Paradiz, Valerie. Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales.

Author:Hart, Ann
Position::Young Adult Review - Book Review

PARADIZ, Valerie. Clever maids; the secret history of the Grimm fairy tales. Basic Books. 222p. notes, bibliog, index, c2005. 0-46505491-9. $13.95. JSA

A stunning revelation about the true source of the Grimms' fairy tale collection. The old assumptions, as stated in this reviewer's encyclopedia, are forever revised with this little bit of scholarship about the famous Brothers Grimm. The stories, certainly the result of an oral tradition, probably did originate with the common folk, but were not gathered from them, as tradition would have it: the Grimms did not travel the country hunting down tales. Paradiz tells us that it was a relatively small group of women, neither common nor illiterate, who related the vast majority of the stories found in the collection. It was simply that these women found an interest in such lore and were able to retain and transmit the tales for transcription into print. How these ladies influenced the stories is a matter for conjecture. The Grimms were fastidious about exact renditions. Most of the tales reflect the sorrowful plight of women in...

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