MU KPB028 East Of The Sun And West Of The Moon Pictured By Kay Nielsen 0039

Botanist and zoologist Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and poet and theologian Jørgen Engebretsen Moe were collectors of Norwegian folktales and legends at a time when Norway was in search of its own national identity. From 1841 to 1844, Asbjørnsen and Moe published Norske Folkeeventyr (Norwegian Folktales), an outstanding collection of stories about ghosts, trolls, gods, and fairies. It is considered a classic of Norwegian literature and language. Critical, illustrated, and translated editions followed suit. One reason for its success was Asbjørnsen and Moe’s stylistic solution to the problem of there being no common language in Norway at the time. The written language was heavily influenced by Danish norms, while the oral Norwegian dialects were very local. Asbjørnsen and Moe simplified the language following the example of the Brothers Grimm.
East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North is a collection of fifteen of Asbjørnsen and Moe’s fairy tales, and is illustrated by Danish artist Kay Nielsen. This beautiful edition is one of the most highly sought-after Golden Age of Illustration books. According to German publisher Taschen, responsible for the 2015 reprint of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, an original, signed copy of the book sold at auction in 2008 and commanded the highest price ever paid for an illustrated children’s book. The original 1914 edition held by Maastricht University’s Special Collections is bound in full gold cloth, with titles in black on the front cover and the spine, and the cover is decorated in blue and black. It contains all 24 of Nielsen’s marvelous tipped-in coloured plate illustrations, as well as many black-and-white illustrations.

Asbjørnsen, P. C., Moe, J.E, Nielsen, K. R., & Henry Stone & Son. (1914). East of the sun and west of the moon: old tales from the north. (G.W. Dasent, Trans.). Hodder & Stoughton. Maastricht University Special Collections. Call number: MU KPB 028