Welcome to Week 5

This week we will explore Hans Christian Andersen’s new fairy tales and his increasing modernity.

Last week, we have seen how ‘The Little Mermaid’ touches upon traditional questions related to Christianity and modern questions such as the identity crises of the main character. We have also seen that Hans Christian Andersen succeeds in portraying different perceptions of the world by creating a narrative structure of a certain complexity.

This week, we will focus on ’The Story of a Mother’ and ’The Snow Queen’.

Professor Jacob Bøggild will show you in what way these texts revisit the typical fairy tale features creating unique and modern compositions. And he will help you analyse the author’s capacity to adapt the fairy tale genre to a modern reflection on religious meaning as well as on the medium of fiction.

It might be useful to consider Hans Christian Andersen’s tales as allegorical, i.e. stories that point to a hidden or symbolic parallel meaning. So our reading tip for you this week is to look below the surface and explore these hidden and symbolic meanings.

As we go though this week, here are some questions to bear in mind:

  • What distinguishes Hans Christian Andersen’s new fairy tales from his fairy tales told for children?
  • Why do you think that Hans Christian Andersen also calls his new texts “fairy tales”?
  • To what degree do you think that these fairy tales are more modern or perhaps modern in a different way than the fairy tales told for children?

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This article is from the free online course:

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen Centre