The strange case of Grimm’s “submerged tales”

by Camilla Miglio

Translations of Grimm’s fairy tales are generally based on the 7th edition of the tales (1857). The history of this classic’s publication reveals how the oral, polyphonic and collective original was concealed in favour of a more construed version of the stories, that would prove less scabrous and more palatable to bourgeois readers. In 2012, for the bicentenary of the first edition, an attempt was made to reproduce in Italian the grating, rough voice of the first version. A real challenge for everyone concerned: the translator (in order to find the right register and rhythm), the teacher of translation (how to communicate what it means to rewrite a classic) and the students (learning a new approach to authors, literature and the canon).