Monday, August 29, 2011

29th August Joseph Jacobs (1854 - 1916)

According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, the renowned author, folklorist, and reteller of English fairytales, Joseph Jacobs was born in Australia to English immigrant parents. He attended Sydney Grammar School where he was school captain in 1871 and then studied at Sydney University before leaving Australia to study at Cambridge. This was news to me so more should be made of this in Australia. He wrote at length about Jewish literary concerns and published books of fables and fairytales.

Jacobs was concerned that English children were growing up with French (Perrault) and German (Grimm) fairytales. His books meant that children came to see some of the fairytales as being 'English'. Tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk; The Three Bears; The Three Pigs; Henny Penny; and Tom Thumb became well known and other lesser known ones such as The Three Sillies; Teeny-Tiny Woman and Tom Tit Tot were only found in English collections. Our library has Edward Ardizzone's English Fairy Tales which pays homage to Joseph Jacob's contribution to English children's folklore.

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