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Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales

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Most people know the stories of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, but very few know that behind the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales stood a network of sisters-and mothers, neighbors, and female friends. In this intimate history, Valerie Paradiz tells the real story of the greatest literary collaboration of the nineteenth century, and gives the long-lost narrators of the Most people know the stories of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, but very few know that behind the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales stood a network of sisters-and mothers, neighbors, and female friends. In this intimate history, Valerie Paradiz tells the real story of the greatest literary collaboration of the nineteenth century, and gives the long-lost narrators of these beloved tales their due. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were major German intellects of their time, contemporaries of both Goethe and Schiller. But as Paradiz reveals here, the romantic image of the two brothers traveling the countryside, transcribing tales told to them by peasants, is far from the truth. More than half of the tales the Grimm brothers collected were contributed by women friends from the upper classes. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars and the high years of German romanticism, Clever Maids chronicles this most fascinating enterprise in literary history, and illuminates the ways the Grimm tales-with their mythic portrayals of courage, sacrifice, and betrayal-still resonate so powerfully today.


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Most people know the stories of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, but very few know that behind the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales stood a network of sisters-and mothers, neighbors, and female friends. In this intimate history, Valerie Paradiz tells the real story of the greatest literary collaboration of the nineteenth century, and gives the long-lost narrators of the Most people know the stories of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, but very few know that behind the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales stood a network of sisters-and mothers, neighbors, and female friends. In this intimate history, Valerie Paradiz tells the real story of the greatest literary collaboration of the nineteenth century, and gives the long-lost narrators of these beloved tales their due. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were major German intellects of their time, contemporaries of both Goethe and Schiller. But as Paradiz reveals here, the romantic image of the two brothers traveling the countryside, transcribing tales told to them by peasants, is far from the truth. More than half of the tales the Grimm brothers collected were contributed by women friends from the upper classes. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars and the high years of German romanticism, Clever Maids chronicles this most fascinating enterprise in literary history, and illuminates the ways the Grimm tales-with their mythic portrayals of courage, sacrifice, and betrayal-still resonate so powerfully today.

30 review for Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lora

    I had some small quibbles with this book, but over all enjoyed reading it. I encountered these themes within the book: 1- the historical context within which the Grimm Brothers were working, that is, the Napoleonic wars, and how this affected german identity and the yearning for a return to the roots of story telling. 2- womens' issues, in that many women contributed the stories to the Grimm collection and yet received little to no credit, because, as the author describes it, to attach women to th I had some small quibbles with this book, but over all enjoyed reading it. I encountered these themes within the book: 1- the historical context within which the Grimm Brothers were working, that is, the Napoleonic wars, and how this affected german identity and the yearning for a return to the roots of story telling. 2- womens' issues, in that many women contributed the stories to the Grimm collection and yet received little to no credit, because, as the author describes it, to attach women to the attempt at publication of a scholarly journal would have doomed its credibility and chances for acceptance from the beginning. Well, I'm not sure how true that is, but I can say that it certainly feels to be true to some extent. Also, the fairy tales themselves dealt with issues many women face, and the tales and their then-contemporary cultural significance is well explroed by the author. 3- the quick exploration of other disenfrachised persons of the culture of the time- returning soldiers, 'extra' sones who had no inheritance, and others. 4- the book tells many significant fairy tales and then discusses them. Well done! 5- the story of the Grimm family, their trials and tribulations, their successes, and the history of the publication of their tales. Within this is further entwining of the womens' issues theme as the one Grimm daughter struggles at a young age with adult expectations thrust upon her by her many brothers. Over all, the many people discussed felt like they came alive for me, especially within the Grimm family. That was well done by the author as well. Now for the one quibble that hits a nerve for me: there is a faction within our own society that assumes sex is the one and only intimacy avialable for human beings. So when Paradiz discusses the deep relationship of two brothers who are only a year apart and have gone through the refiner's fire together, she has to conjecture that they may have had a sexual relationship of some sort. This argument immediately loses credibility for me because it demonstrates not real thinking, but the assumption that because this idea has been beaten to death in so much of our modern wriitng, it has gained some sort of value simply by continuing to exist. Therefore, it must then be applied in nearly every discussion of every relationship ever examined. Such narrow parameters! It is an attack on friendship in general, and the depth of sibling conenctions as well. It really isn't worth regarding, except that its prevalence as an idea has just stuck in my craw. Now in this book, this idea only has its hold for a few sentences, less than a paragraph. But it felt like Paradiz was pressured by the fashionable intellect of our day to force the discussion when there was no sense that it held water within the story itself. I just don't like that our research can be so...set in a pattern of thinking that it feels processed and canned. Some of her discussion of womens' issues also started to feel that way, as well. Well, publishing and researching and language all have their constraints. Not all contraints are worthwhile, that's all.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Janice Durante

    For years, I've been praising the Grimm brothers for going around the German countryside collecting folktales. Now I'm going to have to revise my storyline. Paradiz has updated that romantic image by locating the actual sources of these tales. More than half the tales came from the Grimms' educated (for the times) female friends and neighbors, not from grandmotherly peasants. Dortchen Wild, the neighbor who became Wilhelm's wife, is the source for "Hansel and Gretel" and the strange story of the For years, I've been praising the Grimm brothers for going around the German countryside collecting folktales. Now I'm going to have to revise my storyline. Paradiz has updated that romantic image by locating the actual sources of these tales. More than half the tales came from the Grimms' educated (for the times) female friends and neighbors, not from grandmotherly peasants. Dortchen Wild, the neighbor who became Wilhelm's wife, is the source for "Hansel and Gretel" and the strange story of the "The Singing Bone," as well as the famous "Rumplestiltskin." Other interesting women who contributed stories include the writer Bettina von Arnim, Doreothea Viehmann, Annette von Droste-Hulshoff, Frederike Mannel, and the Hassenpflug sisters. While Jack Zipes (authority on the Grimms and author of Breaking the Magic Spell, among other books)gives a more in-depth analysis of how the tales evolved, Paradiz deserves credit for writing this lucid, well paced, and enlightening account of the beloved folk/fairy tales.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I reviewed this one for BookPleasures.com a few years ago and wanted to plug it for GR. More than half of the fairy tales collected by the Grimm brothers were given to them orally by young German (and definitely uncredited) women who had learned them as children. The brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, were collecting the stories as a means to promote German culture in a time of French domination; they were trying to invoke an essential "Volk" sense, or the spirit of the German commoner. Most of the wom I reviewed this one for BookPleasures.com a few years ago and wanted to plug it for GR. More than half of the fairy tales collected by the Grimm brothers were given to them orally by young German (and definitely uncredited) women who had learned them as children. The brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, were collecting the stories as a means to promote German culture in a time of French domination; they were trying to invoke an essential "Volk" sense, or the spirit of the German commoner. Most of the women were upper class, however, but the tales were supposedly quintessentially German in a way that some believe was partially to blame for the violence which constituted the strong, united Germany of the early 20th century. Were the stories themselves to blame for the atrocities of the two world wars or did they simply represent the basic violent undercurrent of German culture in the late 19th/early 20th centuries? Paradiz, a German scholar, intertwines the narrative of the story collection with some of the actual stories and it's very interesting how some of these coincide. The film, "The Brothers Grimm," is not factual and is quite bizarre in some ways, but I saw it after I had read this book and I noticed that the screenplay worked the Grimm's tales into the basic narrative in startingly brilliant ways.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richelle Priscilla

    I genuinely loved this book. It set out to make readers understand the true origins of such beloved tales and where the Grimm brothers first heard/wrote them down, from a plethora of diverse, educated and lively women. Though it is a shame that history hasn’t been truthful to who contributed such tales, this book didn’t set out to put a bad taste in your mouth about Wilhelm and Jacob. Rather, you appreciate the stories even more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sage

    A fascinating recontextualization.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo

    The fairy tales collected by the brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm are one of the most widely known literary texts in the world and a have been a mainstay of pop culture from the moment they were first published, in early 19th century. Nevertheless, the actual history of how the books themselves came to be is far less known and is usually veiled by the brothers' self-mythologyzing as Romantic travellers through isolated villages where they collected their authentic fairy/folk tales. And while the The fairy tales collected by the brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm are one of the most widely known literary texts in the world and a have been a mainstay of pop culture from the moment they were first published, in early 19th century. Nevertheless, the actual history of how the books themselves came to be is far less known and is usually veiled by the brothers' self-mythologyzing as Romantic travellers through isolated villages where they collected their authentic fairy/folk tales. And while their skills as philologists are not subject to any discussion (they were indeed among the greats scholars of their times), the actual sources of their stories are far more complex and varied. Men of their time and place, in which the lands that would later become Germany were being overwhelmed by the military power of Napoleon's empire, they were keenly interested in the spirit of the Volk and one of the main output of that "authentic" spirit was found in the fairy tales that they were told and sent by their female friends and correspondents, who were not, in most cases, members of the rural population, but educated members of urban middle-classes and even members of the aristocracy. Although this does not demerit their literary contribution, it certainly puts them in a different light, particularly as some of them were not acknowledged and some of them were, both willfully and mistakenly, Romanticized, to enhance the "purity" of their tales. Therefore, a book such as Clever Maids is a remarkable example of literary feminism, as it rescues the memory of these women and their contribution to one of the most important literary works of the modern era. Each chapter clever and seamlessly intertwines the historical context (war, politics, and poverty), the Grimms' scholarly pursuit, the domestic and personal life of their female collaborators, and one or two fairy tales that clearly express how they are not escapist fantasies and that, on the contrary, they are a reflection of the social mores and anxieties of the times, whether it was women's seemingly inescapable lot in the domestic sphere, or the ravages of war. Interestingly, the book makes clear that even in times when women were not yet considered proper writers, they still made important literary contributions, and that, in spite of the Grimms' efforts to find the pure spirit of the German people in fairy tales, they eventually came to understand (althoug not necessarily publicize) that cultural networks were far more interconnected than they expected (particularly, with the spreading and influence of 18th century French literary fairy tales). Clever Maids is a clever little book that leaves one yearning for more information (and the bibliography included is quite exhaustive), both about the fairy tales, the Grimms, and the women who provided them with most of those stories.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Doria

    This wonderfully written little book has completely blown away my (mis)perceptions regarding the Brothers Grimm and their famous collection of folk tales. My only complaint is that Paradiz's tiny tome is just too small; upon finishing it, I wanted more! This is such an important book, drawing attention to the long-neglected true history of the Grimm brothers' collection. Rather than having been the product of painstaking travels and collecting of tales from German peasants from all around German This wonderfully written little book has completely blown away my (mis)perceptions regarding the Brothers Grimm and their famous collection of folk tales. My only complaint is that Paradiz's tiny tome is just too small; upon finishing it, I wanted more! This is such an important book, drawing attention to the long-neglected true history of the Grimm brothers' collection. Rather than having been the product of painstaking travels and collecting of tales from German peasants from all around Germany, the famous Grimm volumes of folktales were almost entirely made up of stories collected by bourgeois and upper-class educated German women, who generously told and transcribed the tales that they had grown up hearing and telling. These tales had always been passed from woman to woman, largely ignored by educated men, until the time when Napoleon's incursions into the German homeland humiliated the pride of German men, and gave rise to the nascent German nationalism that fueled the wars and empire-building of the next two centuries. It was this desire to recover and preserve that which was perceived (sometimes inaccurately) to be innately and "purely" German, which spurred scholars such as the Grimm brothers to turn their attention to the long-ignored old wives' tales, and publish them under the auspices of male-dominated scholarly practice. The women who helped them in this arduous process did so willingly and even eagerly, and did not object to the fact that their efforts and contributions went unmentioned when it came time for the volumes of stories to be published. Now, Paradiz tells the story behind the stories; the tale of how the Grimm brothers came to take credit for the years-long undertaking, a labor of love, and how the false tale of their volumes' supposed creation and authorship came to be promulgated in the centuries after they died. A ground-breaking work for literary, folkloric and feminist studies, yet also an easy read, with clear language, including many excerpts from letters to and from the Brothers Grimm.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Such a fascinating read! My interest in the sources of the Grimm's fairy tales was piqued last year when I took a class on German fairy tales. Few people are aware that the vast majority of the Grimm's tales were a) not written by them, merely transcribed, and b) that the majority of the tales were actually collected from middle-class German women. (I had no idea before I took the class.) This short history of the collection of the tales and the various women with whom the Grimms worked provided Such a fascinating read! My interest in the sources of the Grimm's fairy tales was piqued last year when I took a class on German fairy tales. Few people are aware that the vast majority of the Grimm's tales were a) not written by them, merely transcribed, and b) that the majority of the tales were actually collected from middle-class German women. (I had no idea before I took the class.) This short history of the collection of the tales and the various women with whom the Grimms worked provided wonderful insight into the erasure of the female voices behind these well-beloved stories and the constructed image of the Volk storyteller ideal to which the Grimms clung so tightly in their editorial notes. I actually found this while researching for one of my own writing projects--a fairy tale retelling of two of the slightly lesser-known Grimm tales. Clever Maids drew me in because it provided some of the background of the tales that I was seeking, but perhaps most importantly, it gave me a sense of the social constraints placed on middle-class women in 19th century Germany as well as the ways in which they interacted with one another. All in all, a really compelling and illuminating read that I would recommend to anyone with a desire for deeper understanding of how the Grimms' Fairy Tales that currently pervade our culture came to be.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sandy D.

    Moderately interesting historical work on the Grimm brothers - and more on their "contributors" - basically, female family friends & acquaintances who collected or told them the stories they heard from their nursemaids, housekeepers, mothers, etc. Some interesting history on the Napoleonic Wars, the German empire, and just how powerless women were there in the late 1700's-early 1800's. Paradiz draws some rather heavy handed but convincing parallels between the voiceless female "collaborators" and Moderately interesting historical work on the Grimm brothers - and more on their "contributors" - basically, female family friends & acquaintances who collected or told them the stories they heard from their nursemaids, housekeepers, mothers, etc. Some interesting history on the Napoleonic Wars, the German empire, and just how powerless women were there in the late 1700's-early 1800's. Paradiz draws some rather heavy handed but convincing parallels between the voiceless female "collaborators" and the powerless women & girls in several of the Grimm's fairy tales. Well damn, they really shouldn't be called the Grimm's fairy tales so much as the Wild sisters', the Haxthausen girls', and the Hassenpflugg's, but now they're "Grimm's Fairy Tales" for posterity.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

    It was fun, quick, and informative. However, it didn't grip me as well as it should have and I think it was because it was so quick. I felt like the author was trying to fit things into such a small book. It's impossible to write too much about the Grimms and their stories. While the book shines thanks to Paradiz's breadth of knowledge and concise writing, the book ended too soon. This little book is a beautiful one too. The lines are generously spaced compared to the smallish Centaur type (I ab It was fun, quick, and informative. However, it didn't grip me as well as it should have and I think it was because it was so quick. I felt like the author was trying to fit things into such a small book. It's impossible to write too much about the Grimms and their stories. While the book shines thanks to Paradiz's breadth of knowledge and concise writing, the book ended too soon. This little book is a beautiful one too. The lines are generously spaced compared to the smallish Centaur type (I absolutely love Centaur's j's--many times I got distracted from reading by staring at the letters). It's nice to see a such a thoughtfully and effectively designed book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tabitha Leathers

    Next time someone ignorant on tumblr wants to spout that the Grimm brothers are sexist, I'll refer them to this book. This book talks purely about the women who originally created all of their stories, and how they're all brimming with satire about how women were viewed in that period - gives so much context into the tales, and makes you re-think them. The brothers sought after these women to hear their stories and create volumes during the 1810s to get those anthologies out there. They didn't w Next time someone ignorant on tumblr wants to spout that the Grimm brothers are sexist, I'll refer them to this book. This book talks purely about the women who originally created all of their stories, and how they're all brimming with satire about how women were viewed in that period - gives so much context into the tales, and makes you re-think them. The brothers sought after these women to hear their stories and create volumes during the 1810s to get those anthologies out there. They didn't write them - they just recorded and published them. The gals did the work (mostly their little sister's friends and Wilhelm's wife to-be). They admired these ladies, and listened to them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jolene Dretzka

    Illuminating A very eye opening exploration of the creation of the Grimm collections and where they came from. The authour paints a vivid piucture of the era and feminine struggles in a world that was built for men. More people need to read this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stas Sajin

    "How dare you contradict me!" cried the step-mother, "be off, and don't let me see you again till you bring me..." "How dare you contradict me!" cried the step-mother, "be off, and don't let me see you again till you bring me..."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

    Many people know that the original Grimm tales weren’t meant for children. They were tales told, re-told and exchanged between women, usually housewives, their friends and daughters. They were meant as cautionary tales, examples, warnings or wishful hopes. These tales often presented biddable, meek and domestic girls as being superior to lazy, arrogant, sharp-tongued or ambitious ones. But, not so secretly, the womenfolk yearned for a life that offered comfort, ease and relief from never-ending Many people know that the original Grimm tales weren’t meant for children. They were tales told, re-told and exchanged between women, usually housewives, their friends and daughters. They were meant as cautionary tales, examples, warnings or wishful hopes. These tales often presented biddable, meek and domestic girls as being superior to lazy, arrogant, sharp-tongued or ambitious ones. But, not so secretly, the womenfolk yearned for a life that offered comfort, ease and relief from never-ending toil. What was a surprise to me was learning that most of the Grimm tales weren’t transcribed by the brothers as they travelled the land but were told to them in comfortable domiciles by middle class women of their acquaintance. When those women weren’t available, the Grimm brothers were the happy recipients of tales recited to them by aristocratic ladies who often had plenty of leisure to while the time away with entertaining stories. The Grimm brothers lost their father early and the rest of their lives would be often spent in the company of doting, attentive and intelligent women. There were men too, scholars who corresponded with them. But these men didn’t recite stories they knew; they simply dug through old archives and transcribed forgotten tales of lore that they found. Jacob and Wilhelm were very much products of their time. While they eagerly accepted these stories from the womenfolk, they usually neglected to write acknowledgements by the names of the ladies. Their male transcribers would be named but not the womenfolk. This book is a historical treasure, setting right certain misconceptions about the Grimm brothers and their history. It is one of unnamed women and genteel storytelling. Known and obscure stories wind their way through its chapters and highlight separate portions of the Grimm family life and the larger events of history going on around them. It’s grand stuff and makes me want to re-read my collection all over again, as well as hunger for the bloodier tales that were left out of contemporary editions.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    An interesting look at the sources of the Grimm Brothers' stories, but could definitely have been more academically rigorous. In particular, somewhat spoiled by a bit of unbacked speculation that, since the brothers were so close, their relationship may have been sexual. "Though there is no direct evidence suggesting they had amorous feelings for one another, some Grimm scholars haven't ruled out the possibility. Jacob, who never married, might have loved men in a more than platonic fashion, but An interesting look at the sources of the Grimm Brothers' stories, but could definitely have been more academically rigorous. In particular, somewhat spoiled by a bit of unbacked speculation that, since the brothers were so close, their relationship may have been sexual. "Though there is no direct evidence suggesting they had amorous feelings for one another, some Grimm scholars haven't ruled out the possibility. Jacob, who never married, might have loved men in a more than platonic fashion, but if he did, his Reform Calvinist upbringing likely kept him from acting upon such desires." If there's no direct evidence, why bring it up? Especially since the rest of the book makes no mention of their sexual lives whatsoever—Wilhelm's children are a brief epilogic mention about the further life of contributor Dorothea Wild, who eventually became his wife. Many of the "clever maids" have more extensive Wikipedia pages than the biographical information included here. Still, a good overview providing some social context for the stories the women provided, and should work as a jumping off point for anyone interested in further detail.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    so there is a lot of merit in this book it was interesting and presents a lot of things in a way that is understanding of the Grimm brothers and their history (the ending was weird though). As another review mentions and I will mention in this that the author mentions the relationship between Wihelm and Jacob and how they and other Grimms scholars consider a romantic relationship between the two (incest basically) and its I don't know anything about the author or the pressures in writing the boo so there is a lot of merit in this book it was interesting and presents a lot of things in a way that is understanding of the Grimm brothers and their history (the ending was weird though). As another review mentions and I will mention in this that the author mentions the relationship between Wihelm and Jacob and how they and other Grimms scholars consider a romantic relationship between the two (incest basically) and its I don't know anything about the author or the pressures in writing the book (outside influnce? no time to think of other reasons for the closeness between the brothers?) its just another moment where the western relationship with sex and intimacy always being merged together comes forth in a way that negates any point they have.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    If the Grimm brothers had published today, law suits would be flying. Good for Vanessa Paradis, who brings to light all the Grimms' women friends who provided them with stories - and went uncredited. Lots of Professor So and So's names in the scholarly notes, but nary a mention of the women who did all the real collecting and telling. Paradis also points out that those erroneous Grimms pimped their book as pure German volk, even giving false locations to some of the stories, when in fact a lot of If the Grimm brothers had published today, law suits would be flying. Good for Vanessa Paradis, who brings to light all the Grimms' women friends who provided them with stories - and went uncredited. Lots of Professor So and So's names in the scholarly notes, but nary a mention of the women who did all the real collecting and telling. Paradis also points out that those erroneous Grimms pimped their book as pure German volk, even giving false locations to some of the stories, when in fact a lot of the stories came from French Huguenots living in Germany. Her feminist cultural reading of these tales rings clear and true - women got zero credit and respect in early nineteenth-century Germany.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Em

    Got more into it by the end - easy to read history of the Grimm brothers (indeed, the whole family), how their era and background influenced their story collection, and also a running account of all the women who contributed the stories themselves. I still wish there had been more on the literary history of the stories themselves - there are a few notes about the French origins of a few, and a passing mention of the changes made to bring medieval stories in line with contemporary mores, and I wa Got more into it by the end - easy to read history of the Grimm brothers (indeed, the whole family), how their era and background influenced their story collection, and also a running account of all the women who contributed the stories themselves. I still wish there had been more on the literary history of the stories themselves - there are a few notes about the French origins of a few, and a passing mention of the changes made to bring medieval stories in line with contemporary mores, and I was hoping for more of that when I started the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    This was a really interesting look at how Grimm's fairy tales were written. Most of the women who originally told the stories were actually middle to upper-class friends of the Grimms, not the peasants who are associated with the fairy tales. I liked how most chapters included a summary of a tale and compared the story to the circumstances of the Grimms and their friends during that time. It was also interesting to read the author's thoughts on how the tales reflected societal values, chiefly fo This was a really interesting look at how Grimm's fairy tales were written. Most of the women who originally told the stories were actually middle to upper-class friends of the Grimms, not the peasants who are associated with the fairy tales. I liked how most chapters included a summary of a tale and compared the story to the circumstances of the Grimms and their friends during that time. It was also interesting to read the author's thoughts on how the tales reflected societal values, chiefly for women, and not just working class women, but mid to upper class women too. A good book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Molly Grimmius

    Recommended by my friend. A short history in the true collecting of the Grimm fairytales…. They did not go around To maid servants and normal people over half of the stories came from educated woman who contributed but rarely if ever got the credit… much more romantic to say they traveled the countryside gathering g them. Also they wanted to do this to save their history since France with Bonaparte was coming to rule. Wry fascinating plus lots of tales included in all their gory fashion… a littl Recommended by my friend. A short history in the true collecting of the Grimm fairytales…. They did not go around To maid servants and normal people over half of the stories came from educated woman who contributed but rarely if ever got the credit… much more romantic to say they traveled the countryside gathering g them. Also they wanted to do this to save their history since France with Bonaparte was coming to rule. Wry fascinating plus lots of tales included in all their gory fashion… a little heavy handed with the feminist point of view but other than that it was great.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mandi

    This history was brief (thankfully) and engaging enough. The historical info was woven neatly throughout with Grimm's actual fairy tale summaries, which was a nice touch. The key info (that the brothers actually got their stories from aristocratic female friends) was really new to me and I'm glad someone wrote a book about it. I fell asleep reading this though, and it took me longer than I wanted to spend to get through the whole thing. This history was brief (thankfully) and engaging enough. The historical info was woven neatly throughout with Grimm's actual fairy tale summaries, which was a nice touch. The key info (that the brothers actually got their stories from aristocratic female friends) was really new to me and I'm glad someone wrote a book about it. I fell asleep reading this though, and it took me longer than I wanted to spend to get through the whole thing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lorelei

    3.5/5 There were some slow points, but otherwise, the information was fascinating. We learn the origin of these acclaimed fairy tales that have transcended time and place - the custom of oral storytelling among women and girls. Stories molded by the circumstances and virtues of their times. I am sure this could have been MUCH longer, but the information and background provided in 191 pages was concise and enlightening.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark Gallagher

    Revealing account of the pivotal role of numerous female friends and acquaintances in the Grimm Brothers' collecting the fairy tales for which the brothers are famous. Although unacknowledged by the collectors, these female contemporaries are the sources of nearly all the stories the Grimms published. Revealing account of the pivotal role of numerous female friends and acquaintances in the Grimm Brothers' collecting the fairy tales for which the brothers are famous. Although unacknowledged by the collectors, these female contemporaries are the sources of nearly all the stories the Grimms published.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen Sofarin

    Such an interesting little history. I have loved fairy tales and especially Grimm and Anderson from a young age. So interesting to read about the brothers, the families and the contributors. Great and pretty quick read if you like these tales.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily Marcum

    I deeply enjoyed learning more about the Brothers Grimm and their literary motives and the context surrounding the writing of their works. However, some of Paradiz’s explanations of the political subtext of the fairy tales seemed a little clumsy and forced.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan Schram

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Paradiz does a great job of keeping things simple and to the point. The book is engaging and doesn't make you feel like you're reading a textbook. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Paradiz does a great job of keeping things simple and to the point. The book is engaging and doesn't make you feel like you're reading a textbook.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Robles-Krekeler

    I thought it was really intriguing to learn more about the female inspiration behind some of my childhood favs! Kept my attention throughout, I really enjoyed it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Really interesting and short

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aleatha

    Ingenious and lovely weaving of fairy tales with biographies of the Grimm family and the women and girls who collected stories for Jacob and Wilhelm.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Handan

    Where was this when I worked on “Into the Woods”?! Oh, that I might have known and appreciated the women behind making “Grimms’” fairy tales.

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