The BROTHERS GRIMM (die Brüder Grimm or die Gebrüder Grimm), Jacob
The brothers spent their formative years in the German town of Hanau
. Their father's death in 1796 impoverished the family and affected
the brothers for many years after. They attended the University of
Many of the Grimms' folk tales have enjoyed enduring popularity. The
tales are available in more than 100 languages and have been adapted
by filmmakers including
Lotte Reiniger and
* 1 Biography
* 2 Collaborations
* 2.1 Children\'s and Household Tales
* 2.1.1 Background * 2.1.2 Methodology * 2.1.3 Writing * 2.1.4 Themes and analysis * 2.1.5 Editions
* 3 Quotes from the Tales * 4 Reception and legacy * 5 Collaborative works * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Sources * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm was born on 4 January 1785, and his brother
Wilhelm Carl Grimm was born on 24 February 1786. Both were born in
In 1796, Philipp Grimm died of pneumonia, plunging his family into poverty, and they were forced to relinquish their servants and large house. Dorothea depended on financial support from her father and sister, first lady-in-waiting at the court of William I, Elector of Hesse . Jacob was the eldest living son, and he was forced at age 11 to assume adult responsibilities (shared with Wilhelm) for the next two years. The two boys adhered to the advice of their grandfather, who continually exhorted them to be industrious.
The brothers left Steinau and their family in 1798 to attend the
After graduation from the Friedrichsgymnasium, the brothers attended
University of Marburg
The brothers were inspired by their law professor Friedrich von Savigny , who awakened in them an interest in history and philology , and they turned to studying medieval German literature . They shared Savigny's desire to see unification of the 200 German principalities into a single state. Through Savigny and his circle of friends—German romantics such as Clemens Brentano and Ludwig Achim von Arnim —the Grimms were introduced to the ideas of Johann Gottfried Herder , who thought that German literature should revert to simpler forms, which he defined as Volkspoesie (natural poetry) as opposed to Kunstpoesie (artistic poetry). The brothers dedicated themselves with great enthusiasm to their studies, about which Wilhelm wrote in his autobiography, "the ardor with which we studied Old German helped us overcome the spiritual depression of those days."
Jacob was still financially responsible for his mother, brother, and younger siblings in 1805, so he accepted a post in Paris as research assistant to von Savigny. On his return to Marburg, he was forced to abandon his studies to support the family, whose poverty was so extreme that food was often scarce. He took a job with the Hessian War Commission. In a letter written to his aunt at this time, Wilhelm wrote of their circumstances, "We five people eat only three portions and only once a day".
Jacob found full-time employment in 1808 when he was appointed court librarian to the King of Westphalia and went on to become librarian in Kassel. After their mother's death that year, he became fully responsible for his younger siblings. He arranged and paid for his brother Ludwig 's studies at art school and for Wilhelm's extended visit to Halle to seek treatment for heart and respiratory ailments, following which Wilhelm joined Jacob as librarian in Kassel. The brothers also began collecting folk tales at about this time, in a cursory manner and on Brentano's request. According to Jack Zipes, at this point "the Grimms were unable to devote all their energies to their research and did not have a clear idea about the significance of collecting folk tales in this initial phase."
During their employment as librarians—which paid little but
afforded them ample time for research—the brothers experienced a
productive period of scholarship, publishing a number of books between
1812 and 1830. In 1812, they published their first volume of 86 folk
tales, Kinder- und Hausmärchen, followed quickly by two volumes of
German legends and a volume of early literary history. They went on
to publish works about Danish and Irish folk tales and Norse mythology
, while continuing to edit the German folk tale collection. These
works became so widely recognized that the brothers received honorary
doctorates from universities in
In 1825, Wilhelm married Henriette Dorothea (Dortchen) Wild, a
long-time family friend and one of a group who supplied them with
stories. Jacob never married but continued to live in the household
with Wilhelm and Dortchen. In 1830, both brothers were overlooked
when the post of chief librarian came available, which disappointed
them greatly. They moved the household to
Göttingen in the Kingdom
During the next seven years, the brothers continued to research, write, and publish. In 1835, Jacob published the well-regarded German Mythology ( Deutsche Mythologie ); Wilhelm continued to edit and prepare the third edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen for publication. The two brothers taught German studies at the university, becoming well-respected in the newly established discipline.
In 1837, they lost their university posts after joining in protest
Göttingen Seven . The 1830s were a period of political
upheaval and peasant revolt in Germany, leading to the movement for
democratic reform known as
Young Germany . The Grimm brothers were not
directly aligned with the Young Germans, but five of their colleagues
reacted against the demands of King Ernest Augustus I , who dissolved
the parliament of
The brothers were without income in 1838 and again in extreme financial difficulty, so they began what became a lifelong project: the writing of a definitive dictionary. The first volume of their German Dictionary ( Deutsches Wörterbuch ) was not published until 1854. The brothers again depended on friends and supporters for financial assistance and influence in finding employment.
BERLIN AND LATER YEARS
In 1840, von Savigny and
Bettina von Arnim
Revolutions of 1848 in the German states , the brothers
were elected to the civil parliament. Jacob became a prominent member
of the National Assembly at
CHILDREN\'S AND HOUSEHOLD TALES
Main article: Grimms\' Fairy Tales
The rise of romanticism ,
Romantic nationalism , and trends in
valuing popular culture in the early 19th century revived interest in
fairy tales, which had declined since their late-17th-century peak.
Johann Karl August Musäus published a popular collection of tales
between 1782 and 1787; the Grimms aided the revival with their
folklore collection, built on the conviction that a national identity
could be found in popular culture and with the common folk (Volk).
They collected and published tales as a reflection of German cultural
identity. In the first collection, though, they included Charles
Perrault 's tales, published in Paris in 1697 and written for the
literary salons of an aristocratic French audience. Scholar Lydie Jean
explains that a myth was created that Perrault's tales came from the
common people and reflected existing folklore in order to justify
their inclusion—even though many of them were original. The
Grimms defined "
Little Red Riding Hood
The brothers were directly influenced by Brentano and von Arnim, who
edited and adapted the folk songs of
Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy's
Magic Horn or cornucopia ). They began the collection with the
purpose of creating a scholarly treatise of traditional stories and of
preserving the stories as they had been handed from generation to
generation—a practice that was threatened by increased
Maria Tatar , professor of
German studies at
However, as Tatar explains, the Grimms appropriated stories as being
uniquely German, such as "
Little Red Riding Hood
When Jacob returned to
The brothers gained a reputation for collecting tales from peasants,
although many tales came from middle-class or aristocratic
acquaintances. Wilhelm's wife Dortchen Wild and her family, with their
nursery maid, told the brothers some of the more well-known tales,
such as "
Hansel and Gretel
According to scholars such as Ruth Bottigheimer and Maria Tatar , some of the tales probably originated in written form during the medieval period with writers such as Straparola and Boccaccio , but were modified in the 17th century and again rewritten by the Grimms. Moreover, Tatar writes that the brothers' goal of preserving and shaping the tales as something uniquely German at a time of French occupation was a form of "intellectual resistance" and, in so doing, they established a methodology for collecting and preserving folklore that set the model to be followed later by writers throughout Europe during periods of occupation.
From 1807 onward, the brothers added to the collection. Jacob established the framework, maintained through many iterations; from 1815 until his death, Wilhelm assumed sole responsibility for editing and rewriting the tales. He made the tales stylistically similar, added dialogue, removed pieces "that might detract from a rustic tone", improved the plots, and incorporated psychological motifs. Ronald Murphy writes in The Owl, the Raven and the Dove that the brothers—and in particular Wilhelm—also added religious and spiritual motifs to the tales. He believes that Wilhelm "gleaned" bits from old Germanic faiths , Norse mythology, Roman and Greek mythology , and biblical stories that he reshaped.
Over the years, Wilhelm worked extensively on the prose, expanded and added detail to the stories to the point that many grew to be twice the length of those in the earliest published editions. In the later editions, Wilhelm polished the language to make it more enticing to a bourgeois audience, eliminated sexual elements, and added Christian elements. After 1819, he began writing for children (children were not initially considered the primary audience), adding entirely new tales or adding new elements to existing tales, elements that were often strongly didactic.
Some changes were made in light of unfavorable reviews, particularly from those who objected that not all the tales were suitable for children because of scenes of violence and sexuality. He worked to modify plots for many stories; for example, " Rapunzel " in the first edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen clearly shows a sexual relationship between the prince and the girl in the tower, which he edited out in subsequent editions. Tatar writes that morals were added (in the second edition, a king's regret was added to the scene in which his wife is to be burned at the stake) and often the characters in the tale were amended to appear more German: "every fairy (Fee), prince (Prinz) and princess (Prinzessin)—all words of French origin—was transformed into a more Teutonic-sounding enchantress (Zauberin) or wise woman (weise Frau), king's son (Königssohn), king's daughter (Königstochter)."
Themes And Analysis
The Grimms' legacy contains legends, novellas , and folk stories, the
vast majority of which were not intended as children's tales. Von
Armin was deeply concerned about the content of some of the tales,
such as those which showed children being eaten, and suggested that
they be removed. Instead, the brothers added an introduction with
cautionary advice that parents steer children toward age-appropriate
stories. Despite von Armin's unease, none of the tales were eliminated
from the collection, in the brothers' belief that all the tales were
of value and reflected inherent cultural qualities. Furthermore, the
stories were didactic in nature at a time when discipline relied on
fear, according to scholar
Linda Dégh , who explains that tales such
Little Red Riding Hood
The stories in Kinder- und Hausmärchen include scenes of violence that have since been sanitized. For example, in the Grimms' original version of " Snow White ", the Queen is Little Snow White's mother, not her stepmother, yet even so she orders her Huntsman to kill Snow White (her biological daughter) and bring home the child's lungs and liver so that she can eat them. The story ends with the Queen mother dancing at Snow White's wedding wearing a pair of red-hot iron shoes that kill her. Another story ("The Goose Girl") has a servant being stripped naked and pushed into a barrel "studded with sharp nails" pointing inwards and then rolled down the street. The Grimms' version of "The Frog Prince " describes the princess throwing the frog against a wall instead of kissing him. To some extent, the cruelty and violence may have been a reflection of medieval culture from which the tales originated, such as scenes of witches burning, as described in "The Six Swans ".
Tales with a spinning motif are broadly represented in the
collection. In her essay "Tale Spinners: Submerged Voices in Grimms'
Fairy Tales", children's literature scholar Bottigheimer explains that
these stories reflect the degree to which spinning was crucial in the
life of women in the 19th century and earlier. Spinning, and
particularly the spinning of flax , was commonly performed in the home
by women. Many stories begin by describing the occupation of a main
character, as in "There once was a miller", yet spinning is never
mentioned as an occupation, probably because the brothers did not
consider it an occupation. Instead, spinning was a communal activity,
frequently performed in a Spinnstube (spinning room), a place where
women most likely kept the oral traditions alive by telling stories
while engaged in tedious work. In the stories, a woman's personality
is often represented by her attitude toward spinning; a wise woman
might be a spinster and Bottigheimer explains that the spindle was the
symbol of a "diligent, well-ordered womanhood." In some stories, such
The tales were also criticized for being insufficiently German, which
influenced the tales that the brothers included as well as their use
of language. Scholars such as Heinz Rölleke say that the stories are
an accurate depiction of German culture, showing "rustic simplicity
sexual modesty". German culture is deeply rooted in the forest
(wald), a dark dangerous place to be avoided, most particularly the
old forests with large oak trees and yet a place to which Little Red
Riding Hood's mother sent her daughter to deliver food to
grandmother's house. "
Some critics such as Alistair Hauke use Jungian analysis to say that the deaths of the brothers' father and grandfather are the reason for the Grimms' tendency to idealize and excuse fathers, as well as the predominance of female villains in the tales, such as the wicked stepmother and stepsisters in "Cinderella", but this disregards the fact that they were collectors, not authors of the tales. Another possible influence is found in stories such as " The Twelve Brothers ", which mirrors the brothers' family structure of several brothers facing and overcoming opposition. Autobiographical elements exist in some of the tales, and according to Zipes the work may have been a "quest" to replace the family life lost after their father died. The collection includes 41 tales about siblings, which Zipes says are representative of Jacob and Wilhelm. Many of the sibling stories follow a simple plot where the characters lose a home, work industriously at a specific task and, in the end, find a new home.
Between 1812 and 1864, Kinder- und Hausmärchen was published 17 times: seven of the "Large edition" (Große Ausgabe) and ten of the "Small edition" (Kleine Ausgabe). The Large editions contained all the tales collected to date, extensive annotations, and scholarly notes written by the brothers; the Small editions had only 50 tales and were intended for children. Jacob and Wilhelm's younger brother Emil Grimm illustrated the Small editions, adding Christian symbolism to the drawings, such as depicting Cinderella's mother as an angel, and adding a Bible to the bedside table of Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother. Frontispiece and title-page, illustrated by Ludwig Emil Grimm of the 1819 edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen
The first volume was published in 1812 with 86 folk tales, and a second volume with 70 additional tales was published late in 1814 (dated 1815 on the title page); together, the two volumes and their 156 tales are considered the first of the Large (annotated) editions. A second expanded edition with 170 tales was published in 1819, followed in 1822 by a volume of scholarly commentary and annotations. Five more Large editions were published in 1837, 1840, 1843, 1850, and 1857. The seventh and final edition of 1857 contained 211 tales—200 numbered folk tales and eleven legends.
In Germany, Kinder- und Hausmärchen was also released in a "popular
poster-sized Bilderbogen (broadsides)" format and in single story
formats for the more popular tales, such as "Hansel and Gretel". The
stories were often added to collections by other authors without
respect to copyright as the tales became a focus of interest for
children's book illustrators, with well-known artists such as Arthur
Walter Crane , and
While at the
University of Marburg
The brothers strongly believed that the dream of national unity and independence relied on a full knowledge of the cultural past that was reflected in folklore. They worked to discover and crystallize a kind of Germanness in the stories that they collected because they believed that folklore contained kernels of ancient mythologies and beliefs which were crucial to understanding the essence of German culture. By examining culture from a philological point of view, they sought to establish connections between German law and culture and local beliefs.
The Grimms considered the tales to have origins in traditional
Germanic folklore, which they thought had been "contaminated" by later
literary tradition. In the shift from the oral tradition to the
printed book, tales were translated from regional dialects to Standard
German (Hochdeutsch or High German). Over the course of the many
modifications and revisions, however, the Grimms sought to reintroduce
regionalisms, dialects, and
As early as 1812, they published Die beiden ältesten deutschen Gedichte aus dem achten Jahrhundert: Das Lied von Hildebrand und Hadubrand und das Weißenbrunner Gebet (The Two Oldest German Poems of the Eighth Century: The Song of Hildebrand and Hadubrand and the Wessobrunn Prayer). The Song of Hildebrand and Hadubrand is a 9th-century German heroic song, while the Wessobrunn Prayer is the earliest known German heroic song.
Between 1816 and 1818, the brothers published a two-volume work titled Deutsche Sagen (German Legends) consisting of 585 German legends. Jacob undertook most of the work of collecting and editing the legends that he organized according to region and historical (ancient) legends, and which were about real people or events. It was meant to be a scholarly work, yet the historical legends were often taken from secondary sources, interpreted, modified, and rewritten, resulting in works "that were regarded as trademarks". Some scholars criticized the Grimm's methodology in collecting and rewriting the legends, yet conceptually they set an example for legend collections that was to be followed by others throughout Europe. Unlike the collection of folk tales, Deutsche Sagen sold poorly, but Zipes says that the collection is a "vital source for folklorists and critics alike".
Less well known in the English-speaking world is the brothers' monumental scholarly work on a German dictionary, the Deutsches Wörterbuch, which they began in 1838. Not until 1852 did they begin publishing the dictionary in installments. The work on the dictionary could not be finished in their lifetime because in it they gave a history and analysis of each word.
QUOTES FROM THE TALES
"And now the old king gathered together his court, and asked all his kingdom to come and celebrate the wedding of his son and the princess. And young and old, noble and squire, gentle and simple, came at once on the summons; and among the rest came the friendly dwarf, with the sugarloaf hat, and a new scarlet cloak.
And the wedding was held, and the merry bells run. And all the good people they danced and they sung, And feasted and frolick’d I can’t tell how long." - The Water of Life
"The day came that had been fixed for the marriage. The bridegroom arrived and also a large company of guests, for the miller had taken care to invite all his friends and relations. As they sat at the feast, each guest in turn was asked to tell a tale; the bride sat still and did not say a word. ‘And you, my love,’ said the bridegroom, turning to her, ‘is there no tale you know? Tell us something.’ ‘I will tell you a dream, then,’ said the bride. ‘I went alone through a forest and came at last to a house; not a soul could I find within, but a bird that was hanging in a cage on the wall cried:
‘Turn back, turn back, young maiden fair, Linger not in this murderers’ lair.’
And again a second time it said these words.’ ‘My darling, this is only a dream.’ ‘I went on through the house from room to room, but they were all empty, and everything was so grim and mysterious. At last I went down to the cellar, and there sat a very, very old woman, who could not keep her head still. I asked her if my betrothed lived here, and she answered, “Ah, you poor child, you are come to a murderers’ den; your betrothed does indeed live here, but he will kill you without mercy and afterwards cook and eat you.”’" - The Robber Bridegroom
"A poor woodman sat in his cottage one night, smoking his pipe by the fireside, while his wife sat by his side spinning. ‘How lonely it is, wife,’ said he, as he puffed out a long curl of smoke, ‘for you and me to sit here by ourselves, without any children to play about and amuse us while other people seem so happy and merry with their children!’ ‘What you say is very true,’ said the wife, sighing, and turning round her wheel; ‘how happy should I be if I had but one child! If it were ever so small—nay, if it were no bigger than my thumb—I should be very happy, and love it dearly.’ Now—odd as you may think it—it came to pass that this good woman’s wish was fulfilled, just in the very way she had wished it; for, not long afterwards, she had a little boy, who was quite healthy and strong, but was not much bigger than my thumb. So they said, ‘Well, we cannot say we have not got what we wished for, and, little as he is, we will love him dearly.’ And they called him Thomas Thumb." -Intro to Tom Thumb
RECEPTION AND LEGACY
Kinder- und Hausmärchen was not an immediate bestseller, but its
popularity grew with each edition. The early editions attracted
lukewarm critical reviews, generally on the basis that the stories
were unappealing to children. The brothers responded with
modifications and rewrites in order to increase the book's market
appeal to that demographic. By the 1870s, the tales had increased
greatly in popularity, to the point that they were added to the
teaching curriculum in
In their research, the brothers made a science of the study of folklore (see folkloristics ), generating a model of research that "launched general fieldwork in most European countries", and setting standards for research and analysis of stories and legends that made them pioneers in the field of folklore in the 19th century.
Third Reich , the Grimms' stories were used to foster
nationalism, and the
Twentieth-century educators debated the value and influence of teaching stories that include brutality and violence, causing some of the more gruesome details to be sanitized. Dégh writes that some educators believe that children should be shielded from cruelty of any form; that stories with a happy ending are fine to teach, whereas those that are darker, particularly the legends, might pose more harm. On the other hand, some educators and psychologists believe that children easily discern the difference between what is a story and what is not and that the tales continue to have value for children. The publication of Bruno Bettelheim 's 1976 The Uses of Enchantment brought a new wave of interest in the stories as children's literature, with an emphasis on the "therapeutic value for children". More popular stories such as "Hansel and Gretel" and "Little Red Riding Hood" have become staples of modern childhood, presented in coloring books, puppet shows, and cartoons. Other stories, however, have been considered too gruesome and have not made a popular transition.
Regardless of the debate, the Grimms' stories have continued to be
resilient and popular around the world, although a recent study in
England appears to suggest that parents consider the stories to be
overly violent and inappropriate for young children, writes Libby
Copeland for Slate . Nevertheless, children remain enamored with grim
stories as the recent success of The Grimm Series by
The university library at the Humboldt University of
* Die beiden ältesten deutschen Gedichte aus dem achten Jahrhundert: Das Lied von Hildebrand und Hadubrand und das Weißenbrunner Gebet, (The Two Oldest German Poems of the Eighth Century: The Song of Hildebrand and Hadubrand and the Wessobrunn Prayer )—9th century heroic song, published 1812 * Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales)—seven editions, between 1812 and 1857 * Altdeutsche Wälder (Old German Forests)—three volumes between 1813 and 1816 * Der arme Heinrich von Hartmann von der Aue (Poor Heinrich by Hartmann von der Aue)—1815 * Lieder der alten Edda (Songs from the Elder Edda )—1815 * Deutsche Sagen ( German Sagas )—published in two parts between 1816 and 1818 * Irische Elfenmärchen—Grimms' translation of Thomas Crofton Croker 's Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, 1826 * Deutsches Wörterbuch (German Dictionary)—32 volumes published between 1852 and 1960.
* Grimm\'s law
* ^ A B C D E F G H Zipes 1988 , pp. 2–5
* ^ A B C D E F G Ashliman, D.L. "Grimm Brothers Home Page".
University of Pittsburgh . Retrieved 11 March 2012.
* ^ Frederick Herman George (Friedrich Hermann Georg; 12 December
1783 – 16 March 1784), Jacob , Wilhelm , Carl Frederick (Carl
Friedrich; 24 April 1787 – 25 May 1852), Ferdinand Philip (Ferdinand
Philipp; 18 December 1788 – 6 January 1845), Louis Emil (Ludwig
Emil; 14 March 1790 – 4 April 1863), Frederick (Friedrich; 15 June
1791 – 20 August 1792), Charlotte "Lotte" Amalie (10 May 1793 – 15
June 1833) and George Edward (Georg Eduard; 26 July 1794 – 19 April
* ^ Michaelis-Jena 1970 , p. 9
* ^ Herbert Scurla: Die Brüder Grimm,
* Alister, Ian; Hauke, Christopher, eds. (1998). Contemporary
Jungian Analysis. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-14166-6 .
* Bottigheimer, Ruth (1982). "Tale Spinners: Submerged Voices in
Fairy Tales". New German Critique. 27 (27): 141–150. JSTOR
487989 . doi :10.2307/487989 .
* Dégh, Linda (1979). "Grimm's Household Tales and its Place in the
Household". Western Folklore. 38 (2): 85–103.
* Haase, Donald (2008). "Literary
Fairy Tales". In Donald Haase. The
Greenwood encyclopedia of folktales and fairy tales. 2. Westport,
Connecticut : Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-33441-2 . CS1
maint: Uses editors parameter (link )
* Hettinga, Donald (2001). The Brothers Grimm. New York: Clarion.
ISBN 978-0-618-05599-9 .
* Jean, Lydie (2007). "Charles Perrault\'s Paradox: How Aristocratic
Fairy Tales became Synonymous with
* Carpenter, Humphrey; Prichard, Mari (1984). The Oxford Companion
to Children's Literature. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN
* Ihms, Schmidt M. (1975). "The
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