Celebrating the Tales of the Grimms
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” —C.S. Lewis
That day may have come. In a sweet, 22-slide telling of the Little Red-Cap story [see the full text as a Project Gutenberg e-book], the Google homepage is the most recent celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales.
Recipients of honorary doctorates who published important scholarly works in linguistics and history, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are remembered for the hundreds of legends and folk tales they collected and published. The first volume of their two-volume Kinder- und Hausmärchen [Children's and Household Tales] came out in 1812. The second volume was published in 1814. Six more editions of these collected tales followed during the brothers’ lifetimes; 1857’s seventh edition became the text from which most translations and new editions would be produced (D.L. Ashliman, Grimm Brothers’ Home Page).
And new editions of the tales and works about the Grimm brothers are still being produced. Celebrated author Philip Pullman recently released his retelling of 50 of the stories in Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version. You can hear Pullman read his version of “The Robber Bridegroom” tale and discuss his book and the Grimm brothers’ work in a Guardian Books podcast.
If the visuals of the Google logo has you wanting more of the sometimes sweet and sometimes haunting images and art that have been inspired by the tales, look no further than The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm edited by Noel Daniel. As BrainPickings.org notes and illustrates, this gorgeous new edition brings together “the best illustrations from 130 years of The Brothers Grimm with 27 of the most beloved Grimm stories ... amidst artwork by some of the most celebrated illustrators from Germany, Britain, Sweden, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the United States working between the 1820s and 1950s.”
Never solely the purview of children, the tales were a work of scholarship and preservation that continues to delight and inspire readers, artists, and imaginations of all ages. You can explore some of them online right now: 12 of Grimms’ Fairy Tales on National Geographic and The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales on Project Gutenberg.