The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm were German academics who were best known for publishing collections of fairy tales and for their work in linguistics, relating to how the sounds in words shift over time.

They are among the best known story tellers of stories from Europe, allowing the widespread knowledge of such tales as Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel.

The stories collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the early 1800s serve up life as generations of central Europeans knew it—capricious and often cruel. The two brothers, patriots determined to preserve Germanan folktales, were only accidental entertainers.

Once they saw how the tales bewitched young readers, the Grimms, and editors aplenty after them, started “fixing” things. Tales gradually got softer, sweeter, and primly moral. Yet all the polishing never rubbed away the solid heart of the stories, now read and loved in more than 160 languages.