Monday, 8 February 2016

Short Review: 'The Story Without an End' by Sarah Austin, Eleanor Vere Boyle

Everyone has a childhood classic, the book that you're never going to forget about, no matter how much you grow up. The Story Without an End was that kind of book for Austin's daughter, which resulted in its translation from the original German. As a German myself I'd love for more childhood classics to cross international borders so we can all share our favourites. Thanks to Dover Publications and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Pub. Date: 16/12/2016
Publisher: Dover Publications
In this classic of children's literature, a child takes an idyllic journey of discovery through the natural world. Awakened by birdsong and the rays of the sun, the child listens to stories of the butterfly and the ocean's waves, dines on strawberries, gossips with fireflies, and sleeps on a couch of moss. Generations of readers have joined the youngster in these dreamlike adventures amid blooming gardens and on a golden boat under starry skies.  
Author Sarah Austin translated this timeless tale from the German original by Friedrich Wilhelm Carové. This version, reproduced from a magnificent Victorian-era edition, features all fifteen of the original full-color plates. 
The Story Without an End is, in simple terms, an old school fairy tale of the middle 19th century. The author of the German original, Friedrich Wilhelm Carové, very much believed in the ideal of humanity and the church and, as such, the fairy tale is full of nature imagery and the wholesomeness of the beauty of nature. It can come across as a little bit overly sweet if the original Grimms' fairytales are what you're expecting, but that is because, as a literary product, this tale is significantly younger than the original versions of any of the old fairy tales. It's written with the intense purpose to make the natural world and natural order seem perfect in and of itself. As long as you can accept the purpose behind the story it's a lovely read.

The language of the story is beautiful, incredibly sumptuous and full of visual writing. It's no surprise that this would be a child's favourite book, with talking dragon-flies and a child hearing stories about mountains and clouds from a water drop. It creates a magical world for its readers and this edition is a large part of making that possible. In this edition of The Story Without an End Dover Publications reproduces the 1834, Victorian-era translation of the German Das Märchen Ohne Ende by Sarah Austin. It's a stunning translation, capturing the eloquence and ease of the German original. Vere Boyle's illustrations are beautiful renditions of different story elements and really add to the overall atmosphere of the book.

I give this book...

3 Universes!

The Story Without an End is a beautiful story, rich in detail and descriptions. It would be perfect for parents with young children or fans of fairy tales. Dover Publications edition is definitely stunning and would make a great addition to any fairytale shelf.

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