The following short texts are intended as background material for a reading and understanding of some of the elements that underlay Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen found inspiration for his literary work in many places not least in several of the stories, ballads and fairy tales that he got acquainted with as a child. One of his great sources of inspiration was the legends, narratives and messages of love in the Bible. Hans Christian Andersen was only a small boy when he read aloud from the Bible to an elderly lady in his neighbourhood. Therefore, some of the biblical texts can serve as helpful tools to discover deeper layers of meaning in the author’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen lived in a period of time in which Christianity meant a lot in Danish culture. However, the author had a laid back attitude to the dogmatic side of the religion. Throughout his life he was enquiring and experimental with regards to religious belief. He was very preoccupied with the Christian message of love and with the message that you can obtain salvation by becoming a child again. This characterizes several of his stories.

Born: April 2, 1805
Odense, Denmark
Died: August 4, 1875
Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish writer, author, and novelist

Hans Christian Andersen was the first Danish author to emerge from the lowest class. He enjoyed fame as a novelist, dramatist, and poet, but his fairy tales are his greatest contribution to world literature.

Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805, in Odense, Denmark. His father was a shoemaker, and his mother earned money washing other people's clothes. His parents spoiled him and encouraged him to develop his imagination. At the age of fourteen, Andersen convinced his mother to let him try his luck in Copenhagen, Denmark, rather than studying to become a tailor. When she asked what he planned to do in Copenhagen, he replied, "I'll become famous! First you suffer cruelly, and then you become famous."

This little gem of a story by Hans Christian Andersen reveals the ultimate test to find out whether or not a girl is a true princess. Free audio.

This wonderful fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen has an oriental setting and overtones of the Arabian Nights. A Free Audio Story from Storynory

This touching story by Hans Christian Andersen relates how a brave tin soldier keeps a stiff upper lip and remains steadfast throughout all his troubles. He is treated unfairly but never complains, and always remains true to the toy ballerina with whom he has fallen in love.

The following short texts are intended as background material for a reading and understanding of some of the elements that underlay Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen found inspiration for his literary work in many places not least in several of the stories, ballads and fairy tales that he got acquainted with as a child. One of his great sources of inspiration was the legends, narratives and messages of love in the Bible. Hans Christian Andersen was only a small boy when he read aloud from the Bible to an elderly lady in his neighbourhood. Therefore, some of the biblical texts can serve as helpful tools to discover deeper layers of meaning in the author’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen lived in a period of time in which Christianity meant a lot in Danish culture. However, the author had a laid back attitude to the dogmatic side of the religion. Throughout his life he was enquiring and experimental with regards to religious belief. He was very preoccupied with the Christian message of love and with the message that you can obtain salvation by becoming a child again. This characterizes several of his stories.

Born: April 2, 1805
Odense, Denmark
Died: August 4, 1875
Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish writer, author, and novelist

Hans Christian Andersen was the first Danish author to emerge from the lowest class. He enjoyed fame as a novelist, dramatist, and poet, but his fairy tales are his greatest contribution to world literature.

Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805, in Odense, Denmark. His father was a shoemaker, and his mother earned money washing other people's clothes. His parents spoiled him and encouraged him to develop his imagination. At the age of fourteen, Andersen convinced his mother to let him try his luck in Copenhagen, Denmark, rather than studying to become a tailor. When she asked what he planned to do in Copenhagen, he replied, "I'll become famous! First you suffer cruelly, and then you become famous."

This little gem of a story by Hans Christian Andersen reveals the ultimate test to find out whether or not a girl is a true princess. Free audio.

This wonderful fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen has an oriental setting and overtones of the Arabian Nights. A Free Audio Story from Storynory

This touching story by Hans Christian Andersen relates how a brave tin soldier keeps a stiff upper lip and remains steadfast throughout all his troubles. He is treated unfairly but never complains, and always remains true to the toy ballerina with whom he has fallen in love.

The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Jeffrey Frank and Diana Crone Frank 356pp, Granta, £15

Perhaps more than most genres, folk tales depend for their power on an absolute precision of language. Universal themes - Oedipal rivalry, oral gratification - count for a great deal, to be sure. But it is the language, subtle and insinuating, that slips beneath your defences and delivers the tales' odd, twisted meanings straight into the bloodstream.

Nunnally's translation of Andersen is wonderfully apt, managing to catch his lurching, staccato style and his anarchic, amoral universe (if you want happy endings, or at least consoling ones, you have to go to the Grimms). Her task has been not so much to add yet another layer of language on top of Andersen's original text, but rather to strip away all those accretions of uncertain German and bad English, allowing Andersen's work to finally show through in all its odd glory. Here, for instance, is Nunnally's rendering of the confrontation between the soldier (surely Andersen himself) and the witch in his very first published tale, "The Tinderbox" of 1835.

On 6 December 1867, Hans Christian Andersen was made an honorary citizen of his native city, Odense. So this year we are able to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the event which Andersen was most enthusiastic about, and which led to the city being lit up in his honour. Odense will mark the anniversary with a festival of light on 6 December.

The University of Southern Denmark is celebrating the honorary citizenship by organising and holding an international conference from 5 December to 7 December with the theme “Hans Christian Andersen and Community”.

The theme of community has never been of a more vital significance than at the present time. The process we refer to as modernity has been synonymous with fragmentation and disintegration of all kinds of traditional communities. Today, we might be facing the culmination of this process. Inequality is on the rise. The spectres of nationalism are undermining various international communities. If people unite it is too often in the mistrust and sometimes hatred of other people.

The following short texts are intended as background material for a reading and understanding of some of the elements that underlay Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen found inspiration for his literary work in many places not least in several of the stories, ballads and fairy tales that he got acquainted with as a child. One of his great sources of inspiration was the legends, narratives and messages of love in the Bible. Hans Christian Andersen was only a small boy when he read aloud from the Bible to an elderly lady in his neighbourhood. Therefore, some of the biblical texts can serve as helpful tools to discover deeper layers of meaning in the author’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen lived in a period of time in which Christianity meant a lot in Danish culture. However, the author had a laid back attitude to the dogmatic side of the religion. Throughout his life he was enquiring and experimental with regards to religious belief. He was very preoccupied with the Christian message of love and with the message that you can obtain salvation by becoming a child again. This characterizes several of his stories.

Born: April 2, 1805
Odense, Denmark
Died: August 4, 1875
Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish writer, author, and novelist

Hans Christian Andersen was the first Danish author to emerge from the lowest class. He enjoyed fame as a novelist, dramatist, and poet, but his fairy tales are his greatest contribution to world literature.

Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805, in Odense, Denmark. His father was a shoemaker, and his mother earned money washing other people's clothes. His parents spoiled him and encouraged him to develop his imagination. At the age of fourteen, Andersen convinced his mother to let him try his luck in Copenhagen, Denmark, rather than studying to become a tailor. When she asked what he planned to do in Copenhagen, he replied, "I'll become famous! First you suffer cruelly, and then you become famous."

The following short texts are intended as background material for a reading and understanding of some of the elements that underlay Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen found inspiration for his literary work in many places not least in several of the stories, ballads and fairy tales that he got acquainted with as a child. One of his great sources of inspiration was the legends, narratives and messages of love in the Bible. Hans Christian Andersen was only a small boy when he read aloud from the Bible to an elderly lady in his neighbourhood. Therefore, some of the biblical texts can serve as helpful tools to discover deeper layers of meaning in the author’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen lived in a period of time in which Christianity meant a lot in Danish culture. However, the author had a laid back attitude to the dogmatic side of the religion. Throughout his life he was enquiring and experimental with regards to religious belief. He was very preoccupied with the Christian message of love and with the message that you can obtain salvation by becoming a child again. This characterizes several of his stories.

Born: April 2, 1805
Odense, Denmark
Died: August 4, 1875
Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish writer, author, and novelist

Hans Christian Andersen was the first Danish author to emerge from the lowest class. He enjoyed fame as a novelist, dramatist, and poet, but his fairy tales are his greatest contribution to world literature.

Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805, in Odense, Denmark. His father was a shoemaker, and his mother earned money washing other people's clothes. His parents spoiled him and encouraged him to develop his imagination. At the age of fourteen, Andersen convinced his mother to let him try his luck in Copenhagen, Denmark, rather than studying to become a tailor. When she asked what he planned to do in Copenhagen, he replied, "I'll become famous! First you suffer cruelly, and then you become famous."

This little gem of a story by Hans Christian Andersen reveals the ultimate test to find out whether or not a girl is a true princess. Free audio.

This wonderful fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen has an oriental setting and overtones of the Arabian Nights. A Free Audio Story from Storynory

This touching story by Hans Christian Andersen relates how a brave tin soldier keeps a stiff upper lip and remains steadfast throughout all his troubles. He is treated unfairly but never complains, and always remains true to the toy ballerina with whom he has fallen in love.

The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Jeffrey Frank and Diana Crone Frank 356pp, Granta, £15

Perhaps more than most genres, folk tales depend for their power on an absolute precision of language. Universal themes - Oedipal rivalry, oral gratification - count for a great deal, to be sure. But it is the language, subtle and insinuating, that slips beneath your defences and delivers the tales' odd, twisted meanings straight into the bloodstream.

Nunnally's translation of Andersen is wonderfully apt, managing to catch his lurching, staccato style and his anarchic, amoral universe (if you want happy endings, or at least consoling ones, you have to go to the Grimms). Her task has been not so much to add yet another layer of language on top of Andersen's original text, but rather to strip away all those accretions of uncertain German and bad English, allowing Andersen's work to finally show through in all its odd glory. Here, for instance, is Nunnally's rendering of the confrontation between the soldier (surely Andersen himself) and the witch in his very first published tale, "The Tinderbox" of 1835.

The following short texts are intended as background material for a reading and understanding of some of the elements that underlay Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen found inspiration for his literary work in many places not least in several of the stories, ballads and fairy tales that he got acquainted with as a child. One of his great sources of inspiration was the legends, narratives and messages of love in the Bible. Hans Christian Andersen was only a small boy when he read aloud from the Bible to an elderly lady in his neighbourhood. Therefore, some of the biblical texts can serve as helpful tools to discover deeper layers of meaning in the author’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen lived in a period of time in which Christianity meant a lot in Danish culture. However, the author had a laid back attitude to the dogmatic side of the religion. Throughout his life he was enquiring and experimental with regards to religious belief. He was very preoccupied with the Christian message of love and with the message that you can obtain salvation by becoming a child again. This characterizes several of his stories.

Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales and Stories


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