2004

CE -- Anthropology


Märchenlexikon [Dictionary of Fairy Tales]. Hans Scherf. Berlin: Directmedia, 2003. cd-rom. (Digitale Bibliothek, 90). ISBN 3-89853-190-2: EUR 39.90 [04-1-279]

This CD-ROM edition of the Märchenlexikon is based on the two-volume print edition published by C.H. Beck in 1995 (see RREA 2:222). Scherf ’s dictionary first appeared in 1982 under the title Lexikon der Zaubermärchen. The second, considerably augmented edition of 1995 was hailed by reviewers as a core title for fairy-tale research, alongside Johannes Bolte’s and Jiří Polívka’s Anmerkungen zu den Kinder-und Hausmärchen [Notes on Grimm’s Fairy Tales; Leipzig, 1913-1932] and the Enzyklopädie des Märchens [Encyclopedia of Fairy Tales] by Kurt Ranke and Hermann Bausinger. The various indexes of the dictionary, however, were criticized. The new CD-ROM edition does not add any new content but it makes good use of the electronic medium. The existing five indices are hyperlinked and therefore easier to use, and four computer-generated ones have been added. The index of “Tales” is particularly useful because it arranges the individual titles according to Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson’s 1928 classification of narrative types. [wh/rs]

Deutsche Märchen und Sagen [German Fairy Tales and Legends]. Ed. Hans-Jörg Uther. Berlin: Directmedia, 2003. CD-ROM. (Digitale Bibliothek, 80). ISBN 3-89853-180-5: EUR 49.90 [04-1-280]

Another in the Digitale Bibliothek series of electronic publications, which now number over 100 titles, this cd-rom runs on the excellent platform that is common to all the Directmedia products. And like many others in the series, this work is a mammoth collection, containing “over 24,000 fairy tales, folk tales, traditions, and legends” (according to the package blurb) on 54,818 screens. The cd-rom includes 46 collections of German folk and fairy tales published between 1782 and 1914, from J.K.A. Mausäus’ Volksmärchen der Deutschen (1782) to K. Spiegel’s Volksmärchen aus Bayern (1914), including the 1891 third edition of Deutsche Sagen by the Brothers Grimm, edited by one of the leading experts on German fairy tales.

The two most important aspects of a cd-rom publication are taken advantage of here: the huge amount of data that the medium can hold and the ability to search across all texts at once. Uther’s 66-page introduction gives even the non-expert an overview of the field, with such topics as “Fairy Tale and Legend Collections since the Brothers Grimm,” “ Legends as Historical Documents,” “How Legends Develop” and “Materials and Motifs.” It is followed by a substantial bibliography of around 20,000 titles, which cites literature on far more than the 46 collections on the cd-rom. It would have been helpful had the bibliography been annotated or at least supplied with keywords, so that it could be more effectively included in the full-text search functionality. With its affordable price and text comparison possibilities, this product deserves the greatest possible distribution. [wh/hh]


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