Most of us think we know the story of Bambi—but do we? The Original Bambi is an all-new, illustrated translation of a literary classic that presents the story as it was meant to be told. For decades, readers’ images of Bambi have been shaped by the 1942 Walt Disney film—an idealized look at a fawn who represents nature’s innocence—which was based on a 1928 English translation of a novel by the Austrian Jewish writer Felix Salten. This masterful new translation gives contemporary readers a fresh perspective on this moving allegorical tale and provides important details about its creator.
Originally published in 1923, Salten’s story is more somber than the adaptations that followed it. Life in the forest is dangerous and precarious, and Bambi learns important lessons about survival as he grows to become a strong, heroic stag. Jack Zipes’s introduction traces the history of the book’s reception and explores the tensions that Salten experienced in his own life—as a hunter who also loved animals, and as an Austrian Jew who sought acceptance in Viennese society even as he faced persecution.
With captivating drawings by award-winning artist Alenka Sottler, The Original Bambi captures the emotional impact and rich meanings of a celebrated story.
"'Bambi’ is quite remarkable: a meditation on powerlessness and survival told with great economy and sophistication."—Bill McKibben, New York Times
"In The Original Bambi, the distinguished translator Jack Zipes, has sought to restore both the dignity and the relevance of Salten’s vision; to rescue it, in a manner of speaking, from Disneyfication. . . . [The book is] bracingly free of the encrustation of sugar that the tale has accumulated over the past 100 years."—Meghan Cox Gurdon, Wall Street Journal
"Wonderful black-and-white illustrations. . . . Zipes is knowledgeable about his subject matter."—Kathryn Schulz, New Yorker
"A lovely new hardback edition."—Ron Charles, Washington Post
"Elegant [and] uncompromising"—Piers Torday, Spectator
"A new translation . . . it's a dark story of brutality, loss and, ultimately, loneliness."—Richard Chin, Star Tribune
"A new, more precise translation of [Felix] Salten’s original."—Andrew Stuttaford, Spectator World
"Informative. . . . a powerful tale of the destructive side of human nature and our despotic relationship to the environment."—GrrlScientist, Forbes
"[Zipes] makes a persuasive argument for rediscovering ‘The Original Bambi.’"—Nan Cohen, Electric Literature
"With captivating drawings by award-winning artist Alenka Sottler, The Original Bambi captures the emotional impact and rich meanings of a celebrated story."—The Bookwatch
"This handsomely illustrated unabridged edition of an enchanting and moving fable for adults (and older children) belongs in every library."—Library Journal
"Substantive and thought provoking. . . . Bambi’s well-written particularity offers readers universal relatability."—Melissa Langsam Braunstein, The Dispatch
"Zipes’s translation of Bambi reflects Salten’s descriptive prose, bringing the animals and their challenges to life for the reader."—Miriam Kates Lock, Jerusalem Post