Maria Magdalene Tatar (born May 13, 1945)[1] is an American academic whose expertise lies in children's literature, German literature, and folklore.[4][5] She is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and Chair of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University.[5]

Maria Tatar
Maria Tatar in 2018
Born1945 (age 78–79)
Pressath, Germany[1]
CitizenshipUS (naturalized 1956)[1]
Alma mater
Occupation(s)Academic, writer
Known forBooks on mythology and folklore
Stephen A. Schuker
(div. 1989)
ChildrenLauren Schuker (daughter)
Daniel Schuker (son)[3]
Louis-Léopold Boilly's And the Ogre Ate Him Up!, used in Maria Tatar's Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood




Maria Tatar was born in Pressath, Germany.[1] Her family emigrated from Hungary to the United States in the 1950s when she was a child.[7]

She grew up in Highland Park, Illinois and graduated from Highland Park High School in 1963.[3]

Tatar earned an undergraduate degree from Denison University and a doctoral degree from Princeton University.[3][8] In 1971, after finishing her doctorate at Princeton University, Tatar joined the faculty of Harvard University. She received tenure in 1978.[3] She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Selected works

  • Spellbound: Studies on Mesmerism and Literature (Princeton University Press, 1978) ISBN 978-0-691-06377-5
  • The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales (Princeton, 1987) ISBN 978-0-691-06722-3
  • Off With Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood (Princeton, 1993) ISBN 978-0-691-06943-2
  • The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales (W. W. Norton & Company, 2002) ISBN 978-0-393-05163-6
  • The Annotated Brothers Grimm (W.W. Norton, 2004) ISBN 0-393-05848-4
  • The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen (W.W. Norton, 2008) ISBN 978-0-393-06081-2
  • Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood (W.W. Norton, April 2009)[9] ISBN 978-0-393-06601-2
  • "From Bookworms to Enchanted Hunters: Why Children Read" (Journal of Aesthetic Education, Summer 2009, vol.43, no.2, p. 19-36) ISSN 0021-8510
  • The Annotated Peter Pan, ed., (W.W. Norton, 2011) ISBN 978-0-393-06600-5
  • The Annotated African American Folktales, ed. with Henry Louis Gates Jr., (Liveright-W.W. Norton, 2017), ISBN 0-87140-753-1
  • The Fairest of Them All: Snow White and 21 Tales of Mothers and Daughters, (Harvard University Press, 2020) ISBN 978-0-674-238-602
  • The Heroine with 1001 Faces (Liveright, 2021), ISBN 978-1-631-49881-7


  1. ^ a b c d "Notice de personne: Tatar, Maria (1945–....)". Catalogue. National Library of France ( Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  2. ^ "Spellbound: Fairy tale expert Maria Tatar '67 on how some of the world's oldest stories help us navigate modern life" Archived 2014-05-02 at the Wayback Machine. Denison Magazine. Denison University. Spring 2014. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d Craig Lambert (November–December 2007). "The Horror and Beauty". Harvard Magazine.
  4. ^ A. S. Byatt (October 12, 2009). "Love in fairytales". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b Beth Potier (April 10, 2003). "Once Upon a Time ..." Harvard University Gazette.
  6. ^ Tatar, Maria (20 April 2009). Reading Them To Sleep, Storytelling and The Invention of Bedtime Reading. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-0-393-24004-7. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  7. ^ Amy Sutherland (October 27, 2012). "Maria Tatar: Professor and fairy-tale expert". The Boston Globe.
  8. ^ Cindy Cantrell (April 27, 2009). "In praise of bedtime stories". The Boston Globe.
  9. ^ A. S. Byatt (November 7, 2009). "Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood by Maria Tatar". The Guardian.