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Zeitschrift für deutsche Mythologie und Sittenkunde (1853-1859)

It was under the lasting influence of the Grimm brothers’ work, and in particular that of Jacob Grimm’s Deutsche Mythologie (1835) (1785-1863), that the Zeitschrift für deutsche Mythologie und Sittenkunde (Journal of German Mythology and Folklore) was born. Founded in 1853 by the folktales and legends collector Johann Wilhelm Wolf (1817-1855) and published in Göttingen (Kingdom of Hanover), after Wolf’s death it was directed by the mythologist and folklorist Wilhelm Mannhardt (1831-1880), then a strong supporter of Jacob Grimm’s ideas. The famous brothers themselves published works there, as well as a cohort of their admirers, either collectors (Volkskundler) without theoretical pretensions, or more ambitious academics, philologists, mythologists, historians, folklorists and others, who proposed variations within this vast intellectual movement linking classical and barbaric antiquity to contemporary peasantry through a romantic vision of the Germanic world. Among these many contributors are renowned figures such as mythologists and philologists Adalbert Kuhn (1812-1881) and Karl Müllenhof (1818-1884), historian and folklorist Felix Liebrecht (1812-1890), writer and philologist Karl Joseph Simrock (1802-1876), translator of the Niebelungenlied into modern German, etc. In the opening words of the first volume, Johann Wilhelm Wolf stated that the two disciplines brought together in the title of the journal were still young, the importance and even the possibility of their rapprochement being due to Jacob Grimm. The journal ceased to appear after six years, in 1859, for financial reasons; but, despite multiple avatars, its four volumes, each of more than 400 pages, remained a key reference for their time.

Keywords: Folklore | Germany | Mythology | Grimm Brothers | Journals and periodicals