria Tatar analyzes the many forms the tale of Bluebeard's Wife has taken over time, particularly in Anglo-European popular culture. It documents the fortunes of Bluebeard, his wife, and their marriage in folklore, fiction, film, and opera, showing how others took the Bluebeard theme and revived it with their own signature twists. In some tales the wife is a deceiver; in others she is a clever investigator. Earlier ages denounced Bluebeard's wife for her "reckless curiosity" and for her "uncontrolled appetite"; our own times have turned her into something of a heroine, a woman who rescues herself--and often her marriage--through her detective work and psychological finesse. And as for Bluebeard? Once considered a one-dimensional brute, he has found renewed cultural energy both as a master criminal who kills in order to create a higher moral order and as an artist figure who must shield himself against intimacy to foster his creative powers. A brilliant account of how one classic fairy tale has been continually reincarnated, Secrets beyond the Door will appeal to both literary scholars and general readers."
Tatar, Maria M. The Annotated Brothers Grimm. New York: W. W. Norton, 2004.
Amazon.com: Buy the book inhardcover.
From the publisher: "The Annotated Brothers Grimm celebrates the richness and dramatic power of the legendary fables in the most spectacular and unusual Grimm volume in decades. Containing forty stories in new translations by Maria Tatar—including "Little Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," "Snow White," and "Rapunzel"—the book also features 150 illustrations, many of them in color, by legendary painters such as George Cruikshank and Arthur Rackham; hundreds of annotations that explore the historical origins, cultural complexities, and psychological effects of these tales; and a biographical essay on the lives of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Perhaps most noteworthy is Tatar's decision to include tales that were previously excised, including a few bawdy stories and others that were removed after the Grimms learned that parents were reading the book to their children—stories about cannibalism in times of famine and stories in which children die at the end. Enchanting and magical, The Annotated Brothers Grimm will cast its spell on children and adults alike for decades to come. 75 color, 75 black-and-white illustrations."
Tatar, Maria M. The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W. W. Norton, 2002.
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From the publisher: "The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales celebrates the best-loved stories of childhood through the vision of Maria Tatar, a leading expert in the field of folklore and children's literature. Challenging the notion that fairy tales can be read for their morals and used to make model citizens of little children, Tatar guides readers through the stories, exploring their historical origins, their cultural complexities, and their psychological effects. By providing children with powerful models for navigating reality, Tatar shows, these tales help children survive in a world ruled by adults. Tatar presents twenty-six classic stories—including "Beauty and the Beast," "Little Red Hiding Hood," "Jack and the Beanstalk," and "The Little Mermaid." She has personally retranslated the stories that did not appear originally in English and has also assembled over 300 often rare, mostly four-color photographs, paintings, and illustrations, creating a volume that will rank as one of the finest fairy tale collections in many decades. 350 four-color illustrations."
Tatar, Maria M., ed. The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.
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From the publisher: "The cultural resilience of fairy tales is incontestable. Surviving over the centuries and thriving in a variety of media, fairy tales continue to enrich our imaginations and shape our lives. This Norton Critical Edition of The Classic Fairy Tales examines the genre, its cultural implications--and its critical history. The editor has gathered fairy tales from around the world to reveal the range and play of these stories over time. The Classic Fairy Tales focuses on six different tale types: "Little Red Riding Hood,' "Beauty and the Beast," "Snow White," "Cinderella," "Bluebeard," and "Hansel and Gretel." It includes multicultural variants of these tales, along with sophisticated literary rescriptings. Each tale type is preceded by an introduction, and annotations are provided throughout. Also included in this collection of over forty stories are tales by Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde. "Criticism" collects twelve essays that interrogate different aspects of fairy tales by exploring their social origins, historical evolution, psychological dynamics, and engagement with issues of gender and national identity. Bruno Bettelheim, Robert Darnton, Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Karen E. Rowe, Marina Warner, Zohar Shavit, Jack Zipes, Donald Haase, Maria Tatar, Antti Aarne, and Vladimir Propp provide critical overviews. A Selected Bibliography is included."
Tatar, Maria M. The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales. Princeton: Princeton University, 1987.
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From the publisher: "Murder, mutilation, cannibalism, infanticide, and incest: the darker side of classic fairy tales figures as the subject matter for this intriguing study of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Nursery and Household Tales. This updated and expanded second edition includes a new preface and an appendix containing new translations of six tales, along with commentary by Maria Tatar. Throughout the book, Tatar skillfully employs the tools not only of a psychoanalyst but also of a folklorist, literary critic, and historian to examine the harsher aspects of these stories. She presents new interpretations of the powerful stories in this worldwide best-selling book. Few studies have been written in English on these tales, and none has probed their allegedly happy endings so thoroughly."
Tatar, Maria. Off With Their Heads!: Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987.
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From the publisher: "When fairy tales moved from workrooms, taverns, and the fireside into the nursery, they not only lost much of their irreverent, earthy humor but were also deprived of their contestatory stance to official culture. Children's literature, Maria Tatar maintains, has always been more intent on producing docile minds than playful bodies. From its inception, it has openly endorsed a productive discipline that condemns idleness and disobedience along with most forms of social resistance. In this book she explores how Perrault, the Grimms, and others reshaped fairy tales to produce conciliatory literary texts that dedicate themselves to the project of socializing the child. Tatar finds that when we read and interpret fairy tales today, we often fall into the trap of positioning children as the real villians of the tales. Authorities such as Bruno Bettelheim, for example, focus on "Hansel and Gretel" as a story about the "destructive desires," "uncontrolled cravings," and "ambivalent feelings" of the protagonists rather than as a story about adult hostility toward children. After examining how fairy tales were converted into children's literature, the author investigates the acculturation of heroines in such stories as "Cinderella" and "Beauty and the Beast" and concludes with meditations on violence, cannibalism, and conflicts between parents and children. Since the cultural stories we read to children in their "formative years" have a powerful influence on their lives, Tatar emphasizes the importance of interrogating and reinterpreting these bedtime tales."
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