The Brothers Grimm - Little Red Riding Hood

A Video Talk

They made the phrase ‘once upon a time’ part of universal vocabulary, and children around the world are familiar with their stories, but generally readers know little of the brothers themselves. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were linguists, academics, librarians, lexicographers and cultural researchers, who were determined that traditional stories should not be lost to posterity.

Thanks to their efforts, such tales as Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood were saved and popularised.

“The folk tale is probably as old as man himself.Its images express man’s hopes, anxieties and aspirations, his deepest desires and fears. In tales, ugliness may turn into beauty, poverty into riches, and the weak and neglected will triumph in the end.”
― Ruth Michaelis-Jena

Enriching the word through tales

The brothers were devoted to each other. Wilhelm married but Jacob always shared their home. Their first collection, Children’s and Household Tales, came out in 1812, and eventually they published more than 200 stories. The world is a richer place thanks to those two remarkable men.

Learn more about the Brothers Grimm, and delve more deeply into the wolf-infested forest of Little Red Riding Hood.

A powerful and epic novel

Dr Zhivago is an epic tale, it’s a biography of an intelligent and cultured man, and it is one of the greatest love stories ever told. I find its ending, when Lara takes leave of Yuri lying dead in his coffin, one of the most moving scenes in all of literature, almost unbearable to read in the intensity of its grief and loss: “Your going, that’s the end of me. Again something big, inescapable. The riddle of life, the riddle of death, the beauty of genius, the beauty of loving – that, yes, that we understood. As for such petty trifles as re-shaping the world – these things, no thank you, they are not for us. Good-bye, my big one, my dear one, my pride. Good-bye, my quick, deep river, how I loved your day-long splashing, how I loved bathing in your cold, deep waves.”

Purchase the Video Talk

At just $15 this Video Talk is a real treat! Taken from a live-streamed presentation, it has been carefully recorded and completely edited to deliver the experience of being part of an audience and having the best seat in the house. It includes over 60 minutes of intriguing stories about the author to help you understand what prompted this book to be written. The main characters and their roles are identified, the themes behind the story are analysed, and a description of the influence that the era, lifestyle and circumstances have on the book’s setting. It is illustrated with photographs, paintings, scenes from different film versions and book covers – you’ll have plenty to look at while you listen.

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Just $15. Buy it now – you’ll receive access details by return email.

COMING SOON. This video talk will be available from 1st December 2021. Please check back here then.

Discuss it with me

I hope you enjoyed learning more about these two hard-working and devoted brothers and the work they did in Germany to make sure that many wonderful fairy tales were not lost to posterity. I’m interested to hear what you think, so please tell me in a comment.

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Featured image credit- Little Red Riding Hood illuatration by Trina Schart Hyman, Image from

Comments (5)

  1. John Power

    Dear Susannah,

    I certainly see your point re fairytales, but I think one also needs a little caution as current values do not always agree with the values of the time of some of the fairytales. In particular, some include nasty anti-Semitic or racist tropes. I think even the Grimms might have softened a few mediaeval references even in their German versions.

    Happy Christmas!


    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, standards change, but don’t you think that the essential message of fairy tales remains relevant? I am sure the Grimms would have softened things. And, of course, Hansel and Gretel, lost in the woods, would just whip out their mobiles and use GPS, the Prince seeking Cinderalla would do so on-line, etc.
      Merry Christmas to you too, John. I hope 2022 is a happy, healthy year for you, filled with good books.

  2. Margaret Debenham

    Dear Susannah

    Thank you so much for the delightful surprise of The Brothers Grimm and Little Red Riding Hood. I had no idea how clever and scholarly the brothers were, or how much history their collected tales preserved. And I certainly had no idea how many possible interpretations of Red Riding Hood there could be! A fascinating talk. And topical in another way, too, given the recent death of Stephen Sondheim, whose “Into the Woods” is yet another variation on the fairytale themes, particularly Little Red Riding Hood. So thank you again, and I do so hope Omicron turns out to be a bit of a fizzer so we can get back to a feast of in-person talks next year. Very best wishes to you and your family for Christmas and the coming year. Margaret

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I am so glad you enjoyed the talk and also learned something new. They were truly fascainting brothers.
      Yes, I am very much hoping that Omicron doesn’t amount to much and that travel will soon be on our horizons.
      Merry Christmas and may 2022 be filled with good books.

  3. Rhonda Brown

    Hi Susannah,
    Thank you for the entertaining and very interesting talk on The Brothers’ Grimm yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely early Christmas gift.
    I really appreciate you kindness and generosity. It was also lovely see your dad attend the talk.
    Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.
    Kind regards Rhonda

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