The Brothers Grimm (German: Brüder Grimm or Die Gebrüder Grimm), Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (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 "Cinderella" (Aschenputtel), "The Frog Prince" (Der Froschkönig), "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, and Cinderella. 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.