Tales of Translation & Fairytales
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their first take on their famous fairytales in December 1812, originally written in German, and followed this with Volume 2 in 1815. Six more editions were published, however, as time went on, they continued to make their fantastical tales more ‘child-friendly’. The seventh edition, which is the best known one today and exists in translations in numerous languages around the globe, may have been quite different than the original.
The Brothers Grimm, as they’re most commonly known, were far from just the tellers of children’s story tales. They were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors who together specialised in collecting and publishing folklore during the 19th century.
But today, a new translation of the first edition exists in the world! Jack Zipes is a professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota and according to the Guardian, says he often wondered why the first edition of the tales had never been translated into English.
“Though the Grimms kept about 100 of the tales from the first edition, they changed them a good deal. So, the versions with which most English-speaking (and German-speaking) readers are familiar are quite different from the tales in the first edition,” he told the Guardian.