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
Behind the scenes of Grimms’ German Dictionary (1838–1863). A survey of original source materials: Alan Kirkness
Behind the scenes of Grimms’ German Dictionary (1838–1863). A survey of original source materials1
Many use dictionaries, but few know what goes on behind the scenes in their making. This article looks at the first edition of the German Dictionary founded by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm (Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm [DWB]). It is a massive work, comprising in all 33 volumes totalling around 39 000 double-columned pages and including some 320 000 word entries from A to Z, and it was compiled by generations of German scholars between 1838 and 1971. It has been much praised and much criticised, and it remains an essential scholarly resource on the history of German vocabulary. This article looks inside the workplace of the Grimms as they worked on the dictionary between 1838 and 1863. It follows the various stages in the dictionary’s making, from source materials to manuscript and proofs, revisions and printed text – and beyond – and seeks to establish just who contributed what and when and how to the letters A to F, the small portion of the finished dictionary actually written by its founders. It is based primarily on the unusually extensive original source materials still extant, some of them only recently identified and barely known, many of them still unpublished, all of which both merit and would repay detailed study.2
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and their dictionary
Grimms’ German Dictionary...
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