Kinder und Hausmärchen (First Edition) by The Brothers Grimm
Kinder und Hausmärchen, or German and Popular Stories, is a collection of folk and fairy stories by The Brothers Grimm (Jakob 1785-1863 and Wilhelm 1786-1859). The first volume of this work was published in 1812, and a further volume was produced in 1815, both in the Realschulbuchhandlung, Berlin. The first English edition, two volumes entitled German Popular Stories and translated by Edgar Taylor, was published in 1823 by C. Baldwyn, London and 1826 by James Robins and Joseph Robins, Junr, London. Background
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm collected folk tales and legends and published them as collections of children’s stories. They published the first volume of 86 stories in 1812, followed by a second volume of 70 stories in 1814. Numerous editions followed this, and continued to be republished long after their deaths.
The Grimm brothers popularised some of the best known fairy tales and folk tales in history. They encouraged an academic tradition of collecting folk tales, as well as influencing the nationalistic aspect of preserving oral and folk traditions of a culture.
The publication as children’s stories of some of the tales was rather shocking, as they contained much cruelty and violence, so the stories were later vastly sanitised.
Plot, Characters, Themes
The fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm include many classics known and loved worldwide such as Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Snow White, and The Frog Prince. There is usually an element of moral instruction involved, and the idea that children must think carefully and use their brains to overcome challenges. Elements of magic or the supernatural are common, as well as anthropomorphism. Many of the stories originally contained much that was dark, violent, and disturbing. They did not always end happily ever after.
The Brothers Grimm can be credited with being the sole proponents of what is now a vast wealth of folklore, tradition, legend, and fairy tales, as well as much loved children’s stories.
Notable auction sales and collecting tips
The first editions of Kinder und Hausmärchen (1812 and 1815, Realschulbuchhandlung, Berlin) are extremely rare. First English editions (German Popular Stories, 1823 by C. Baldwyn, London and 1826 by James Robins and Joseph Robins, Junr, London), with illustrations by celebrated Victorian artist George Cruikshank, are also very sought after.
Christie’s sold volume I only of the first edition for £27,500 in December 2009. Sotheby’s sold both volumes for $206,500 in June 2011.
The first English editions were sold by Bloomsbury Auctions for $4,600 in December 2007, by Christie’s for $8,225 in April 2001 and $18,400 in December 1999, and by Sotheby’s for $24,000 in April 2005.