Perhaps no fairy tale is as widely known as 'Beauty and the Beast' - and perhaps no fairy tale exists in as many variations. Nearly every culture tells the story in one fashion or another - such cultural phenomena as The Fault in Our Stars and Me Before You are recent examples - and it is impossible to find one version that laid the foundation for the rest. From Cupid and Psyche, India's Snake Bride to South Africa's 'Story of Five Heads', the partnering of beast and beauties has beguiled us for thousands of years.
In this fascinating volume preeminent fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar brings together tales from ancient times to the present and from a wide variety of cultures.
A rare discovery in the world of fairy tales - now for the first time in English.
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.
'Schönwerth's tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault' -The New Yorker
'Schönwerth's legacy counts as the most significant collection in the German-speaking world in the nineteenth century' - Daniel Drascek, University of Regensburg
Franz Xanver von Schönwerth (1810-1886) was born in Bavaria and had a successful career in law
and the Bavarian royal court before devoting himself to researching the customs of his homeland and preserving its fairy tales and folklore.
Maria Tatar chairs the program in folklore and mythology at Harvard, and has edited and translated many collections of fairy tales.
Eeika Eichenseer is a historian and preservationist working for the Bavarian government and the director of the
Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society.
Maria Tatar chairs the program in folklore and mythology at Harvard. She is the author of many acclaimed books on folklore and fairy tales, as well as the editor and translator of The Turnip Princess, The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition and The Grimm Reader. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.