The Brothers Grimm were popular German academics, cultural researchers and authors who published several collections of European folktales. The first edition of the first two volumes were published in 1812 and 1814 respectively, with several editions being published in the following years, with stories being added, edited or entirely removed from one edition to the next. This edition by The Folio Society contains sixty of the Grimm Brothers’ most popular tales, including Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Red Riding Hood.
About this Folio Society Edition
This is a facsimile of the 1909 edition published by London, Constable & Co. Ltd. in England, limited to 750 numbered copies that were signed by Arthur Rackham. At the same time, a very similar American edition was published by Doubleday, Page & Company and limited to only 50 copies that were also signed by the artist. Interestingly, the 1909 editions were actually updated versions of ones published in 1900 and 1907 that were also illustrated by Arthur Rackham, who had this to say in the Prefatory Note of the newest edition (this note is not included in this fascimile edition by The Folio Society):
Some years ago a selection of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” with one hundred illustrations of mine in black and white was published – in 1900, by Messrs. Freemantle & Co., and afterwards by Messrs. Archibald Constable & Co., Ltd.
At intervals since then I have been at work on the original drawings, partially or entirely re-drawing some of them in colour, adding new ones in colour and in black and white, and generally overhauling them as a set, supplementing and omitting, with a view to the present edition.
Of the forty coloured illustrations, many are elaborations of the earlier black and white drawings or are founded on them. The frontispiece, and those facing pp. 34, 70, 94, 104, 116, 118, and 190 are entirely new, and several of the text illustrations also have not been published before. The remaining illustrations in the text have been reconsidered and worked on again to a greater or lesser degree.
Sources: Spirit of the Ages and Bauman Rare Books.
Because those earlier editions were lavishly produced and are now pretty old and hard to come by, fine copies now sell for thousands of pounds. Having a facsimile that’s affordable is therefore a great way to read the stories and examine the artwork at a much more affordable price.
Binding: Full cloth
Translator: Edgar Lucas
Illustrator: Arthur Rackham
Illustrations: 40 colour plates and numerous black and white
Size: 10” x 7 1/2”
It was set in Scotch Roman at The Folio Society and printed in Great Britain at Martins the Printers Ltd., Berwick-up-Tweed, on Caxton Wove paper and bound by Hunter and Foulis, Haddington, in full cloth.
For only 320 pages, the book is quite thick, though it’s surprisingly light and can be easily read for extended periods of time. The Caxton Wove paper is very thick and has a nice texture, it won’t bend or leave marks very easily, so you can afford to handle it without being afraid. The numerous black and white illustrations are reproduced very sharply and look great on the paper.
The coloured illustrations are on glossy paper and also look pretty great. For me, Rackham is the quintessential fairy tale illustrator, right up there with Charles van Sandwyk, and I couldn’t imagine reading this without his contribution.
About the Illustrator – Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham (1867—1939) was a prolific, award-winning book English illustrator. He clearly had a preference for fairy tales, illustrating books by The Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen and highly-regarded versions of Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty.
He initially turned down an offer by Kenneth Grahame to illustrate The Wind in the Willows when it was first published in 1908, a decision that he greatly regretted afterwards. However, thirty years later, he was invited by George Macy to illustrate the same book for Macy’s Limited Editions Club, a project which he gladly accepted. It would turn out to be his final commission, and The Wind in the Willows was published posthumously in 1940 to critical acclaim. He won gold medals in Milan, Venice, Barcelona and Paris for his work.
Pictures of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
The pictures that follow are of the sixteenth printing of the 1996 edition, published in 2011.