Online course

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Explore the fairy tale world of HC Andersen - the inspiration behind The Little Mermaid and Frozen - with this free online course.

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Why join the course?

This free online course will introduce you to some of Hans Christian Andersen’s most popular fairy tales, help you analyse the themes in these, and give you the possibility to discuss the author’s cross-cultural importance today, as the inspiration behind many popular books and movies.

Interpret Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales with experts from his birthplace

You will learn with experts from the HC Andersen Center at the University of Southern Denmark – an internationally renowned research institution located in the writer’s birthplace, Odense.

Each week, these experts will guide a discussion, analysis and interpretation of one or more of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, including:

  • The Tinderbox
  • The Travelling Companion
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Snow Queen (the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen)
  • The Story of a Mother
  • The Red Shoes

New English translations of the fairy tales will be used. You can download them from this website .

You will explore the themes of each story, and investigate how they both conform with and digress from the patterns of the traditional folk tale.

The fairy tale genre became very popular in the period of literary history to which Hans Christian Andersen belongs, Romanticism, when childhood was discovered as an age that is important in its own right. What Hans Christian Andersen did with this genre is absolutely unique - there are no other writers of fairy tales like him.

Through the course, you will understand how Hans Christian Andersen’s authorship developed. From the rewriting of old folk tales via self-invented fairy tales to his so-called new fairy tales characterized by a modern approach.

Explore Hans Christian Andersen’s enduring, universal appeal

Hans Christian Andersen grew from humble beginnings, to achieve fame and acknowledgement as an artist in both Europe and America while he was still alive. After his death, he became famous in Asia and all other parts of the world.

The majority of Hans Christian Andersen’s 157 fairy tales have been translated into at least 150 languages. They do not only create a fantasy world for children, but also explore universal, sinister and more adult themes such as death, grief and loss.

Through this course, you will discover why his stories have such an enduring and universal appeal - for both children and adults.

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When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced
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Who is the course for?

You will need a basic ability to read and understand Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales in English. Otherwise, a curiosity about and a love for the fairy tale genre is the sole prerequisite for the course.

Who will you learn with?

Jacob Bøggild

Professor at The Hans Christian Andersen Centre, University of Southern Denmark. Has written a book, edited several anthologies and written numerous articles about Hans Christian Andersen.

Ivy York Möller-Christensen

Ivy York Möller-Christensen is a professor at the Department for the Study of Language, Literature and Media at Europa-Universität, Flensburg, Germany, and a visiting fellow at the HC Andersen Center.

Johannes Nørregaard Frandsen

Johs. Nørregaard Frandsen is a professor at and Head of The Hans Christian Andersen Centre at the University of Southern Denmark.

Mette Dam Laursen

Mette has an MA in comparative literature and is the facilitator on the course Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales.

Torsten Bøgh Thomsen

Torsten Bøgh Thomsen is a PhD at the Hans Christian Andersen Centre, University of Southern Denmark. His research includes studies in Romanticism, Ecocriticism and Aesthetic Theory.

Who developed the course?

The Hans Christian Andersen Centre at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark is the world’s leading institution within the field of Hans Christian Andersen research.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats, to celebrate taking part.

$54.00