SIGNIFICANT WORKS BY THE BROTHERS ... - Expedition Grimm

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SIGNIFICANT WORKS BY THE BROTHERS ... - Expedition Grimm

SIGNIFICANT WORKS BY THE BROTHERS

GRIMM

Works by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

The Two Oldest German Poems of the Eighth Century: The Song of Hildebrand and

Hadubrand and the Wessobrunn Prayer (Die beiden ältesten deutschen Gedichte aus dem

achten Jahrhundert: Das Lied von Hildebrand und Hadubrand und das Weißenbrunner Gebet,

1812)

Two of the earliest examples of German poetry provided the content for the first

collaborative publication by the Brothers Grimm: The Song of Hildebrand and the

Weißenbrunn or Wessobrunn Prayer. The Grimms were the first men to issue a critical

edition of these texts, which were aimed primarily at an expert readership. Contrary to what

the Grimms claim in their title, both these works date from the ninth century.

Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen, 1812/1815)

With their Children's and Household Tales, published in December 1812 (Vol. 2 in 1815), the

Grimms were the first to issue a collection of fairy tales with an academic purpose. The fairy

tales were obtained not only through the spoken voice; the brothers also pieced them

together from books, or were sent them in writing as letters. The oral contributions were

mainly delivered by young ladies of the bourgeoisie. After the first edition, Wilhelm in

particular re-edited the fairy tales. He softened indecent content and polished the texts

stylistically. Right up to his death, he left no reprint unaltered. In 1825 the brothers issued a

Kleine Ausgabe or "small edition", including 50 tales with illustrations by Ludwig Emil Grimm.

It was this illustrated version which first sparked the success of the Children's and Household

Tales.

German Dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch, 1854 to 1960)

In their German Dictionary, Jacob and Wilhelm wanted to record all words, “from Luther to

Goethe”, and to this end they collected countless sources. They anticipated it being a tenyear

project, yet the brothers were unable to finish the dictionary in their own lifetime. The

volumes edited by them extend from the letter A through to the word “Frucht” (fruit) –

Jacob’s final entry. Started in 1838, it was finally completed in 1960, thanks to inputs from

many different authors. The finished product encompasses 16 volumes, which are further

EXPEDITION GRIMM Press contacts

The Office of the Hessen State Exhibition

Mirjam Flender, Silke Günnewig, c/o projekt2508 Gruppe

Riesstraße, 10 53113 Bonn, Germany

presse@expedition-grimm.de

www.expedition-grimm.de, www.grimm2013.de


sub-divided into 32 parts. And the project is still fully relevant today, even after its

completion. While the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the Academy of

Sciences in Göttingen have been revising the dictionary since 1957, the University of Trier

has completed the comprehensive digitisation of the work.

Works by Jacob Grimm

German Grammar (Deutsche Grammatik, 1819-1837)

How do the Germanic languages fit together and what developments have they passed

through? Jacob Grimm examined these questions in his German Grammar, the four volumes

of which stretch to several thousand pages, and in doing so he created an important

philological work. It was here that he first elaborated his law of the Germanic sound shift

which is today universally known among philologists in English as Grimm’s Law. The law

describes the process through which Indo-Germanic consonants developed into the

Germanic system of consonants.

German Legal Antiquities (Deutsche Rechtsalterthümer, 1828)

In this work of about a thousand pages, Jacob Grimm the lawyer collected together, for the

first time, local German legal traditions and legal rulings. He had already started to gather

material for this book as early as 1813. In his own words, of all his works, this was the one

that gave him “the most pleasure to write”. In recognition of the Deutsche

Rechtsalterthümer, Jacob received doctorates from the Universities of Berlin and Breslau.

Reynard the Fox (Reinhart Fuchs, 1834)

The epic poem about Reinhart, Reineke or Reynard the Fox has been familiar in several

European countries since the Middle Ages. Jacob Grimm edited the different versions of the

story and researched the relationships and traditions. He assumed that the tale of the fox

must be a common factor to all Indo-Germanic peoples – an idea which later research failed

to corroborate.

German Mythology (Deutsche Mythologie, 1835)

Following the German Legal Antiquities, Jacob compiled yet another wide-ranging

compendium in the shape of this German Mythology. His aim was to describe the religious

beliefs held by the German tribes before their conversion to Christianity. The product of just

EXPEDITION GRIMM Press contacts

The Office of the Hessen State Exhibition

Mirjam Flender, Silke Günnewig, c/o projekt2508 Gruppe

Riesstraße, 10 53113 Bonn, Germany

presse@expedition-grimm.de

www.expedition-grimm.de, www.grimm2013.de


three years’ effort, this book uses folklore, fairy tales, legal antiquities and legends to paint a

comprehensive picture of the Germanic mythology.

Jacob Grimm on his dismissal (1838)

In 1837, together with five other professors at the University of Göttingen, Jacob and

Wilhelm Grimm protested against the suspension of the constitution by the new king of

Hanover. As a result of their public protest, the Göttingen Seven were dismissed from their

posts. Six of the seven professors subsequently wrote statements of their opinion. In his

justification piece, My Dismissal, Jacob addresses both the king’s breach of the constitution

and the stance taken by the university. Wilhelm edited the text but because of his continued

residency in Göttingen he chose not to be named as a co-author.

EXPEDITION GRIMM Press contacts

The Office of the Hessen State Exhibition

Mirjam Flender, Silke Günnewig, c/o projekt2508 Gruppe

Riesstraße, 10 53113 Bonn, Germany

presse@expedition-grimm.de

www.expedition-grimm.de, www.grimm2013.de

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