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Jack Zipes, a legend in Folklore and Fairy tales, discusses The Brothers Grimm

Grimm Legacies 

In Grimm Legacies, esteemed literary scholar Jack Zipes explores the legacy of the Brothers Grimm in Europe and North America, from the nineteenth century to the present. Zipes reveals how the Grimms came to play a pivotal and unusual role in the evolution of Western folklore and in the history of the most significant cultural genre in the world—the fairy tale.

Folklorists Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm sought to discover and preserve a rich abundance of stories emanating from an oral tradition, and encouraged friends, colleagues, and strangers to gather and share these tales. As a result, hundreds of thousands of wonderful folk and fairy tales poured into books throughout Europe and have kept coming. Zipes looks at the transformation of the Grimms’ tales into children’s literature, the Americanization of the tales, the “Grimm” aspects of contemporary tales, and the tales’ utopian impulses. He shows that the Grimms were not the first scholars to turn their attention to folk tales, but were vital in expanding readership and setting the high standards for folk-tale collecting that continue through the current era. Zipes concludes with a look at contemporary adaptations of the tales and raises questions about authenticity, target audience, and consumerism.

With erudition and verve, Grimm Legacies examines the lasting universal influence of two brothers and their collected tales on today’s storytelling world.

When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Cinderella” would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezsö.

From “The Frog King” to “The Golden Key,” wondrous worlds unfold—heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique—they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms’ later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes’s introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms’ prefaces and notes.

A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers

Education and positions

Jack Zipes completed a B.A. in Political Science (1959), and a M.A. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, (1960). From there, Zipes studied at the University of Munich in 1962 and the University of Tübingen in 1963. He completed a PhD in comparative literature at Columbia University in 1965. Zipes taught at various institutions before heading the Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch at the University of Minnesota. He has translated the complete 1857 edition of fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.

Previous Books by Jack Zipes

  • Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales, 1979
  • Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion: The Classical Genre for Children and the Process of Civilization, 1985
  • The Complete Fairy Tales of Brothers Grimm, 1987
  • Beauties, Beasts and Enchantments: Classic French Fairy Tales, 1989
  • The Operated Jew, 1991
  • Fairy Tale As Myth Myth As Fairy Tale, 1994
  • Creative Storytelling: Building Community/Changing Lives, 1995
  • Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children and the Culture Industry, 1997
  • Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children's Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter, 2000
  • The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World, 2002
  • The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World, 2003
  • Speaking Out: Storytelling and Creative Drama for Children, 2004
  • Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre, 2006
  • Literature and Literary Theory: Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion, 2011
  • The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre, 2012

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