A postcard from the 1800s shows the seven dwarfs finding Snow White asleep in their bedroom. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Jack Zipes and Andrea Dezso
It’s well-known that our favorite fairy tales started out darker than the ones Disney animators brought to life. But you might be surprised by how much darker the originals were.
For the first time, a new translation of the Brothers Grimm’s tales reveals exactly how unsanitized and murderous the bedtime stories really were.
Jack Zipes, author of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, is the only person who has ever translated the first edition of their tales into English.
“Some of them are extremely dark and harrowing,” Zipes tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “Many are somewhat erotic and deal with incest. Most of them are not what we call fairy tales; they tend to be animal tales or warning tales.”
Take, for example, Snow White. In the modern version of the tale, the Evil Queen is Snow White’s stepmother.
But in the first edition, Snow White is only 7 years old, and it’s her biological mother who wants to murder her for her beauty.
The stories are hardly appropriate for children by today’s standards, and at the outset, they weren’t intended to be.
The Grimms “collected these tales to show what life was like,” says Zipes. “And they wanted to reveal what they considered the divine truths of the tales.”
And the tales endure. Zipes says that’s because they resonate in every era. “I think they speak to the human condition. …
They also provide hope. For the most part, there is social justice in these tales and … we need that. We need the hope that these tales provide.”
The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to stop an exodus from the eastern, communist part of divided Germany to the more prosperous west.
Between 1949 and 1961 more than 2.6 million East Germans, out of a total population of 17 million, had escaped. Many were skilled professionals and their loss was increasingly felt in the German Democratic Republic, or GDR, as it was called.
With the country on the edge of economic and social collapse, the East German government therefore made the decision to close the entire border, and erected the wall overnight, on 13 August 1961.
It was often referred to by eastern authorities as the anti-fascist protection barrier, to protect East Germans from the west.How was it built?
The concrete barrier, complete with 300 guard towers at regular intervals, was 96 miles in length and 13 feet high, though to start with it comprised temporary barriers of barbed wire coils.
The erection date of 13 August 1961 was deliberately chosen because it was a Sunday during the summer holidays. Over days and weeks the barbed wire was replaced with vertical concrete slabs reinforced with iron bars, and hollow blocks.
Photograph: East German soldiers set up barbed wire barricades in Berlin on 13 August 1961. Photograph: AP
Nothing was allowed to stand in the way of the wall. Houses on streets, such as Bernauer Strasse, where the pavements were in the west, and the backs of the houses were in the east, became part of the border construction.
The authorities simply ordered the bricking up of front entrances and windows. There are documented cases of people jumping from windows to avoid being locked into the east in their own homes.
Four remarkable images from the 19th-century Austrian botanist Anton Kerner von Marilaun’s Pflanzenleben, one of his most important works.
Some 20 years after its initial publication in German in 1887 the work was brought to the English speaking world in a translation by F. W. Oliver under the title The Natural History of Plants their Forms, Growth, Reproduction, and Distribution.
The images here come, via Wikimedia Commons, from Kurt Stüber’s wonderful collection of historical botanical illustrations housed at his BioLib site, definitely worth an explore.
The European Central Bank has allowed graffiti artists to use the fence around the construction site of its new headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, as a public gallery where they can share their often politically charged art.
Justus Becker, who helps curate paintings at the site, and fellow artist ‘Bobby Borderline’ recently completed a new work of street art.
Johann Schleyer on a harp given to him as a 50th birthday present by his colleagues at Sionsharfe, a magazine devoted mainly to Catholic poetry, which Schleyer edited and in which he first published on Volapük in 1879 –
Johann Schleyer was a German priest whose irrational passion for umlauts may have been his undoing.
The German alphabet consists of 26 characters plus 3 umlauts: ä, ö and ü. Umlauts are used as independent characters in the German language.
During one sleepless night in 1879, he felt a Divine presence telling him to create a universal language.
The result was Volapük. It was designed to be easy to learn, with a system of simple roots derived from European languages, and regular affixes which attached to the roots to make new words.
Volapük was the first invented language to gain widespread success.
By the end of the 1880s there were more than 200 Volapük societies and clubs around the world and 25 Volapük journals.
Over 1500 diplomas in Volapük had been awarded. In 1889, when the third international Volapük congress was held in Paris, the proceedings were entirely in Volapük.
Everyone had at least heard of it. President Grover Cleveland’s wife even named her dog Volapük.
Though Schleyer was German, a large part of the Volapük vocabulary was based on English.
“Volapük” was a compound formed from two roots, vol (from “world”) and pük (from “speak”).
However, it was often hard to spot the source of a Volapük word because of the way Schleyer had set up the sound system of the language.
“Paper” was pöp, “beer” bil, “proof” blöf and “love” löf. He had rational reasons for most of the phonological choices he made. For simplicity, he tried to limit all word roots to one syllable.
He avoided the ‘r’ sound, “for the sake of children and old people, also for some Asiatic nations.” The umlauts, however, were there for löf.