Sunday 3 February 2019

FEBRUARY'S AUTHOR by Sharon Tregenza


I need to start this post with a disclaimer because as you all know, Jacob and his brother Wilhelm, weren't the authors of the famous GRIMMS FAIRY TALES, they were the compilers. I thought they were interesting though, so...

Jacob Grimm was born on January 4th, 1785, in Hanau, Germany. He and his younger brother Wilhelm were academics who studied the folklore of their region. The stories were an amalgamation of oral and previously printed fairy tales. 

Jacob (on the right) and Wilhelm Grimm 

The Grimms' Fairy Tales was originally known as the Children's and Household Tales. The stories, which include, 'Sleeping Beauty', 'Snow White' and 'Little Red Riding Hood' have been retold in many different formats over the decades.

Originally the tales weren't meant for children at all. They often contained, sex, incest and violence. 

In 1830, King Ernest Augustus demanded oaths of allegiance from all professors in Gottingen. This included Jacob and Wilhelm who taught Germanic studies.
The brothers refused and they were made to leave the city and branded as political dissidents. They were forced to borrow money from friends to complete their story collection.

The brothers Grimm were buried next to each other in Berlin-Schoneberg, Germany. Two of Wilhelm's sons, were buried next to them.

Five interesting facts about Grimms' Fairy Tales:

1. The first story to be eliminated after the first edition was Hans Dumm, about a man who had the power to make women pregnant just by looking at them.

2. In some early versions Rumpelstiltskin "in his fury seized his left foot with both hands and tore himself in two."

3. In the first Cinderella, the sisters cut off bits of their feet to fit into the slipper and doves peck out their eyes.

4. The Frog King was originally transformed by being thrown against the wall, not kissed.

5. The newest version is 'Philip Pullman's, Grimm Tales for Young and Old.' He also includes some background for each story.



Ann Turnbull said...

But of COURSE Cinderella's sisters cut off first their toes and then their heels (or was it the other way round?) to fit into the slipper! You mean they've changed it?! I can't remember the other stories so well, but am quite sure I never encountered the one about Hans Dumm. Fascinating post, Sharon.

Nick Garlick said...

What a fascinating post. Thank you. I'm now going to look for the original stories and the Pullman versions.

Steve Gladwin said...

There's also some wildly anti-semitic tales, Sharon and a lot that aren't PC and - it has to be said - more than a few boring ones. I did read them all the other year and enjoyed the experience - although there's a huge percentage of funny tales which aren't always! The best things I've ever seen that were inspired by them were a wonderful BBC omnibus on the Grimms with some of the 'red in tooth and claw' happenings and best of all, Channel 4 and Jim Henson's The Storyteller.