200 Jahre «Kinder- und Hausmärchen» der Brüder Grimm – Teil 1 und 2
Edited By Claudia Brinker-von der Heyde, Holger Ehrhardt and Hans-Heino Ewers
The Witches of the Brothers Grimm: Willem de Blécourt
Willem de Blécourt
The Witches of the Brothers Grimm
Witches are social constructs, but different people construct witches differently; there is no one image of the witch. Historians of European witchcraft usually distinguish between, on the one hand, the witch of the learned demonologists, who had entered into a pact with the Devil and visited witches’ sabbats, and on the other the popular witch of everyday life, who was subject of witchcraft accusations in which hardly any devils figured. Although such a distinction is useful it is still rather crude, and it needs to be debated how the two interacted.1 In the course of the eighteenth century, when there were still occasional persecutions of witches, people began to look at them as a form of entertainment and tourism;2 they also developed enough distance from the trials to start historical studies.3 The question to be addressed here is how the depictions of witches by the Grimms fit into this conglomerate. Judging from the general aim of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen to entertain and educate, the witches of the Grimms certainly seem less threatening than those who were persecuted, but witches also figured in the Deutsche Sagen and in Jacob Grimm’s Deutsche Mythologie. As I will show in this article, the Grimms adapted existing witch figures and also invented their own.
The historical study of witchcraft and its persecution has become a specialist field, but its reception has been hampered by the many...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.