Special Collection: The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together collected and published folklore. They are among the most well-known storytellers of folk tales, popularizing stories such as "Cinderella", "The Frog Prince", "Hansel and Gretel", "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin", and "Snow White". Their first collection of folk tales, Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.

The brothers spent their formative years first in the German town of Hanau. Their father's death in 1796, (when Jacob was eleven and Wilhelm ten), caused great poverty for the family and affected the brothers for many years. They both attended the University of Marburg and at the same time developed a curiosity for folklore, which grew into a lifelong dedication to collecting German folk tales.

The rise of romanticism in the 19th century revived interest in traditional folk stories and represented a pure form of national literature and culture to the brothers. With the goal of researching a scholarly treatise on folk tales, the brothers established a methodology for collecting and recording folk stories that became the basis for folklore studies. Between 1812 and 1857 their first collection was revised and published many times and grew from 86 stories to more than 200. In addition to writing and modifying folk tales, the brothers wrote collections of well-respected German and Scandinavian mythologies and in 1838 began writing a definitive German dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch), that remained incomplete in their lifetime.

The popularity of the Grimms' collected folk tales endured well beyond their lifetimes. The tales are available in more than 100 translations and have been adapted by filmmakers including Lotte Reiniger and Walt Disney, with films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty. In the mid-20th century the tales were used as propaganda by the Third Reich; later in the 20th century psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim reaffirmed the value of the work, in spite of the cruelty and violence in the original versions of some of the tales that were sanitized. [Biographic material courtesy wikipedia].

Contents of the George H. Doran US edition:

I.Hans in Luck
II.The Travelling Musicians
III.The Golden Bird
IV.The Fisherman and His Wife
V.The Tom-tit and the Bear
VI.The Twelve Dancing Princesses
VIII.Tom Thumb
IX.The Grateful Beasts
X.Jorinda and Jorindel
XI.The Wonderful Musician
XII.The Queen Bee
XIII.The Dog and the Sparrow
XIV.Frederick and Catherine
XV.The Three Children of Fortune
XVI.King Grisley-beard
XVII.The Adventures of Chanticleer and Partlet
XIX.The Elves and the Shoemaker
XX.The Turnip
XXI.Old Sultan
XXII.The Lady and the Lion
XXIII.The Jew in the Bush
XXIV.The King of the Golden Mountain
XXV.The Golden Goose
XXVI.Mrs. Fox
XXVII.Hansel and Grettel
XXVIII.The Giant with the Three Golden Hairs
XXIX.The Frog-prince
XXX.The Fox and the Horse
XXXII.The Goose-girl
XXXIII.Faithful John
XXXIV.The Blue Light
XXXVI.The Young Giant and the Tailor
XXXVII.The Crows and the Soldier
XXXIX.Hans and His Wife Grettel
XL.Cherry, or the Frog-bride
XLI.Mother Holle
XLII.The Water of Life
XLIII.Peter the Goatherd
XLIV.The Four Clever Brothers
XLV.The Elfin Grove
XLVI.The Salad
XLVII.The Nose
XLVIII.The Five Servants
L.The Robber-bridegroom
LI.The Three Sluggards
LII.The Seven Ravens
LIII.Roland and May-bird
LIV.The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage
LV.The Juniper Tree