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Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm.

The Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), were German academics, philologists, cultural researchers, lexicographers, authors, and hunters who together specialized in researching, collecting and publishing folklore during the 19th century. They were among the best-known storytellers of folk tales, and popularized stories such as "Cinderella", "The Frog Prince", "The Goose-Girl", "Hansel and Gretel", "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin","Sleeping Beauty", and "Snow White".

The brothers spent their formative years in the German town of Hanau. Their father's death in 1796 caused great poverty for the family and affected the brothers for many years after. They both attended the University of Marburg where they developed a curiosity about German folklore, which grew into a lifelong dedication to collecting German folk tales as well as both hunting and studying German mythical creatures and beings. The rise of romanticism during the 19th century revived interest in traditional folk stories, which to the brothers represented a pure form of national literature and culture.

With the goal of researching a scholarly treatise on folk tales, they 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 republished many times, growing 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 they began writing a definitive German dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch), which they were unable to finish during their lifetimes.

The Grimms' legacy contains legends, novellas, and folk stories, the vast majority of which were not intended as children's tales. Von Armin was deeply concerned about the content of some of the tales, such as those which showed children being eaten, and suggested that they be removed. Instead, the brothers added an introduction with cautionary advice that parents steer children toward age-appropriate stories. Despite von Armin's unease, none of the tales were eliminated from the collection, in the brothers' belief that all the tales were of value and reflected inherent cultural qualities and would prove beneficial for future hunters of the supernatural.

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