Jacob Grimm

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Jakob Ludwig Carl Grimm (also Karl;[a] 4 January 1785 – 20 September 1863) was a German philologist, jurist and mythologist. He is best known as the discoverer of Grimm's Law, the author (with his brother) of the monumental Deutsches Wörterbuch, the author of Deutsche Mythologie, and more popularly, as one of the Brothers Grimm, as the editor of Grimm's Fairy Tales.



Grimm was born in Hanau, in Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel). His father, who was a lawyer, died while he was a child, and his mother was left with very small means; but her sister, who was lady of the chamber to the Landgravine of Hesse, helped to support and educate her numerous family. Jakob, with his younger brother Wilhelm (born on 24 February 1786), was sent in 1798 to the public school at Kassel.

In 1802 he proceeded to the University of Marburg, where he studied law, a profession for which he had been destined by his father. His brother joined him at Marburg a year later, having just recovered from a long and severe illness, and likewise began the study of law.

Up to this time Jakob Grimm had been actuated only by a general thirst for knowledge and his energies had not found any aim beyond the practical one of making himself a position in life. The first definite impulse came from the lectures of Friedrich Karl von Savigny, the celebrated investigator of Roman law, who, as Wilhelm Grimm himself says in the preface to the Deutsche Grammatik (German Grammar), first taught him to realize what it meant to study any science. Savigny's lectures also awakened in him a love for historical and antiquarian investigation, which forms the basis of all his work. The two men became personally acquainted, and it was in Savigny's well-stocked library that Grimm first turned over the leaves of Bodmer's edition of the Old German minnesingers and other early texts, and felt an eager desire to penetrate further into the obscurities and half-revealed mysteries of their language.

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