A newly discovered trove of unknown fairy tales

9780143107422_large_The_Turnip_Princess_and_Other_Newly_Discovered_Fairy_TalesMichael Dirda at The Washington Post:

In 2012, in the municipal archive of Regensburg, Germany, scholar Erika Eichenseer discovered 30 boxes containing more than 500 hitherto unknown fairy tales. A high-ranking civil servant named Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810-1886) had spent much of his spare time collecting the oral and traditional stories of Bavaria. This unexpected find rocked the fairy-tale establishment.

Maria Tatar, chair of the program in folklore and mythology at Harvard, explains why in the introduction to her English translation of “The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.” Schönwerth’s narratives, she tells us, exhibited “a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault, collectors who gave us relatively tame versions of ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ ‘Snow White,’ ‘Cinderella,’ and ‘Rapunzel.’ Schönwerth gives us a harsher reality.” While the Grimms polished their transcriptions to an almost Gallic brilliance, Schönwerth preserved more fully the rough vigor and even crudeness of the oral originals.

more here.