200 Years Brothers’ Grimm Children’s and Household Tales

On December 20, 2012, the publication of the Brothers’ Grimm first volume of Children's and Household Tales celebrates its 200th anniversary. This work, which originated in the mindset of German romanticism, comprises the perhaps most renowned collection of fairy tales of the early nineteenth century. It is one of the most frequently translated works of German literature. During their first impressionable years, the Brothers Grimm lived and worked in different places in Hessen which all contributed to and influenced their work. Most important in this regard were the Hessian cities Hanau, where they were born, Steinau, where they spent their childhood as well as Kassel and Marburg, where they spent their school and study years. Accordingly, the Children's and Household Tales were collected and recorded in Hessen.

 

Alongside the worldwide success of their collection of fairy tales, the Brothers Grimm also acted as paragons in other respects: their technique of collecting fairy tales, legends, farces and animal epics became exemplary, abroad and at home. They were imitated as discoverers and editors of benchmarks of literature and law of the past, as explorers of myths, language historians, as well as originators of dictionaries (‘Wörterbuchmacher’).

The old narrative materials, myths and heroic epics of archaic cultures and earlier epochs, which are contemporarily reconditioned in fantasy novels, fascinate people until today. The Brothers Grimm contemplated the question, how the old and oldest narrative materials have to be treated and held opinions which are still controversially discussed today.

The 200th anniversary is occasion for an international congress at the University of Kassel, where all of these subjects are to be taken up and discussed. We expect and look forward to innovative research approaches to the works of the Brothers Grimm and to the various disciplines with which they occupied themselves and cordially invite academics to come to Kassel and contribute to this future-oriented research. The University of Kassel recently celebrated its 40th anniversary and is thus still comparably young, but it is already an integral part of the city. Kassel combines different aspects: On the one hand, it is a place with long-lasting roots but on the other hand, it is also a modern city where the famous exhibition of contemporary art, the documenta, takes place. Both, the University and Kassel, look forward to welcome guests and academics from all over the world.

Concomitant to the presentations and professional debates, a varied cultural and social programme, which focuses on the authentic Grimm locations in Kassel, will be prepared. Unfortunately, excursions in connection to the conference to Grimm locations in the wider surroundings cannot be offered.

But perhaps you will have a little time to explore the Hessian Grimm-landscape by yourself after the conference. Very recommendable are a visit to the Brothers’ Grimm House in Steinau (http://www.brueder-grimm-haus.de), with its versatile insights into the life and work of the Brothers Grimm and a newly designed fairytale landscape or a journey on the ‘Deutsche Märchenstraße’, the Fairy Tale Route, for example to Hanau (http://www.hanau.de/kultur/grimm/), the place of birth of the Brothers Grimm. But you can also visit fairytale places or hike, starting in Kassel, along the Fairy Tale Route. (http://www.nordhessen.de/en/index.html and see also deutsche-maerchenstrasse.com/en/home/startseite-routenverlauf.html)