When the Brothers Grimm set out to collect stories, their goal was to preserve Germanic folktales—not amuse young children. The hard life of central European peasants was reflected in the often violent and cruel nature of their folktales. However, once the brothers saw how the tales entranced young readers, they began softening some of the harsher aspects to make them more suitable for children. Now beloved the world over, Grimm’s Fairy Tales is a cornerstone of Western culture.
This collection of over 120 of Grimm’s most beloved tales includes such timeless classics as “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “Hansel and Grethel,” “Rapunzel,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “The Frog Prince.” Rich in sense and imagery, these legendary stories still have the power to surprise and enchant.
“It is hardly too much to say,” remarked W. H. Auden, “that these tales rank next to the Bible in importance.”
Unlike Andersen, the Grimms did not invent new tales but collected old ones, with the intention of preserving the oral tradition of the German peasantry. Whether in fact they fulfilled that intention has been questioned. Their tales do afford a glimpse of a world of castles and forests, nobles and peasants, superstitious beliefs and primitive practices that suggest origins at least as old as feudal Europe, and often much older. Some of the tales have been traced back through the centuries by way of earlier versions until they disappear into prehistoric times.
About the Author
When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, aka the Brothers Grimm, set out to collect stories in the early 1800s, their goal was not to entertain children but to preserve Germanic folklore. Once the brothers saw how the stories entranced young readers, however, they began softening some of the harsher aspects to make them more suitable for children. A cornerstone of Western culture since the early 1800s, Grimm’s Fairy Tales is now one of the world’s most beloved books.
Place of Birth:Hanau, Germany
Place of Death:Berlin, Germany