Books by Donald R. Hettinga

Released: Oct. 15, 2001

Hettinga (Presenting Madeline L'Engle, 1993) lays the intertwined careers of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm against a turbulent backdrop of Napoleonic invasions, civil unrest, and family misfortunes. He presents them as a pair of librarian/scholars who, despite (some) differences of temperament and interest, lived together for nearly their entire lives, achieving not only international renown for their researches into language and folk literature, but local notoriety as two of the "Göttingen Seven," a group of professors fired for refusing to take a loyalty oath to an autocratic new king. Though the author is guilty of tucking in a few too many minor details—a wallpaper pattern, a menu, a certain glass coffin that turns out not to be the inspiration for the one in "Snow White"—his account of how the Grimms collected their tales through "tricks and trades, gifts and gatherings" makes fascinating reading. An annotated list of books by and about the brothers helps to compensate for a stingy assortment of illustrations and a long, superfluous list of fairy tale titles. Like Brust's The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen (1994), this makes absorbing reading for folktale fans interested in the story behind the Stories. (afterword, source notes, picture credits, timeline) (Biography. 12-14)Read full book review >