Birth of Jacob Grimm

Jacob Grimm
4th January, 1785

On this day two hundred and twenty-seven years ago the German philologist, jurist and mythologist Jacob Grimm was born in the Hessian town of Hanau (at that time the outlying district of Main-Kinzig-Kreis was under Austrian domination being part of the Holy Roman Empire governed by the Habsburgs).
He and his brother Wilhelm (the Brothers Grimm) were editors of folklore. They gained international renown for the Grimms M√§rchen, the collection of eighty-six illustrated stories commonly known today as Grimm's Fairy Tales which included Snow White and Hansel & Gretel (the second volume added a further seventy stories). 

Adapted into films, many languages, animations and various age appropriate editions the books are widely recognized as founding works of Western culture. Ironically, the most significant criticism was that although they were called "Children's Tales", they were not regarded as suitable for children. 

The brothers also produced the monumental Deutsches W√∂rterbuch and Deutsche Mythologie, respectively the largest and most comprehensive dictionary of the German language and a mythology and beliefs of the Ancient Germanic peoples from their earliest attestations to their survivals in modern traditions, folktales and popular expressions. 

What is even less well known is that Jacob Grimm was more than just passionate about advancing German culture, he (and his brother) were unswerving advocates of a united Germany. 

When a spirit of Pan-Germanism was kindled by the revolution of 1848 he was enthustiatically elected to the Frankfurt National Parliament. But he soon resigned and returned with great relief to his studies, a move that perhaps revealed the idealistic nature of his system of thinking. At the age of seventy-eight, he died in Berlin in 1863, just four years before the unification of the North German Confederation and eight years before the creation of the German Empire.

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