ISBN #: 978-0143107422
Page Count: 288
Copyright: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Classics
(Taken from back cover)
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 manu-scripts 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.
Accustomed to tidier versions of fairy tales, as told by Hollywood, The Turnip Princess collection is a tad heavier in its telling. The stories are collected from various sources within the Upper Palatinate region of Bavaria, which are detailed in the back of the book, and a commentary is included, as well, for each story. Translated from German, and broken down into 6 different parts, such as Tales of Magic and Romance, or Otherworldly Creatures, there are 70+ stories included.
I sadly admit, this was not a good fit for me. While I appreciate the storytelling culture lost in this instant gratification society that has no time for its elders stories, I found them dark and usually pointless. There are moral lessons within them, and its fair share of princes and princesses in disguise, as well as mythical creatures. The hardest part for me was the endings of most stories were abrupt, leaving me feeling as if the stories were not finished, or wondering if I just missed the point. I may be too "modern" to appreciate these stories, however, I did appreciate the ideas and people behind them, as referenced in the commentaries.
IF you are a fancier of the dark, twisted fairy tale world, I am confident you will enjoy the stories within The Turnip Princess. I will stick to the happily ever after versions with tidy endings.
*A physical copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.