GRIMM, Jacob and Wilhelm

(1785 - 1863)
Once Upon a Time

The eldest of nine children, Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm was born in Hanau Germany in 1785, and his younger brother Wilhelm Carl a year later.  The early death of their father plunged the family into poverty and forced the two brothers to assume the adult responsibilities of caring for their siblings when still only children themselves.  The close bond between the brothers remained throughout their lives and they rarely strayed far from each other, either in their personal or professional lives.   The brothers also shared a love of folk lore, and with the rise of the German Romantic Movement and a renewed interest in popular folk culture, they decided to try and collect the stories which until then had only existed in the oral tradition.  They published their first collection of fairy tales in 1812 entitled Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales) which contained 86 stories.  Two years later they brought out a second volume containing a further 70 tales, and then continued to add to the collection until by the time Wilhem died in 1859 they had published over 200 different stories.   Grimm's "fairy tales," as they have come to be called, are known the world over and have been translated into 160 different languages.   Many of the stories reflect a simple moral truth, with malefactors receiving harsh punishments, although over the years more sensitive sensibilities have softened the often medieval barbarity of the tales.

The lasting appeal of Grimm’s Fairy Tales has been enhanced by the sheer number of illustrators who have wished to be associated with them, including such notables as Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen and Mabel Lucie Attwell, to name but a few.

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 Jacob and Wilhelm GRIMM

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