Jakob Grimm

GrimmsBest Known for writing Grimm’s Fairy Tales, German philologist and folklorist Jakob Grimm sadly died 20 September 1863. born 4th January 1785 in Hanau, in Hesse-Kassel. His father, Philipp Grimm, was a lawyer, but he died while Jacob was a child, and his mother was left with very small means. His mother’s sister was lady of the chamber to the Landgravine of Hesse, and she helped to support and educate her numerous family. Jacob was sent to the public school at Kassel in 1798 with his younger brother Wilhelm (born on 24 February 1786).

In 1802, he proceeded to the University of Marburg where he studied law, a profession for which he had been destined by his father. His brother joined him at Marburg a year later, having just recovered from a long and severe illness, and likewise began the study of law. Grimm’s thirst for knowledge, was piqued by the lectures of Friedrich Karl von Savigny, the celebrated investigator of Roman law, who first taught him to realize what it meant to study any science, as Wilhelm Grimm himself says in the preface to the Deutsche Grammatik (German Grammar). Savigny’s lectures also awakened in him a love for historical and antiquarian investigation, which forms the structure of all his work. The two men became personally acquainted, and it was in Savigny’s well-stocked library that Grimm first turned over the leaves of Bodmer’s edition of the Middle High German minnesingers and other early texts, and felt an eager desire to penetrate further into the obscurities and half-revealed mysteries of their language.

In the beginning of 1805, he received an invitation from Savigny, who had moved to Paris, to help him in his literary work. Grimm passed a very happy time in Paris, strengthening his taste for the literatures of the Middle Ages by his studies in the Paris libraries. Towards the close of the year, he returned to Kassel, where his mother and Wilhelm had settled, the latter having finished his studies. The next year, he obtained a position in the war office with the very small salary of 100 thalers. One of his grievances was that he had to exchange his stylish Paris suit for a stiff uniform and pigtail. But he had full leisure for the pursuit of his studies.

In 1808, soon after the death of his mother, he was appointed superintendent of the private library of Jérôme Bonaparte, King of Westphalia, into which Hesse-Kassel had been incorporated by Napoleon. Bonaparte appointed him an auditor to the state council, while Grimm retained his superintendent post. After the expulsion of Bonaparte and the reinstatement of an elector, Grimm was appointed Secretary of Legation in 1813,  In 1814, he was sent to Paris to demand restitution of books carried off by the French, and he also attended the Congress of Vienna as Secretary of Legation, 1814–1815. Upon his return from Vienna, he was sent to Paris a second time to secure book restitutions. Meanwhile, Wilhelm had received an appointment to the Kassel library, and Jacob was made second librarian under Volkel in 1816. In 1829 they moved to Göttingen, where Jacob received the appointment of professor and librarian, and Wilhelm that of under-librarian. Jacob Grimm lectured on legal antiquities, historical grammar, literary history, and diplomatics, explained Old German poems, and commented on the Germania of Tacitus.

Grimm joined other academics (known as the Göttingen Seven) who signed a protest against the King of Hanover’s abrogation of the constitution which had been established some years before. As a result, he was dismissed from his professorship and banished from the Kingdom of Hanover in 1837. He returned to Kassel with his brother, who had also signed the protest. They remained there until 1840, when they accepted an invitation from the King of Prussia to move to Berlin, where they both received professorships and were elected members of the Academy of Sciences. Jacob was not under any obligation to lecture and he seldom did so, but spent his time working together with his brother on their great dictionary. During their time in Kassel, Jacob regularly attended the meetings of the academy, where he read papers on widely varied subjects. The best-known of those subjects are Lachmann, Schiller, old age, and the origin of language. He also described his impressions of Italian and Scandinavian travel, interspersing his more general observations with linguistic details, as is the case in all his works. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1857.

Grimms Fairy Tales was published in 1812 by the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm. (German: Grimms Märchen).The first volume of the first edition contained 86 stories; the second volume of 70 stories followed in 1814. For the second edition, two volumes were issued in 1819 and a third in 1822, totalling 170 tales. The third edition appeared in 1837; fourth edition, 1840; fifth edition, 1843; sixth edition, 1850; seventh edition, 1857. Stories were added, and also subtracted, from one edition to the next, until the seventh held 211 tales. All editions were extensively illustrated, first by Philipp Grot Johann and, after his death in 1892, by Robert Leinweber.

the first volumes were much criticized because, although they were called “Children’s Tales”, they were not regarded as suitable for children, both for the scholarly information included and the subject matter. Many changes through the editions – such as turning the wicked mother of the first edition in Snow White and Hansel and Gretel (shown in original Grimm stories as Hansel and Grethel) to a stepmother, were probably made with an eye to such suitability. They removed sexual references—such as Rapunzel’s innocently asking why her dress was getting tight around her belly, and thus naïvely revealing her pregnancy and the prince’s visits to her stepmother—but, in many respects, violence, particularly when punishing villains, was increased.

The influence of these books was widespread. W. H. Auden praised the collection, during World War II, as one of the founding works of Western culture. The tales themselves have been put to many uses. The Nazis praised them as folkish tales showing children with sound racial instincts seeking racially pure marriage partners, and so strongly that the Allied forces warned against them; for instance, Cinderella with the heroine as racially pure, the stepmother as an alien, and the prince with an unspoiled instinct being able to distinguish. Writers who have written about the Holocaust have combined the tales with their memoirs, as Jane Yolen in her Briar Rose.

the work of the Brothers Grimm influenced other collectors, both inspiring them to collect tales and leading them to similarly believe, in a spirit of romantic nationalism, that the fairy tales of a country were particularly representative of it, to the neglect of cross-cultural influence. Among those influenced were the Russian Alexander Afanasyev, the Norwegians Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, the English Joseph Jacobs, and Jeremiah Curtin, an American who collected Irish tales.There was not always a pleased reaction to their collection. Joseph Jacobs was in part inspired by his complaint that English children did not read English fairy tales; in his own words, “What Perrault began, the Grimms completed”. Three individual works of Wilhelm Grimm include Altdänische Heldenlieder, Balladen und Märchen (‘Old Danish Heroic Lays, Ballads, and Folktales’) in 1811, Über deutsche Runen (‘On German Runes’) in 1821, and Die deutsche Heldensage (‘The German Heroic Legend’) in 1829.

Among the best known of Grimm’s Fairy Tales are: Snow White, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood, The Riddle, Mother Hulda, The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich, Cat and Mouse in Partnership, Mary’s Child, The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids, Trusty John or Faithful John,The Good Bargain,The Wonderful Musician or The Strange Musician,The Twelve Brothers, The Pack of Ragamuffins, The Three Little Men in the Wood, The Three Snake-Leaves, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Seven Ravens, Clever Elsie, The White Snake, The Valiant Little Tailor, The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage, Town Musicians of Bremen, The Singing Bone, The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs,The Louse and the Flea,Thumbling (Tom Thumb), Thumbling’s Travels and The Elves and the Shoemaker. many of the stories have also been adapted for film and television.

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