There are some things that are so widely known, so deeply embedded, such an integral part of our culture that it’s easy to think of them as somehow inevitable. As if they have somehow always been there and always will, regardless of us.

Among these are many of the tales we heard, read, or saw cartoon renditions of as children: Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White. But these works were by no means destined to be a part of our lives. They are with us thanks in large part to the work of two German brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

It’s been 200 years since the brothers Grimm first published "Children’s and Household Tales" — a collection of 86 stories. To celebrate the bicentennial of that famed book of fairy tales, Harvard University professor Maria Tartar has assembled and annotated more than 200 of their stories in what is probably the definitive English-language volume of the brother’s work. 

Tatar stopped by the Boston Public Radio studios to discuss the brothers, the story behind a few of their tales and why "Hansel and Gretel" still holds a special place in her heart. 


Perhaps Bugs Bunny has an opinion on today's show ... ?