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Sex and Violence. The hard Core of fairy tales. Grimms ’ versions of tales are often violent. Doves peck out eyes of Cinderella’s stepsisters Briar Rose’s suitors bleed to death in hedge surrounding her castle

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Sex and Violence

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Sex and Violence

The hard Core of fairy tales


Grimms’ versions of tales are often violent

  • Doves peck out eyes of Cinderella’s stepsisters

  • Briar Rose’s suitors bleed to death in hedge surrounding her castle

  • In “The Juniper Tree” a woman decapitates her stepson, cooks him in a stew, and feeds him to his father.


Often edited out references to “certain conditions and relationships”

  • Story of Hans Dumm was dropped after first edition of Nursery and Household Tales due to focus on pregnancy

  • Wilhelm Grimm omitted hints of premarital sexual activity such as in “Frog King or Iron Heinrich”

  • Incestuous themes were avoided or toned down. If they were too difficult to eliminate entirely, judgmental observations were added.


Why did they alter the stories?

  • Response to criticism from peers

  • Began to view their books more as a source of income

  • Some felt the first edition missed its potential market because the Grimms’ scholarly ambitions undermined the production of a book for children.

  • Competitors were tailoring similar books to children


The Transformation of the Grimms’ Enterprise

  • Began as a scholarly and patriotic project

  • Wanted to capture German folk traditions

  • Began to see an opportunity for some much needed income

  • Folk and fairy tales began to shift from adult oriented to entertainment for children

  • Hoped their collection could serve as a “manual of manners”


Hard work and obedience:

Those are the qualities to which

All good citizens must aspire.

Modesty and gentility,

Skill, hard work, and love of labor

Crown a girl and her achievements,

Building the foundation of a woman’s dignity


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