Biography of Brothers Grimm | German philologists and folklorists authors of a famous collection of folk tales entitled children's and household tales (1812-1822).

Jacob Grimm (Hanau, current Germany, 1785 - Berlin, 1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (Hanau, 1786 - Berlin, 1859). German philologists and folklorists authors of a famous collection of folk tales entitled children's and household tales (1812-1822). The countless modern reprints of this work often carry titles like the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and stories of the Brothers Grimm, as if the stories were his invention. In fact, much of his success as transcribers, and compilers of short oral tradition comes precisely their discretion (new at the time) to respect the freshness and spontaneity of the traditional tales, rather than submit them to contrived literary reworkings.

The Brothers Grimm
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were two older siblings from a total of six sons of a lawyer and pastor of the Calvinist Church. Following the footsteps of his father, studied law at the University of Marburg (1802-1806), where he began an intense relationship with the poet and folklorist Clemens Brentano, who introduced them to popular poetry, and the jurist and historian of the right Friedrich Karl von Savigny, which started them on a method of investigation of texts which was the basis of his later work. The exaltation of the philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder anonymous traditional literature, on the other hand, decisively influenced his ideas about poetry and the popular narrative, to which granted greater than cultured literature as genuine expression of the spirit of the people.
Between 1812 and 1822, the Brothers Grimm published stories children's & home, a collection of stories collected from different traditions often known as the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. The major success of the Brothers Grimm was to keep this publication the original character of the stories, preserving its liveliness and freshness to renounce any temptation to literary adaptation. This compilation was followed by another one of historical Germanic legends, German legends (1816-1818).
Thereafter followed, for a few years, separate paths: Wilhelm Grimm concentrated on the study of the medieval tradition, while Jacob Grimm turned to Philology with a very important work on the history of the language, German grammar (1819-1837), which would exert great influence on the contemporary studies of historical and Comparative Linguistics.
In 1829 the Grimm brothers moved to the University of Göttingen, and of this, invited in 1840 by King Federico Guillermo IV of Prussia, Berlin, as members of the Royal Academy of Sciences. There they began its most ambitious enterprise, the German dictionary, a very rich and complex work which only published the first volume. The continuation of this great work required the efforts of several generations of scholars, and was not completed until the beginning of the 1960's.
The tales of the Brothers Grimm
Children's and household tales They were published between 1812 and 1822, in three volumes. The collection of poems and popular songs the wonderful child's horn, Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, gave the idea of preparing a collection of folk tales to the Brothers Grimm. According to the purpose of the Grimm, this work had to be above all a monument erected to popular literature, a document that smart mouth of the people the little that had survived the great Germanic medieval production and which constituted the national tradition which assumed lost. His main sources were, as well as memories of his own childhood and his friends, the simple people of the village who were questioning; in the city of Kassel, for example, the daughter of the pharmacist Wild repeated them many stories heard in his childhood from mouth of "old Mary".

Illustration of the story brother and sister in the edition of 1819
To transcribe these stories they sought to faithfully preserve not only plot, but also the tone and expressions that those people were served. Although in some cases they had to intervene to clarify ambiguous or confusing passages, was respected the most spontaneous simplicity of storytelling and oral style, thereby inaugurating the modern ethnographic methods. Such rigor lacked precedent: until then, educated authors and literati (as Johann Karl August Musäus) it had served folk tales as a basic structure or starting point to make a stylistic and literary, reprocessing that could crimp further moral wanderings or poetic allusions.
Only in a second time also exploited the Brothers Grimm of literary sources (i.e., from stories reported by authors like Luther, Hans Sachs, Moscherosch or Jung-Stilling), but struggling to find variations and literary embellishments primitive ingenuity of plot and style (Proverbs, repetitions), guided above all by his poetic instinct. It has been said that these stories have become really popular through the book of the Brothers Grimm. It is true that they knew to give them as much freshness that few books do to immediately revive the mysterious and deep intimacy of the Germanic nature, allowing you to feel it with the spirit with which she goes the German people.
The bulk of the Fables you can rid a moral teaching or a practice lesson, but the charm and value of these tales resides first and foremost in its authentic popular inspiration. They are part of this collection of more than two hundred short stories, including such famous narrations as snow white, Cinderella, Tom Thumb, John lucky, legend of the Pixies, Miller's daughter, Little Red Riding Hood, Rabanita, in search of fear, the Bremen town musicians or Blue beard.
Although according to the work the idea of its compilers it was not intended to be a children's book, Goethe, just there to read it, Stein wrote that was written "to make children happy", and can be considered a great literary of early 19th century German event, because since then became the book par excellence of German children with which generations and generations formed his soul. However, the success of translations eventually become universal: the 200th anniversary of its publication estimated that 1 billion copies in hundred and seventy languages, had edited a broadcast higher even than the work of another great classic of children's literature, the Dane Hans Christian Andersen.
The collection of the Brothers Grimm gave rise to a controversy of some importance with Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim. The two poets (who in his collection of folk songs had preceded contrary to the Grimm, formally merging them instead of respecting the style and popular expressiveness), found disheveled and poor the writing of these stories. This was due to that, while Arnim and Brentano not distinguishing between folk poetry and artistic poetry and recognized for one and one equal rights, the Grimm believed that literary poetry could only strive (although always uselessly) to resemble the traditional one, which, represented by the great epics or the cuentecitos, was infinitely superior and was equipped with a metaphysical poetic force prior to the same humanity.
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