French poet and writer Charles Perrault was born on January 12, 1628, in Paris, France. Though he began his career as a lawyer in charge of royal buildings, by around 1660, Perrault had earned a positive reputation for his poetry. In 1671, he worked in the Académie Française, and played a prominent role in a literary controversy known as the dispute between the Ancients and Moderns. Perrault is perhaps best known for his Mother Goose fairy stories, including Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots, which he wrote for his children. Perrault died on May 16, 1703, in Paris, France.
Charles Perrault was a member of the French court. In the 1690s, there was a fashion of creating literary renderings of folk tales for the entertainment of that court, and Perrault participated in this fashion. One aspect of literary adaptation in this manner was to convert the oral tales which truly belonged to the "folk" into forms that served the interests of the more educated ruling classes. While Perrault was writing within a tradition of adapting oral tales into literary retellings, however, his work remained much closer to the folk level than other literary retellings of the time. The Opies claim that Perrault "accepted the fairy tales at their own level." In addition, his works were relatively short, so they were appropriate for a child audience in ways that longer fairy tales produced in the French court (as earlier in the Italian court of Basile's time) were not. It is this aspect of his work that most justifies identifying him as the first 'children's writer.'
As the above quote mentions, Charles Perrault was a member of the French court, under the reign of Louis XIV. His tales were intended to amuse and educate the young ladies of the court. His stories often have morals, which deal with issues of achieving grace and beauty. It is important to make mental note of this when interpreting the morals of his stories.
His tales were intended to train young girls in how to become ladies. This is very different from the intention of the Brother's Grimm who reinterpreted fairy tales to emphasize German nationalism. Perrault's tales also include more magical beings than the Brother's Grimm, who often emphasized God as the purveyor of happiness. The intentions of Perrault are illustrated in his stories and emphasized in his "Morals," which idealize beauty and grace as some of the most important characteristics a young woman should possess.
The Grimm Brothers, Jacob(1785–1863) and Wilhelm (1786–1859), were Germanic academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who together collected folklore. They are among the most well-known storytellers of European folk tales, and their work popularized such stories as "Cindirella", "The Frog Prince", "Hansel and Gretel" (Hänsel und Gretel), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin" (Rumpelstilzchen), and "Snow White" (Schneewittchen). Their first collection of folk tales, Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.
The brothers spent their formative years first in the German town of Hanau and then in Steinau. Their father's death in 1796, about a decade into their lives, caused great poverty for the family and affected the brothers for many years. They attended the University of Marburg where historian and jurist Friedrich von Savigny spurred their interest in philology and Germanic studies—a field in which they are now considered pioneers—and at the same time developed a curiosity for folklore, which grew into a lifelong dedication to collecting German folk tales.
The rise of romanticism in the 19th century revived interest in traditional folk stories, which to the Grimm brothers represented a pure form of national literature and culture. With the goal of researching a scholarly treatise on folk tales, the brothers established a methodology for collecting and recording folk stories that became the basis for folklore studies. Between 1812 and 1857 their first collection was revised and published many times, and grew from 86 stories to more than 200. In addition to writing and modifying folk tales, the brothers wrote collections of well-respected German and Scandinavian mythologies and in 1808 wrote a definitive German dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch) that remained incomplete in their lifetime.
The popularity of the Grimms' collected folk tales endured well beyond their lifetimes. The tales are available in more than 100 translations and have been adapted to popular Disney films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, andCinderella. In the mid-20th century the tales were used as propaganda by the Third Reich; later in the 20th century psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim reaffirmed the value of the work, in spite of the cruelty and violence in the original versions of some of the tales that were sanitized.
Hans Christian Andersen.
Hans Christian Andersen often referred to by his initials H. C. Andersen (April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."
During his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films.
It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first installment of his immortal Fairy Tales. More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly. At the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler.