Ludwig Karl Grimm & Wilhelm Karl Grimm were born on January 4 1785,
& February 24
1786, respectively, in
They were among a family of nine children, only six of whom survived infancy. Their early childhood was spent in the countryside in what has been described as an "idyllic" state.
When the eldest brother Jakob was eleven years old their father Philipp Wilhelm died & the family moved into a cramped urban residence. Two years later, the children's grandfather also died, leaving them & their mother to struggle in reduced circumstances.
The Brothers tended to idealize & excuse fathers, leaving a predominance of female villains in the tales—the infamous wicked stepmothers, for example, the evil stepmother & stepsisters in “Cinderella”, the nefarious crone in “Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs”, & the foster mother witch in “Rapunzel”. However, this opinion ignores the fact that the brothers were collectors of folk tales, not their authors.
In 1808, Jakob was named court librarian to the King of Westphalia, & in 1812 the Grimm brothers published their first volume of fairy tales, Kinder-und Hausmärchen. They had received their stories from peasants & villagers, & controversially from other sources such as already published works from other cultures & languages.
In their collaboration Jacob did more of the research, while Wilhelm, more fragile, put it into literary form & provided the childlike style.
Jakob Grimm (1785-1863) & Wilheim Grimm (1786-1859
Kinder-und Hausmärchen 1812-1815 Rotkäppchen
21st June 2005
The Brother Grimm’s Tales, translated into more than 160 languages, have been declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
They have been included in the register 'Memory of the World.'