The Disney Review: The Original Grimms by Kevin Yee

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Features, The Disney Review

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Published on January 18, 2014 at 2:00 am with No Comments

George: Kevin Yee is a very well-known name in Disney circles, especially as one of the original columnists at MiceAge. Kevin’s also one of the most prolific Disney-related authors and has published some of the best books on the theme parks. He’s also taken over Communicore Weekly at least twice (Communicore Yeekly, anyone?). Last year, Kevin released The Original Grimms: Highlights of the 1810 Manuscript. Kevin released in conjunction with a massive online course that he taught about fairy tales. Before you quit reading, there is another Disney connection beside Kevin.

Jeff: I won’t go on to list Kevin’s many Disney credentials (of which their ARE many!), but you should also know that aside from being a Disney Historian and all-around great guy, Kevin does know a lot about OTHER stuff, as well. For example, did you know he holds a Ph.D. in German Literature from UC Irvine? No? Well, you should. Because it comes in quite handy for this book.

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George: So, we promise there’s a Disney connection and it’s actually a pretty great one. Kevin’s been teaching courses on fairy tales for many years and he finally took the opportunity to translate the 1810 manuscripts from their original German, which has never been been done before. What makes this collection important is that Kevin translated directly from the Grimms’ source material instead of relying on the translations from others and from the changes in the narratives themselves over the years. Basically, it’s an unwashed and unprejudiced translation that’s never been seen before. Oh yeah, there is a Disney connection, like we promised.

Jeff: As you know, a lot of Grimm’s tales were transformed into some of the Disney films we all know and love today. However, what some of you may not know is how gruesome the Grimm’s tales actually are. And I do mean gruesome. Over time, they were toned down a bit, and the stories changed drastically in some cases. But what Kevin does here is present his direct translations of the original text along with later versions of story, when changes had been made. What this does is provide an incredibly interesting comparison between the original tales, the slightly watered down versions, and then later, the Disney versions.

George: Here’s the list of the main fairy tales covered: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstizchen, Hansel and Gretel, Frog King and Cinderella.It really is fascinating to read the different versions of the tales. Kevin also provides academic commentary focusing on the social issues, context and history of the tales. It’s quite eye-opening and you’ll never look at the stories the same way again. Kevin also has another big announcement that could be exciting for some fans out there.

Jeff: In addition to the book, which as George said, its pretty awesome, Kevin also teaches a FREE online class about the original Grimm’s tales. It’s comprehensive and it does require work on your part, but in the end, I think you’ll walk away from it knowing more about the original fairy tales than your friends. And did I mention it was free? Because free is awesome.

Check out this link to learn about the special online class (it’s FREE)!

George: So, I think that both of us would recommend this book even though it’s not the usual type of books that we review. Kevin does a great job of relating the story to the Disney take on the tale. At times it’s easy to see the difference and sometimes Kevin has to lead us to the connection. Regardless, it’s well-written and well-presented; if you can take the online course, it sounds like it will be enjoyable. My biggest question is how do you leave Kevin an apple? Can we mail it?

Jeff: I’ll send him an email from an Apple computer. That counts, right?

George: What about an animated apple gif? Wait! What if we get detention? Can he give us detention?

Have you read the original Grimms versions of your favorite Disney fairy tales?


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By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at
[email protected] or [email protected]

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About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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