20 December 1812: The Brothers Grimm publish their first book of fairy tales

I think I shall do something different this time, because I have more than one story waiting to be told.  So, from this introduction, I shall link to those stories as they are ready. – The P.t.a.r.a. Cavy

The Brothers Grimm didn’t originally have the idea to publish folktales.  No, they heard an appeal from another writer, who was looking for traditional tales.

Their first attempt was rejected.  The publisher who the brothers sent the story too held on to it, and it wasn’t published until both Grimms were dead.Brothers Grimm monument, Hanau, Germany

Years later, they went from town to town, collecting stories in Germany.  Again, these stories were not their idea, they were meant to be folk tales that had existed for ages.

Other writers had some a similar thing, but embellished their stories, adding something personal.  The Brothers Grimm didn’t believe in this, they were more of academics.

So, when on December 20, 1812, they finally got a group of tales published, those tales were meant to be purely as the Brothers heard them.  No spicing things up to meet the demands of the market.  They treated the tales as non-fiction.

Perhaps they’d be turning in their graves if they saw not only the Disney and other adaptations of the tales they collected, but also the recent fictional movie made about them.

Well, later editions appear to show that the Brothers slowly let go of their purist streak, and eventually gave in to market forces.  No longer remembered as academics, we now see the Brothers are writers.

For another take on how the stories have gained a life of their own, check out this post by Nigel Lewis-Davidson.  And through the work or Christie Birmingham we have us three Grimm tales in one poem.

Watch this space for more stories related to the Brothers Grimm first publication.

(image credits: © Chernov | Dreamstime.com )

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