The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjornsen and Moe

The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjornsen and Moe


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A new, definitive English translation of the celebrated story collection regarded as a landmark of Norwegian literature and culture

The extraordinary folktales collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe began appearing in Norway in 1841. Over the next two decades the publication of subsequent editions under the title Norske folkeeventyr made the names Asbjørnsen and Moe synonymous with Norwegian storytelling traditions. Tiina Nunnally’s vivid translation of their monumental collection is the first new English translation in more than 150 years—and the first ever to include all sixty original tales.

Magic and myth inhabit these pages in figures both familiar and strange. Giant trolls and talking animals are everywhere. The winds take human form. A one-eyed old woman might seem reminiscent of the Norse god Odin. We meet sly aunts, resourceful princesses, and devious robbers. The clever and fearless boy Ash Lad often takes center stage as he ingeniously breaks spells and defeats enemies to win half the kingdom. These stories, set in Norway’s majestic landscape of towering mountains and dense forests, are filled with humor, mischief, and sometimes surprisingly cruel twists of fate. All are rendered in the deceptively simple narrative style perfected by Asbjørnsen and Moe—now translated into an English that is as finely tuned to the modern ear as it is true to the original Norwegian.

Included here—for the very first time in English—are Asbjørnsen and Moe’s Forewords and Introductions to the early Norwegian editions of the tales. Asbjørnsen gives us an intriguing glimpse into the actual collection process and describes how the stories were initially received, both in Norway and abroad. Equally fascinating are Moe’s views on how central characters might be interpreted and his notes on the regions where each story was originally collected. Nunnally’s informative Translator’s Note places the tales in a biographical, historical, and literary context for the twenty-first century.

The Norwegian folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe are timeless stories that will entertain, startle, and enthrall readers of all ages.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781517905682
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Edition description: 1
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 95,623
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812–1885) and Jørgen Moe (1813–1882) were energetic writers and researchers best known for their monumental collection Norske folkeeventyr (Norwegian Folktales), which introduced the lively traditions of Norwegian storytelling to readers around the world.

Tiina Nunnally is an award-winning translator of Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish literature. Her many translations include Sigrid Undset’s first novel, Marta Oulie; the Minnesota Trilogy by Vidar Sundstøl; and Ola Larsmo’s Swede Hollow, all published by the University of Minnesota Press. She translated fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen, and her translation of Kristin Lavransdatter: The Cross by Sigrid Undset won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize. In 2013 she was appointed Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for her efforts on behalf of Norwegian literature in the United States.

Neil Gaiman is a New York Times best-selling author of award-winning titles including Norse Mythology, American Gods, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens, The View from the Cheap Seats, and the groundbreaking Sandman graphic novels. He is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama. Several of his titles have been adapted for television, including the critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated adaptation of American Gods and his miniseries of Good Omens, based on the novel he co-wrote with the late Sir Terry Pratchett. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States.

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The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjornsen and Moe 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Svara 6 days ago
Thank you for sharing these folktales! A very enjoyable collection of Norwegian folktales seamlessly translated. I read them in the evenings to my family to much enjoyment and discussion. We imagined it was the way they were first shared. This one is a must have for your folktale collection.
MarziesReads 5 months ago
Translator Tiina Nunnally first caught my attention in 2005 with her spectacular modern translations of the Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales which removed all the syrupy sweet Disney coating and looked at the astonishingly sharp lessons Andersen offered up to Danish children. (Witness the actual story of The Snow Queen, for instance, in all its Christian allusion.) As such, I was eager to review Nunnally's latest translation of folktales, modern translations of the much loved Norwegian Folktales collected over decades by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. From Ash Lad to Three Billy Goats Gruff, from three-headed trolls to twelve-headed ones, all the classics are here including my personal childhood favorite, "The Tabby Cat of Dovre Mountain." (If you've never that one, you should if you want a good laugh.) This is a beautiful edition of the folktales but alas, it is only at present available in hardcover. I'm still waiting for my copy because it looks as if the first printing may have sold out. If you are a lover of folktales, this is a wonderful edition. Nunnally's well-worded translations (she points out all the efforts translators make to capture the intent of the original in terms understood by modern readers. The introduction written by Neil Gaiman was not made available in the Digital Review Copy I received, but many readers may recall his own recent foray into the Norse world, Norse Mythology. I'm eager to see what he has written about this classic collection. Spin, span, spun- my review is done! I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from UMP via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
jjthor 5 months ago
Such a great book! This is a book full of Old Norwegian Folk tales collected and written in the 1800's by Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe that has been translated into English. It was so much fun reading this I remember some of the stories from when I was young told to me by my stepfather brought back so many good memories. Wonderful book and translated very well and understandable to read. I would Highly recommend reading this book for all ages.
CathyGeha 5 months ago
The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, Jørgen Moe Translated by Tiina Nunnally Having loved Fairy Tales and Folk Tales for all of my life and having read them from many countries I was delighted to find this book up for review and now want to add it to my collection. In this book there is history about the original authors and how they collected the tales, the fact that the authors were influenced by Grimm and more. As I read I saw tales that I remember reading as a child and others that reminded me, in part, of other fairy tales. The illustrations are marvelous. I believe this book is not only historical but relevant and educational and would allow for discussion in classes or between parents and children. Did I enjoy this book? Yes Would I buy? Yes, to add to my collection Would I buy it to give as a gift? I think my granddaughters “might” enjoy it. Thank you to NetGalley and University of Minnesota Press for the ARC - This is my honest review. 5 Stars