The fairy tales for which Andersen is now famous comprise only a small part of his lifework. Born in Odense, the son of a poor shoemaker, Andersen worked in a factory after his father's death. However, he soon displayed a talent for poetry and went to Copenhagen to pursue other outlets. Andersen's first collection of poems was published in 1830 and a second in 1831. Andersen complained bitterly about the lack of encouragement for his first volume of stories, Fairy Tales, Told for Children (1835). In 1843, he began the series called New Adventures, the title no longer addressing itself exclusively to children. His contemporaries received his novels and travel books enthusiastically. In his old age, Andersen said, "My fairy tales are written as much for adults as for children. Children understand only the trimmings, and not until they mature will they see and comprehend the whole." During his lifetime his talent was more esteemed more generally in other countries than in his native Denmark. Charles Dickens, for example, called the Dane "a great writer." Andersen died in Copenhagen in 1875 after a long battle with cancer.
Jacob W. Grimm (1785-1863) and his brother Wilhelm K. Grimm (1786-1859) pioneered the study of German philosophy, law, mythology and folklore, but they are best known for their collection of fairy tales. These include such popular stories as Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and The Frog Prince. Commonly referred to now as Grimm's Fairy Tales, their collection was published as Kinder-und-Hausmarchen (Children's and Household Tales, 1812-15). The brothers were born thirteen months apart in the German province of Hesse, and were inseparable from childhood. Throughout their lives they showed a marked lack of sibling rivalry. Most of their works were written together, a practice begun in childhood when they shared a desk and sustained throughout their adult lives. Since their lives and work were so collaborative, it is difficult now to differentiate between them, but of course there were differences.- Jacob, who studied for a time in Paris, was fascinated with variant spellings of older words. He articulated "Grimm's Law," the rules of which are still used today to determine correspondences between the consonants of German and languages in the Indo-European family. Jacob was bolder and more experimental than Wilhelm, and was rumored to be a lively dancer. Throughout his life, Jacob kept rigidly to schedule and could be extremely focused on work that demanded close attention to detail. He never married, but was a loving uncle to Wilhelm's children. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are buried side by side in Berlin.