Grimm bicentenary in Scotland

Bicentenary of brothers Grimm in Scotland: Germany and Scotland launch European celebration

The Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, David McAllister, and Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, add a new chapter to the long story of German-Scottish friendship at the National Library of Scotland on Wednesday 6 June.

Before launching celebrations of the Grimm bicentenary in Scotland, they will have the opportunity to examine correspondence between the brothers Grimm in Hesse and Sir Walter Scott in Edinburgh. This demonstrates the long story of cultural friendship and collaboration which continues this year with the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, an exhibition at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), and other related events.

In particular Ms Hyslop and Mr McAllister will see a copy of the first, 1812, edition of the Grimms' 'Fairy tales' — 'Kinder- und Hausmaerchen' — which was sent by Jacob Grimm to Walter Scott in 1814. It bears Scott's signature on the title page. This was sent in response to a letter from Scott where he tells Jacob Grimm he is keen to get a copy of the fairy tales.

Later correspondence where Grimm replies to Scott expressing his delight at the offer of a parcel of books including epic poems about Robert the Bruce and William Wallace will also be on display.

Grimm and Scott wrote in their native tongues and explained in earlier letters that, while they could read English and German respectively, they were too shy to use it in writing.

Ms Hyslop said: 'Scotland and Germany enjoy a long tradition of literary excellence. People all over the world have enjoyed the works of Sir Walter Scott and the Grimm brothers and their legacies continue today.

'These letters show the noted writers looked to each other for inspiration and learning, and I am proud to continue that tradition during the Year of Creative Scotland, by marking a new chapter in our long-history of friendship with Lower Saxony.

'This year's Storytelling Festival will celebrate the bicentenary of the publication of Grimms' "Fairy tales" with a focus on regional tales from Scotland and across Europe. Through our Expo Fund, the Scottish Government has awarded £70,000 to support this valuable cultural project.'

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival, which runs from 19-28 October 2012, explores the influence of the brothers Grimm, and of older folk and fairy tales, across Europe. Storytellers from Scotland, Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Norway, Russia, England and Ireland, will converge on Edinburgh and Glasgow to provide an unparalleled feast of entertainment for all ages. Alongside this will be an examination of the enduring influence of fairy tales and their significance in contemporary culture and education.

The Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary will launch the advance online programme for the festival, which will be one of the leading bicentenary events in Europe.

The display at NLS will bring together a number of items from Germany and Scotland for the first time. They include portraits of the Grimm brothers and printed material loaned by the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen, together with original letters by Jacob Grimm and the first edition copy of the fairy tales, on loan from the Faculty of Advocates Abbotsford Collection Trust. It will also showcase German translations of 'Ossian' and of poems from Scott's 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' edited by Wilhelm Grimm.

6 June 2012

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