Monthly Archives: October 2013

Grimm Tales for Young and Old by Philip Pullman

The overwhelming reaction from the book club members was that they were disappointed that the familiar tales had somehow lost their magic/colour in the hands of a master storyteller. The stories all had a sameness to them, which made them difficult to tell apart, or be interested in. The tales felt more like folktales, which suffered from being taken out of the oral tradition.

Comparing the first line of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ between this version, and an edition of 1949, showed a lyricism in the ordering of the words, which arguably mimicked the cadences of how people tell stories, that is entirely missing from the retelling. That the lyricism can be retained even without sacrificing the uninflected language that appears to be one of the most obvious stylistic choices of the book is shown in one of the best stories in the collection – ‘The Juniper Tree’. It uses the elements that best mimic oral storytelling such as the repetition and the rhymes.

Continue reading Grimm Tales for Young and Old by Philip Pullman

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