This book is unique to the libraries being explored by the NCCB and is an important work as it provides an example of the ‘rehabilitation’ of the Grimms’ work. The Preface sets out the intention of the collection as not only collecting the best tales from various nations and languages, but also in ‘such a form as might be confidently admitted by every father into his household library’. This collection distinguishes itself from others by outlining the different nature of the Grimm tales included within: ‘too many of them, if not entirely frivolous, are often vulgar in language, and gross in details, thus rendering them unfit for home purposes and the education of children, by inculcating kindness and goodness in a manner pleasing to the young mind’, noting ‘everything of such a character has been sedulously excluded’. However, the volume also marks the progressiveness of the era in terms of innovative printing techniques, ‘illustrated by a new process of Chromoxylography’, and the book notes the special skill of renowned printer and engraver, Edmund Evans, who printed and engraved some of the illustrations in colour. The volume includes many popular fairy tales, with little deviation from other volumes of Grimms’ work for children, including ‘The Industrious Goblins’, better known as ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’, and ‘The Witch of the Wood’, better known as ‘Hansel and Gretel’, both of which have full colour illustrations. Despite the assertion in the Preface that all frivolity and ‘gross details’ were excluded from the volume, the text still bears some suggestions of material that, from a contemporary perspective, does not appear entirely suitable for a child audience. For example, ‘Faithful John’ contains a scene where the King chooses to sacrifice the lives of his twin sons to bring his faithful servant back to life: ‘…with his own hand, struck off the heads of his twin boys at one sweep; then he smeared the stone Statue all over with their blood’ (10) and is accompanied by a large black-and-white illustration of Faithful John reattaching the child’s head. ‘Old Barbel, the Fisherman’ tells the story of a fisherman who disobeys the Water Sprite and the King of the Pikes and is eventually turned into a fish, before being tortured with his own fishing weapons, and its relatively dark content is enlarged in numerous illustrations, in colour and black-and-white. One colour illustration shows Barbel being attacked by harpoons and caught in nets by fearsome sea creatures.
Jacob Grimm. Coloured illustrations designed by ‘Phizz’ (Hablot Knight Browne)
Place of Publication:
Date of Publication:
, 337,  p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm. (4to)
Illustrator, Edition of Interest, Folklore, Age of Reader, Genre, Fairy Tales, Goblins
General Catalogue (Children’s Books) - NLI