Grimms' Fairy Tales Form and Content

Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Grimm’s Fairy Tales as the collection is known today is the Grimms’ seventh and final edition, published in 1857. It contains 210 tales, excluding 32 from previous editions. All 242 tales appear in numbered sequence in Jack Zipes’s English translation, The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1987). The tales vary in length and complexity. Wilhelm Grimm improved them over the years by adding more dialogue, which brings the tales to life. Many of the characters and creatures also speak in catchy rhymes that are easily remembered.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, known as the Brothers Grimm, collected the tales from acquaintances and from previous collections in German and other languages, most notably Charles Perrault’s Histoires: Ou, Contes du temps passé, avec des moralités (1697; Histories: Or, Tales of Past Times, 1729), commonly known in French as Contes des fées or Contes de ma mère l’oye and in English as Perrault’s Fairy Tales or Tales of Mother Goose. Therefore, it was inevitable that they would find different versions of the same tale. Where the variations are substantial, they appear as separate tales but are grouped together.

Some elements common to many of the tales are recognizable as standard fairy-tale formulae. Protagonists are apprenticed or locked in towers for seven years, and they must accomplish three tasks to break a spell. They are...

(The entire section is 492 words.)