by Rachel Schilling ’16
During my time abroad in Bremen German, I worked with Professor Janine Ludwig to apply for and complete a SIRF grant given to me by CGSE at Dickinson. This 750$ grant funded a short term research trip around the German states of Hessen and Niedersachsen to visit all of the major fairy tale museums and speak with some of the leading scholars in Grimm Brother’s research in Germany.
I was able to visit the cities where the brothers were born, grew up, studied and worked and read about the major themes in fairy tale research and Grimm research. This passion project began my sophomore year at Dickinson, when I was able to take an introduction to fairy tales course in the English department. From this course I not only learned a strong background in fairy tale studies but also realized that I needed guidance in the field if I were ever to manage a thesis or project on the Grimm Brothers. I set out to Hessen to feel the pulse of research and emerging ideas.
Throughout my trip I visited Hanau, Steinau, Kassal, Marburg and Bad Oeyenhausen. I was able to discern a revival in the research about the relationship between fairy tales and the romantic idea of the “Volk.”
Back at Dickinson in my Fall semester, I began work with Professor McGaughey on a year long research project, which would eventually accumulate to my bachelor’s thesis in German. I applied the directions and focus gained through my SIRF grant to more intense analysis of the texts and contexts around the Grimm Brothers.
As my final semester of Dickinson draws to a close I am working on the final parts of my German thesis which attempts to connect the concept of “the Volk” to the portrayal of farmers and peasants in the fairy tales and the literary style of the Grimm Brothers.