For Christmas this year, I gifted myself a copy of the first edition Grimms’ kinder- und Hausmärchen [1812-1815], and, for today’s adventure, I’ve spent some time reading it.
If you’re a fan of the Brothers Grimm, it’s likely that the version of the stories you know and love come from the seventh edition of this collection of folk and fairy tales – and not the first.
An American scholar by the name of Jack Zipes set about translating and editing the first edition – and it’s a fascinating read! In the first edition, the Brothers Grimm tried to remain as faithful as they could to the original stories. This means that there are often notable difference between the tales we know today and the originals.
Many of the tales in the first edition don’t shy away from reality. Some are gruesome and almost Kafkaesque. The baddy is not the stepmother – rather the mother. What our childhood memory insists are very long tales are often only paragraph or two long. Oh – and Rapunzel … well she had a “merry time” with the prince and got herself pregnant!
In the introduction, Jack Zipes does not shy away from giving credit to the Brothers Grimm for prettying up the stories. They are undoubtedly great craftsmen. However, it is also clear that the later tellings bow to the cultural and social pressures of the day.
I like the rawness of the first edition and I like the fact that there isn’t always a happy ending. For me – that is life – and that is how I like to write my stories too. Today’s adventure has helped me to add to the simmering pot of storylines I have on the cooker – and added to a sense of kinship with the people who told those original tales … not the sanitised ones.
You can find The Complete First Edition ~ The Original Folk And Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm on Amazon here.
I am just going outside and may be some time.