9780681403123 / 0681403128

Grimms Fairy Tales


Publisher:Longmeadow Pr



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About the book:

In 1803, the Grimms met the Romantics Clemens Brentano and Ludwig Achim von Arnim at the University of Marburg. These two men stirred in the brothers an interest in ancient fairy tales. In Kassel they started to collect and write down tales that they alleged had been handed down for generations. Among their sources were Dorothea Viehmann, and two Huguenot families, Hassenpflug and Wild, who introduced them to several tales of French origin.

On December 20, 1812 they published the first volume of the first edition, containing 86 stories; the second volume of 70 stories followed in 1814. For the second edition, two volumes were issued in 1819 and a third in 1822, totaling 170 tales. The third edition appeared in 1837; fourth edition, 1840; fifth edition, 1843; sixth edition, 1850; seventh edition, 1857. Stories were added, and also subtracted, from one edition to the next, until the seventh held 211 tales.

The first volumes were much criticized because, although they were called "Children's Tales", they were not regarded as suitable for children, both for the scholarly information included and the subject matter. Many changes through the editionssuch as turning the wicked mother of the first edition in Snow White and Hansel and Gretel to a stepmother, were probably made with an eye to such suitability. They removed sexual references, such as Rapunzel's innocently asking why her dress was getting tight around her belly, and thus naively revealing her pregnancy and the prince's visits to her step mother, but, in many respects, violence, particularly when punishing villains, was increased.

The tales were also criticized for being insufficiently German; this not only affected the tales they included, but their language as they changed "Fee" (fairy) to an enchantress or wise woman, every prince to a king's son, every princess to a king's daughter. They also went to considerable effort to "reconstruct" the tales, merging variants (particularly fragmentary ones) and attempting to amend corruptions.

They also added a prologue discussing the extent to which such tales were not, in fact, German, citing the many English and Norwegian analogies to the tales they had collected, and that the most extensive similarities were to Serbian fairy tales; they pointed to the Indian and Persian equivalents as proof that the tales came with the languages as part of the Indo-European heritage.

In 1825 the Brothers published their Kleine Ausgabe or "small edition," a selection of 50 tales designed for child readers. This children's version went through ten editions between 1825 and 1858.

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