Monday, 23 June 2014

The Uses Of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim and Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

I've been reading this
 recently, which prompted me to get this
from the library. It wasn't available in the kids section, only the adult one. As you can see below there is the library version of a parental advisory sticker on the first page.
This edition is the complete tales, and its lovely - there are about thirty colour illustrations, like this one
And  loads of  black and white ones(all by Arthur Rackham).

However, the sheer amount of stories made me think that a "Best Of" edition might be a better idea. There is a reason Snow White and Rapunzel are still such popular stories and others are relatively unknown. So if I buy, and I probably will, it will be the nicest most beautifully illustration "Grimms' Greatest Hits" edition I can find. 

I will buy because firstly, it makes so much sense when Bettelheim explains what children learn from the undiluted Folk and Fairy Tales. Being oneself, using your head to figure things out, that in the world unpleasant things will happen at some time or other are all good things to know. And the earlier the better. 

Having said that, I read these stories to my eight year old, who loved them, but I just can't say if he would have been scared to hear them at five or six. My three year old could sit for about half of each one but their length was too much for him. I wouldn't hesitate to read them to him in a year though, if he cooperated. And secondly, I must admit there is a certain pleasure in reading about witches being burnt in ovens, wolves getting their stomachs cut open and so on. It just makes a nice change. And it was funny to see the horror and delight on my sons face when he looked at me to see if it was ok to read this. I think it definitely is.


  1. I really hope to get to this book soon! It's in my library bag right now.

  2. Hello Danzel! Check this out I just found it when I was researching the Taschen collection. (Which I'm pretty sure you mentioned)

    1. Cool! yes, this is one of the editions I have. It was a late birthday present to myself. I like reading Winterson's take.