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This content is taken from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre's online course, Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales. Join the course to learn more.

Weekly focus fairy tales and themes

Week by week course overview

This week, we’ll have a general introduction to Hans Christian Andersen’s life and works. Next week, we’ll take a closer look at the fairy tale genre and useful analysis models, and we’ll start exploring fairy tales. In each subsequent week you’ll have the opportunity to read, analyse and discuss one or two specific fairy tale(s) and its/their themes. To get the best out of each week, we recommend that you read the focus fairy tales while following the course and engage in the discussions, analyses and interpretations. Not everyone will have the same interpretation, so it will be important to take part in the discussions and see what others think.

There isn’t necessarily a right answer. There are better answers and there are less convincing ones. The more you practice analysis and interpretation the more adept you will become, and the more you will be able to get out of a fairy tale in your day-do-day reading.

The course week by week

  1. An introduction to Hans Christian Andersen and his works.
  2. Introduction to the fairy tale genre, the folk tale inspiration and useful analysis models with the folk tale ‘The Blue Light’ and Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Tinderbox’.
  3. Hans Christian Andersen’s experimental rewritings of folk tales with the folk tale ‘The Riddle’ and Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Spectre’ and The Travelling Companion’.
  4. An original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale - The Little Mermaid.
  5. Hans Christian Andersen’s new fairy tales with ‘The Snow Queen’ and ‘The Story of a Mother’.
  6. Hans Christian Andersen’s recycling of the folk tale with ‘The Red Shoes. The final week also includes an essay with peer review and tips on how to engage in further studies of Hans Christian Andersen.

You can download all the fairy tales featured in this course on the website of the Hans Christian Andersen Centre. Note that the versions on this website are new English translations that might differ from other versions you have found on the web or in books.

If you are interested in reading other fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen, you can find a large collection of his fairy tales translated into English on this web site: The Complete Andersen.

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You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests: Ensure you’ve mastered the material with access to tests on the course.

A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible. Find out more.

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This article is from the free online course:

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen Centre