Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm - Grimms Fairy Tales (1.1 MB)
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Fairy tale is an English language term for a type of short narrative corresponding to the French phrase conte de f'ee, the German term M"archen, the Italian fiaba, the Polish ba's'n or the Swedish saga. Only a small number of the stories thus designated explicitly refer to fairies. Nonetheless, the stories may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends and traditions (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables. Fairy tales typica... More >>>
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Fairy tale is an English language term for a type of short narrative corresponding to the French phrase conte de f'ee, the German term M"archen, the Italian fiaba, the Polish ba's'n or the Swedish saga. Only a small number of the stories thus designated explicitly refer to fairies. Nonetheless, the stories may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends and traditions (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables. Fairy tales typically feature such folkloric characters as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. Often the story will involve a far-fetched sequence of events. In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy tale ending" or "fairy tale romance" (though not all fairy tales end happily). Colloquially, a "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale. In cultures where demons and witches are perceived as real, fairy tales may merge into legends, where the narrative is perceived both by teller and hearers as being grounded in historical truth. However, unlike legends and epics, they usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and actual places, people, and events they take place once upon a time rather than in actual times. Fairy tales are found in oral and in literary form. The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace, because only the literary forms can survive. Still, the evidence of literary works at least indicates that fairy tales have existed for thousands of years, although not perhaps recognized as a genre the name "fairy tale" was first ascribed to them by Madame d'Aulnoy. Many of today's fairy tales have evolved from centuries-old stories that have appeared, with variations, in multiple cultures around the world. Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today. The older fairy tales were intended for an audience of adults as well as children, but they were associated with children as early as the writings of the pr'ecieuses the Brothers Grimm titled their collection Children's and Household Tales, and the link with children has only grown stronger with time. Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways. Among the most notable are the Aarne-Thompson classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp. Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales.
Jacob Grimm was a 19th century German scholar who, along with brother Wilhelm, published Grimms' Fairy Tales, a collection famous for its children's stories.
Jacob also pursued scholarly research on German language history, publishing the first edition of the book Deutsche Grammatik (German Grammar) in 1819. Jacob's further research on the rules governing certain languages of related origin led him to create a set of principles. Known as "Grimm's law", this method works to explain Indo-European linguistics.
By 1830, both Jacob and Wilhelm had obtained positions at the University of Gottingen, and Jacob soon published a highly influential book looking at the pre-Christian beliefs of Germanic communities. The two left the university in the mid-1830s--the result of being banished by the king of Hanover after they protested changes he'd made to the region's constitution.
In 1840, the brothers decided to settle in Berlin, Germany, where they became members of the Royal Academy of Science and lectured at university. They subsequently took on a massive project--a comprehensive dictionary of the German language. Both brothers died before the dictionary could be completed, and it was finished years later.
Influenced by German Romanticism, a prevailing movement of the time, the brothers robustly studied the folklore of their region, with an emphasis on recording village oral storytelling that was vanishing with the advent of new technology. Jacob's and Wilhelm's work culminated in the book Kinder-und Hausmarchen (Children's and Household Tales), the first volume of which was published in 1812. A second volume followed in 1815. The collection would later come to be known as Grimms' Fairy Tales.
Though the brothers wrote that the tales were taken primarily from German village oral traditions, the stories were in fact an amalgamation of oral and previously printed fairy tales, along with information shared by friends, family members and acquaintances, with non-German influences. Various editions of the tales would be produced over the next several decades. The work would also go on to be translated into dozens of languages, and become regarded as a pioneering force in the field of folkloric investigation.
Grimms' Fairy Tales, which includes works like Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty), Snow White and Rose Red, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin, have been retold in a wide variety of media formats over the past several decades--as such, the storylines have often been tweaked to fit varying ideas of what's appropriate for children. Much dialogue has been had about the violence contained in the stories' original forms, with controversy also arising over the anti-Semitic and anti-feminist themes found in some of the tales.
Jacob Grimm died on September 20, 1863, in Berlin, Germany. Throughout his career, he authored 29 books, eight of them with his brother.