Cinderella does not have a Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty does not have an evil stepmother, Rapunzel is pregnant and Frog Princes do not get kissed but thrown against walls.
This is the world of the Brothers Grimm – two German siblings who in 1812 published a collection of fairy tales including Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel. They may not be the fairy tales as we know them, but without the Brothers Grimm we might not know them at all.
But why did two respectable German linguists go chasing after fairy stories, what do the stories tell us about German culture and nationalism at the time and why do these ever-evolving tales of horror, wonder and fantasy continue to hold us in thrall?
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