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Joseph Jacobs

(1854 - 1916)

Joseph Jacobs was an Australian-born author and folklorist who became an important collector and populariser of English folklore. Jacobs' contributions to the field of folktales were instrumental in preserving England's narrative heritage, and his work served as a counterbalance to the Brothers Grimm's dominance in the area of fairy tale collection.

Educated at Sydney University and later at Cambridge University in England, Jacobs was a man of varied interests, including folklore, literary history, and anthropology. He was a prominent member of the Folklore Society in Britain and edited the society's journal for a time.

Jacobs' most enduring legacy lies in his adaptions of fairy tales meant for an English-speaking audience. His compilations include "English Fairy Tales" (1890) and "More English Fairy Tales" (1894), which brought together tales like "Jack and the Beanstalk," "The Three Little Pigs," and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Jacobs sought to preserve the story-telling language of oral tradition in his texts, making them highly readable and appealing to a broad readership.

In addition to his folkloric work, Jacobs published influential essays on Jewish history and culture, as well as children's books. Throughout his multifaceted career, Jacobs maintained a deeply scholarly approach to his subjects while striving to make his findings accessible and enjoyable to the general public.

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