First Advisor

Louis Elteto

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German




Folklore and children, Kinder- und Hausmèarchen



Physical Description

1 online resource (64, [6] p.)


Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm prided themselves on the notion that their collection of fairy tales, the Kinder-und Hausmarchen, was poetry from the Volk. Through their collection they sought to preserve the culture of a Germany disrupted by Napoleon. Although the Grimm brothers did not originally set out to write children's literature, it became a natural progression for their fairy tales to be used for children. The Grimms were certain that their fairy tales should be read to children. They saw the naturalness in their tales, thereby claiming that the Kinder-und Hausmarchen would be a good "Erziehungsbuch." As people began to analyze fairy tales in relation to children, several reasons for their importance stand out: they present a child-like world view; they are naturally liked by children; they encourage the imagination; and they present a world of justice, with evil being punished and good rewarded. A central criticism of Grimm fairy tales since the original publication in 1812 has been violence that they contain. Often times the evident gruesomeness is in the form of punishment of the villain. True to the nature of the Grimm brothers, some scholars feel that the essence of fairy tales embodies extremes, such as harsh punishments and wonderful rewards. Differing perspectives have developed on how one should view fairy tales in relation to children. The first view is that one should take them as they are, unaltered, as the Grimms naturally recorded them; the second perspective is that one should not read them at all because of their extremes and gruesomeness; the third standpoint expresses caution, suggesting age-appropriate selections; and the fourth group sees the need to alter them into different renditions, as in the films of Walt Disney. Because the Grimm brothers set the standard for the genre of the fairy tale, one should give children Grimms' Miirchen unaltered. The Grimm brothers felt their fairy tales came directly from the Volk and that the natural lessons that grow out of them make them appropriate for both child and adult.


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