The Orig­i­nal Bam­bi: The Sto­ry of a Life in the Forest

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

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.

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