Cinderella, Snow White, Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty), Rumplestiltskin, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel–these are just a few of the countless characters Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm made famous in their collected works known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Young Adult Mag: The world of fantasy literature owes you endless thanks.
Jacob Grimm: Thank you, that’s very kind.
YA: Tell us a bit about how you got started.
Wilhelm Grimm: My brother and I studied medieval German literature at university. Through these studies we became very interested in history and philosophy.
JG: We were always in the company of learned men. We both eventually became librarians, which is when we started to publish our collections.
YA: When did you first publish your first volume of stories?
WG: In 1812. Although that version was not well received as a collection of children’s stories.
YA: Why is that?
WG: Because the stories we studied and adapted were at times very shocking! And we wanted to be true to our culture and our history.
YA: What’s a lesser known Grimm’s Fairy Tale that we should know about?
JG: I don’t believe “King Thrushbeard” is commonly known. It’s a tale of a scornful princess who learns humility by marrying a man below her station.
YA: What do you think about the contemporary television programs Once Upon a Time? The creators of that program have woven together many of your classic tales.
WG: I think it’s interesting to think of all our characters existing together in the same place and time. I think a lot of our characters would have been allies, just as they are on the program.