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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1387 comments Mod
Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859)
Great grand-father and grandfather were Calvinist ministers; their father was a lawyer. This might explain the Christian overtones to some of the tales. In 1796, their father died and the brothers were sent to live with their Aunt in Kassel (Cassel). This was done, in part, to prepare them for university. It is during this period that Wilhelm suffers from illness. They had younger siblings, one of whom Ludwig, would become an artist. When the brothers attended the University at Warburg, they ended up studying Med. German Literature instead of law.
In 1805, Jacob traveled to Paris to assist Friedrich Karl Von Sovigny. Upon his return to Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm start collecting tales, sending some to Sovigny in 1808. During the Napoleonic rule, Jacob worked for the Commission of Army Provisioning as well as the librarian of King Jerome (Bonaparte’s brother). Upon Bonaparte’s lost in 1813, Jacob was sent first to Paris and then Vienna (1813-1815) to reclaim books that the Bonaparte’s had stolen from Germany (really Kassel and other German states). Afterwards, both brothers worked in the library of Kassel until 1829, earning honorary doctorates from Warburg, Berlin, and Breslau.
In 1825, Wilhelm married Dorothea Wild, one of the sources for some of the tales in the Grimm’s popular collection. The couple has four children.
In addition to working on various editions of their folklore collections, the Grimms did various scholarly work. They were offered jobs at the University of Gottingen but were eventually dismissed for refusing to swear an oath of loyalty to the Constitution of the State of Hanover. They were two of a group that refused to do so, earning the name The Gottingen Seven. After their dismissal, they lived with Brother Ludwig and survived off of a subscription set up for the Seven. In 1837-1840, Jacob works on a German dictionary. In 1840, the Grimms were invited to Berlin by the new king. They join the Academy of Sciences which gave them a stipend, allowing them to continue publishing scholarly works.

Kinder-und Hausmarchen (Children’s and Household Tales).
First published in 1812-1815. Most of the tales came from the Grimms friends (it almost seems like they used the exercise to met girls) as well as other middle class Kassel citizens. These people were largely descended from Protestants who had fled from France during the religious wars. This gives many of the fairy tales a French flavor or source. In later editions, the Grimms tried to make the stories more German (for instance, they dropped Bluebeard). This was in part because the Grimms wanted to install a national pride.
The second volume was largely influence by Dorothea Viekmann, a tailor’s widow. She becomes the image of mother goose.
In most cases, Whilem was responsible for redrafting/writing down the tales while Jacob would gather the information.
The collection set a standard for fairy tales, called Gattung Grimm (the Grimm Standard). The standard is one of trying to get tales back to their most authentic form but also keeping a smooth literary style.
Maria Tatar notes that the Grimms had two standard of behavior for male heroes and female heroines. The men were usually required to past a character test and have compassion, while the girls must show that they have become humbled and tested in terms of domestic skill.
It is worth noting that many of the tales were changed, most notably by making the mothers into stepmothers, removing anything suggestive, and making women more passive. For instance, in the original text of “The Girl with No Hands” the girl loses her breasts (see Jack Zipes excellent book).
It is also worth noting that the collection has always been popular and sometimes is politicized. Look for instance at illustrations for Red Riding Hood in the time building to WW II. During occupation, the tales were banned in German schools.

German Literary Fairy Tales
Most scholar sees German fairy tales as a mixture of a wider variety of sources such as sagas and ballads as well as folklore (for instance, “Maid Maleen” does resemble a saint’s tale). Additionally, many German tales are actually descended from French stories. The earliest books were chapbooks. IN 1560, the first German Cinderella appeared “A Pretty History of a Woman with Two Children”; however, tales concerning free food were far more popular.
Over a hundred years later, in 1669, Johann Jakob Christoph on Grimmelshausen published his “Bearskin” the first German literary tale to deal with the rise to power. In the 1700s fairy tales centered on magic were read mostly by the middle and upper classes.
In 1765, Gottlieb Wilhelm Rabener published the first German fairy tale collection. This was followed by the work of Christoph Wilhelm Guenther in 1787 (a collection of folk and fairy tales) as well as the work of Friedrich Justin Bertuch who in 1790-97 translated and published French salon stories. The Grimms were familiar with these works.


message 2: by Diane (new)

Diane Reed Thanks for posting--fascinating lives & history : )


message 3: by Katharina (new)

Katharina Gerlach | 10 comments "They were offered jobs at the University of Gottingen but were eventually dismissed for refusing to swear an oath of loyalty to the Constitution of the State of Hanover. They were two of a group that refused to do so, earning the name The Gottingen Seven."
This isn't entirely right. The Goettingen Seven didn't refuse to swear an oath on the Constitution. They wrote a letter where they complained about the King's abolition of a Constitution his father had agreed on shortly before his death. As far as I remember, they didn't even mean to publish it, but some politically active students obviously thought differently and copied and spread the letter.

The Hanoverian Constitution was extremely free thinking and gave more rights to the middle class of citizens. It's abolition was one issue (of many) that lead to the German Revolution of 1848. The letter of the Brothers Grimm and their fellows is still considered to be one of many triggers.


message 4: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4279 comments Mod
Wow, this is so interesting! Thanks for posting!


message 5: by Diane (new)

Diane Reed Amazing legacy!


message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1387 comments Mod
Katharina wrote: ""They were offered jobs at the University of Gottingen but were eventually dismissed for refusing to swear an oath of loyalty to the Constitution of the State of Hanover. They were two of a group t..."

Interesting, but I double checked my sources. I wonder why they phrased it the way they did.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

That's really cool. :)
As I understand it, Jacob Grimm also wrote a book on German grammar, and was really influential in linguistics...or something like that, I'm fuzzy on the details.


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