200 years ago on December 12, 1812 the Brothers Grimm had their first volume of children stories “Children’s and Household Tales” published. Stories which should conquer the world, and put children and adults alike under a spell.
900 books were initially published in 1812. Eventually translated into 160 languages to this day, the collection of fairy tales is next to the Bible translated into German by Martin Luther the most famous book of German culture heritage. In 2005 the original books, the “Kasseler Handexemplare” became part of the UNESCO world heritage. (monumente Online, Magazin der deutschen Denkmalpflege)
Almost every child knows about Aschenputtel (Cinderella) , Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge (Snow White and the seven Dwarfs) , Dornroeschen (Sleeping Beauty) and Co. . Their stories became an inseparable part of many growing up.
Most of us grew up thinking that these were folk stories which were collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm by seeking out storytellers in homes and markets around Germany. Even though this is partly true, the Brothers Grimm were educated linguists and active researchers who didn’t stop with their inquiries at the German border (which actually didn’t exist yet at that time). Their research included also the entire Italian and French world of fairy tales from the 16th & 17th century, which strongly influenced their own collection of fairy tales.
The Grimm brothers revised their collections of stories many times, added more details, gave the stories a more enticing flavor and colloquial touches, and lastly made them also suitable for children. An interesting fact is, that after the first volume of 900 books was published, the success didn’t come as quickly as anticipated. It was not until their younger brother Emil Ludwig Grimm, an illustrator, enhanced the stories with lively pictures that the Grimm fairy tales rose in popularity. People now felt they could relate to the characters, and picture the places where the stories took place .
At the exhibition kids can discover in a very engaging way many of the famous Grimm fairy tales, but also learn a considerably lot about story writing in general. The show is highly interactive and kids are introduced to the building blocks of a compelling story. Seven different stations make the kids aware of what a captivating story entails. From having a hero and an antagonist, namely the bad guy; to animals, some magic and of course various challenges for the hero to overcome, and lastly the element of scare and fright, which cannot be missing in any case. By the end of the exhibit walk-through children and adults are invited to write and produce their own story with the help of a guideline.
This Sunday, June 3rd, the Goethe Institut Los Angeles invites to a special Fairy Tale Sunday with the free screening of 3 different movies. Find more information on it here. (Goethe-Institut Los Angeles,5750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100,Los Angeles, CA 90036, In German ,Free Admission, Info: +1 323 525 3388)
Should you be in Germany this year keep an eye open and look out for festivities that celebrate the Grimm year like the ones that are planned in Hessen from December 2012 on until September 2013 or check out the website www.grimm2013.de
MÄRCHENWALD AT THE GOETHE INSTITUT
Read up more on the Brothers Grimm and their anniversary: