Grimm's Fairy Tales

Category: Fiction

Keywords: Short Stories, Classics, Germanic Literature

Published: 05/14/2013

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Words: 104,103

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Grimm's Fairy Tales

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The first volume of the first edition was published, containing 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.

In 1825 the Brothers published their Kleine Ausgabe or "small edition", a selection of 50 tales designed for child readers. This children's version went through ten editions between 1825 and 1858.

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About the Author

Wilhelm took great delight in music, for which his brother had but a moderate liking, and had a remarkable gift of story-telling. Cleasby, in the account of his visit to the brothers quoted above, relates that “Wilhelm read a sort of farce written in the Frankfort dialect, depicting the ‘malheurs’ of a rich Frankfort tradesman on a holiday jaunt on Sunday. It was very droll, and he read it admirably.” Cleasby describes him as “an uncommonly animated, jovial fellow.” He was, accordingly, much sought in society, which he frequented much more than his brother.

From 1837-1841, the Grimm Brothers joined five of their colleague professors at the University of Göttingen to form a group known as the Göttinger Sieben (The Göttingen Seven). They protested against Ernst August, King of Hanover, whom they accused of violating the constitution. All seven were fired by the king.

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