The Brothers Grimm or Die Gebrüder Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together collected and published folklore. They are among the most well-known storytellers of folk tales, popularizing stories such as "Cinderella" "(Aschenputtel)", "The Frog Prince" ("Der Froschkönig"), "Hansel and Gretel" ("Hänsel und Gretel"), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin" ("Rumpelstilzchen"), and "Snow White" ("Schneewittchen"). Their first collection of folk tales, Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.
The brothers spent their formative years first in the German town of Hanau. Their father's death in 1796, (when Jacob was eleven and Wilhelm ten), caused great poverty for the family and affected the brothers for many years. They both attended the University of Marburg and at the same time developed a curiosity for folklore, which grew into a lifelong dedication to collecting German folk tales.
The rise of romanticism in the 19th century revived interest in traditional folk stories and represented a pure form of national literature and culture to the brothers. With the goal of researching a scholarly treatise on folk tales, the brothers established a methodology for collecting and recording folk stories that became the basis for folklore studies. Between 1812 and 1857 their first collection was revised and published many times and grew from 86 stories to more than 200. In addition to writing and modifying folk tales, the brothers wrote collections of well-respected German and Scandinavian mythologies and in 1808 began writing a definitive German dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch), that remained incomplete in their lifetime.
The popularity of the Grimms' collected folk tales endured well beyond their lifetimes. The tales are available in more than 100 translations and have been adapted by filmmakers including Lotte Reiniger and Walt Disney, with films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty.
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