The Origins and Reception of the Tales

  • Jack Zipes


Though the Grimms made important discoveries in their research on ancient German literature and customs, they were neither the founders of folklore as a study in Germany, nor were they the first to begin collecting and publishing folk and fairy tales. In fact, from the beginning their principal concern was to uncover the etymological and linguistic truths that bound the German people together and were expressed in their laws and customs. As they progressed in their research and gradually realized through their historical investigations how deep the international and intercul-tural connections of the tales were, they altered many of their beliefs about what the “true” folk tale meant while at the same time they laid the basis for the exploration of national folklore in other countries. The fame and influence of the Brothers Grimm as collectors of folk and fairy tales must be understood in this context, and even here, chance played a major role in their destiny.


Literary Critic Oral Tradition Fairy Tale Ideal Style Folk Song 
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© Jack Zipes 2002

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  • Jack Zipes

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