HCA seems like such a close friend and fellow human traveller to me. Once in Denmark, in front of a beautiful bronze statue of him sitting calmly on a chair, I felt so close to his pain. And what could be a better way of dedicating your life than instead of wallowing in your personal pain, than to spread beauty and kindness through your art and immortal words. I don't think there has ever been a writer who managed to stay so true to his own personal difficulties and struggles and yet at the same time complete story upon story bringing so much hope and faith to humanity (and interestingly enough especially to women) as he managed to do. And at the same time he bared his naked soul complete with all it's repressed desires, amorous, sexual and otherwise, perennial disappointments and broken dreams. This literary giant from Odense proved once and for all that no compromises are necessary when it comes to self expression. My favorite living composer (and an acolyte of the great Schnittke) was given the honor of composing a ballet based on The Little Mermaid for the inaugural concert at the new Opera House in Copenhagen, with choreography of the great Neumeier who worked with Schnittke himself on his masterpiece Peer Gynt. Lera Auerbach created a ballet truly on par with HCA's short story's darker side, the darker parallel aspect of his work so often ignored for the sake of translations appropriate for children. To win something you have to risk it all and when it becomes necessary to pay the bill you face the consequences, however harsh and painful. That is the true cost of Kierkegaard's great Leap of Faith into the Unknown. And Hans Christian Andersen knew this and willingly paid the price. We owe him our gratitude, admiration, respect and above all; our love.Nhung Nguyen
A part of my childhood....Alice
I feel slightly obligated to like this more since I'm of Danish descent, but what can you do. I find this book interesting from a historic perspective mostly, although I do really enjoy the original version of the Little Mermaid because she ultimately died (sorry, no spoiler alerts here: if you aren't familiar with a hundreds of years old popular fairy tale by now, tough!). I mean, what else do expect would happen? There can be no happy ending when you give up your entire self in the hope that a man will notice you.I also remember really enjoying some of these stories as a kid. We had a different collection of original stories, and I think it was more a best-of type thing. But yeah, I did find some of descriptions fascinating as a kid, like 'eyes as big as saucers' and something about someone getting stuffed in a sack and drowned in a river. I know, it sounds very morbid and probably something a kid shouldn't be reading. But honestly it didn't upset me. There's something about the way these stories are written where they can get away with more morbid material. I guess there's some brillance in that sense alone.Anyway, that's why I gave it a 3 stars instead of a 4. It doesn't capture my attention nearly as much now as when I was a kid.Adam K.
I've waited too long after reading this one to remember many specifics, so my rating and my review have more to do with an overall impression. I really enjoyed parts of this collection as well as valued the stories for their literary heritage. However, as I was reading this to my boys to put them to sleep at night, I began having a very hard time with the several stories Andersen wrote in which children died cruelly, either to teach them a lesson or because it was, simply, the way of things. It's not exactly Grimm's, but it is off-putting, especially for me, a father who is trying to teach my sons of their worth and potential. I'm also trying to build their trust both in God and me not to let bad things happen to them, nor do I want them to believe they could ever commit an offense so bad that it earns them the worst possible consequence of karma and fate. I'm not sure why storytellers used to write this way, but I can only assume it's because people once had a very fatalistic view of life. The fact that we are sometimes still attracted to this kind of storytelling and even celebrate it means we still have much growing to do. I prefer gentler children's stories, especially when I'm reading them to sleep. I prefer good things to happen to children in stories. Otherwise, I feel like I'm giving them a bad model. Children need to feel safe and secure. There is PLENTY of time to learn about the darkness in the world when they get older. Those looking for an alternative, a story with many happy returns, might I suggest my own "A Night with St. Nick"?Emma
This is bittersweet for me. Being from Denmark, I've grown up listening to H.C. Andersen's stories. He's like our number one cultural treasure. When it comes to certain stories, I been forced to read them so many times I've grown sick of them. Danish teachers would time and time again make us go through the same stories, and there were a few years, when even the mention of his name would make me want to scream. It was simply too much of a good thing.But he's written so many stories, and as I got older and read more of his work, I started appreciate that he was an excellent writer, who wrote many wonderful stories. What I really like, is how there are so many levels to his fairytales. When you read them as an adult, especially if you know a bit about him, they are so much more than just simple fairytales.Iceman
Hans Christian Andersen nasceu em Copenhague, Dinamarca, no dia 4 de Agosto de 1805. filho de um sapateiro e de uma lavadeira, Hans teve uma infância muito dura, tendo passado inclusivamente fome, no entanto e em sua casa, o amor nunca faltou.Desde muito cedo sentiu que o seu destino estava ligado às artes, pois a sua paixão pela música e pela dança levaram-no a pensar que o seu futuro estaria numa dessas duas actividades, mas foram precisamente as dificuldades sentidas na infância, combinada com a humilde profissões dos pais, que lhe moldam o carácter e o levam ao mundo da literatura, poesia e teatro.Christian Andersen era humilde, honesto e de índole boa, dotado de uma enorme capacidade de observação, apaixonou-se pelos contos tradicionais dinamarqueses, sendo daí que lhe veio a inspiração para criar os seus contos, contos esses que desde essa altura, alimentaram os sonhos de adultos e crianças por todo o mundo.São muitos os registos que chegaram aos nossos dias sobre a vida deste poeta, principalmente devido ao facto de ele ter sido reconhecido e acarinhado ainda em vida, sendo mesmo visto como um herói nacional.Sabe-se, por exemplo, que o seu aniversário era festejado em toda a Dinamarca e que até o rei se deslocava a casa de Andersen para o cumprimentar pessoalmente.Não quero aqui entrar em considerações sobre a vida deste ilustre escritor, simplesmente porque existe muitos textos detalhados sobre a sua vida, uma vida rica que se estendeu por vários países (entre os quais Portugal), para quem esteja interessado, sugiro uma visita a este site: http://purl.pt/768/1/, site que faz uma justa homenagem a Hans Christian Andersen.Esta obra, ”Contos”, traz a grande maioria dos seus contos. Uns conhecidos e levados à cena de várias formas, outros desconhecidos, mas que nada ficam a dever aos outros.Quero contudo deixar uma ressalva que raramente vejo comentada.Hans Christian Andersen escreveu estes contos, mas raramente os fez a pensar nas crianças, aliás, ele quando os escreveu tinha como certo que eles se destinavam mais para as crianças, no entanto, ele achava que as crianças tinham que saber que o mundo não era “cor-de-rosa” e a linguagem utilizada e sobretudo a forma do conto, era nua a crua. Os contos de Andersen são essencialmente morais, todos eles têm uma mensagem subjacente e raros são aqueles que acabam bem, inclusivamente a maior parte deles tem um fim violento.A edição que possuo é a do “Público”, lançada no ano da comemoração dos 200 anos do nascimento do escritor por ocasião do Natal, edição essa que contém os contos na sua forma original e, para medirem o grau dos contos, apenas dois ou três desses contos posso contá-los à minha filha sem estar a medir as palavras.Pois bem, quem não conhece curiosidades como o ”O Patinho Feio”, “A Princesa e a Ervilha”, “A sereiazinha”, “A vestimenta do Imperador”, “A polegarzinha”, “A rapariguinha dos fósforos”, “O soldadinho de chumbo”. Ao que junto contos fantásticos como ”A gota de água”, “O Elfo da rosa”, “É absolutamente certo” (este conto é fantástico e o preferido da minha filha), ”Os sapatos vermelhos”, entre outros. Contos simples, entre os fantástico e o realista, escrito em tom poético e sempre tendo como motivo principal a pobreza, a humildade, e os necessitados. E é aqui que os seus contos ganham estatura, pois eles levam os pobres a sonhar e a acreditar que não são menos que ninguém, que a humanidade é igual em qualquer extracto social, e que, se calhar, os pobres e os humildes têm mais do que os ricos: Amor, esperança e compaixão.Pessoalmente gosto muitos dos contos deste fabuloso poeta, que chegou a passar algum tempo em Portugal, nomeadamente em Sintra, numa pequena casa onde actualmente se encontra uma placa a celebrar o facto. Andersen gostava tanto do nosso país e de Sintra que chegou a escrever um livro com o título: “Viagem a Portugal”.A escrita é simples e fluída. Os contos são todos muito curtos e é fácil descortinar qual a moralidade do conto.Aconselho os contos deste grande poeta, sobretudo pela forma como nos faz sonhar e nos liga a outros mundos absolutamente mágicos.Dilyana Georgieva
Вълшебен. И него четох в първи курс в университета, губи ми се представата и съпоставката как го възприемат децата (като изключим най-известните приказки). Но отвъд онези истории, които всички знаем наизуст и не помним кой ги е писал, Андерсен има и много други. С много дълбока метафоричност, на моменти доближаващ се до уайлдовските приказки дори.Lyndsay
I recieved a very old copy of this book for my 8th birthday from my mother. It has a dark green cover that is textured. It is full of old color pictures some of which were very scary to me at the time, scary black widow spiders with human faces & such. I'm not sure of the edition or day it was made, the only page gone from the whole book,is that one! But it had been through many people before me. I guess what I liked about these fairy tales others may not, the tales are often sad in their endings. And murders occur in others. The matchstick girl to scared to face her parents without selling all her matches freezes to death out on the streets. But again this is one of those books I always come back to, to read again & again!Amir Kafshdar Goharshady
هانس کریستین اندرسن. نام این شخص و کتابهایش آنقدر آشناست که نوشتن در مورد آنها سخت است.این مجموعه شامل چندتا از خاطرهانگیزترین داستانهای دوران کودکی من و تعداد زیادی داستان جدید بود. نوشتههای هانس اندرسن آنقدر برایم شیرین است که شک دارم بتوانم خود را یک «آدمبزرگ» بنامم.اما چیزی که مرا به نوشتن این خطها واداشت، قصههای او نیست. در این کتاب مجموعهای از اشعار هانس کریستین اندرسن نیز چاپ شده است که نمونههایی بسیار قابل توجه از بیان پیچیدهترین حقایق زندگی به زبان کودکان است. من همیشه توانایی اندرسن در رساندن پیامهایش در قالب داستانهای کوتاه و آموزنده را میستودم، اما در بین این صفحات با اشعاری مواجه شدم که بدون از دست دادن لطفی که در زبان کودکان هست و بدون استفاده از تشبیه و استعاره، با مخاطبش بسیار جدی سخن میگوید. در این جاست که اندرسن با حفظ سمت قصهگو و معلم اخلاق، جامعهشناس و رفتارشناس هم میشود و من جامعهشناسی ساده، قابل فهم و کودکانهی او را میپسندم.Sherri Anderson
This fully illustrated compilation of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales is a comprehensive collection of this prolific writer’s most transcendent work. Andersen’s style is uniquely his own, even though the repeated plot structure of his tales is somewhat predictable. After reading several of his fairy tales, readers identify an emerging pattern that hints at Andersen’s tendency to end his tales with a dark tinge of irony.Characters are portrayed as one-dimensional archetypes whose outward appearance often correlates with their inner virtues or moral failings. Readers identify and predict that the fair-haired princess will be good and the ugly troll will be evil; the witch will be crafty and the stable boy will be dimwitted. Andersen’s fairy tales are written in a style that makes the reader sympathize immediately with characters who are innocent or vulnerable. Conversely, readers are just as susceptible to feelings of despise toward evil or malicious characters.Themes and motifs vary from tale to tale. As is true with fables, many of Andersen’s fairy tales serve to impart a lesson or suggest a warning. Although each of the 156 tales is compact in length, the somewhat morbid themes in this lofty 800-page book deem it appropriate for readers aged 9 and up. Children may not realize that many wildly popular animated Disney films are adaptations of fairy tales. Students could practice comparing and contrasting Andersen’s original tales with the animated, feature-length productions that have been modified to appeal to wide audiences.Chris
Today, Hans Christian Andersen would be given drugs and therapy, and then more drugs. He would be put into a study about repressed homosexuals and boys with a mamma fixation. All this because of his stories. Andersen’s stories are also not very happy when you truly think about them. For every happy story, like “The Ugly Duckling”, there are at least two sad stories. Yet Andersen, at least in American circles, is considered a children’s author. Whether this is due to those editions or retellings of Andersen’s stories that make the ending happy, I don’t know. I do know that I have read Andersen more times than I have read the Brothers Grimm and that Andersen speaks to more people than the Grimm brothers ever will. The Grimms were interested in collecting folktales and folklore. Andersen is interested in telling stories. Outside of Demark and other northern countries, he is known for his stories, in particular for his fairy stories. This is misleading for Andersen also wrote plays and poems as well as travelogues and autobiographies. His first success wasn’t with his fairy stories. His poem about a mother mourning her dead children is touching (and a theme that enters into one of his tales). Even just considering his stories, people are misled. Everyone thinks they know “The Little Mermaid,” “The Ugly Duckling”, or “The Little Match Girl”, fewer people know the stories how they actually are and even fewer know more of Andersen’s work, such as “The Shadow” or ‘”The Storks”. This does Andersen a huge injustice. Andersen was heavily influenced by several things in his writing. It is common knowledge that he was influenced by folklore and the stories told to him by his grandmother, but he was also influenced by the German writers that predated him or who were his contemporaries. While it is not apparent in his better known tales, he had a strong love of country (even though he always seemed to be traveling away from it) as well as a good dose of patriotism. He was also religious, though this seems to come though in his tale more than anything else. Several critics have pointed out that Andersen has a cult of suffering. His leads his heroes and heroines always suffer. The Ugly Duckling gets frozen in water, the Little Mermaid feels as if she is walking on knives (or broken glass); the Marsh King’s Daughter is transformed into a frog, the little Match Girl freezes to death, the money pig breaks, the storks deliver dead babies. Andersen’s characters seem to suffer far more than those people in the Grimm’s tales (though that isn’t a cake walk either). Andersen, however, is still a considered a children’s author because of the tone, his use of sound (read his tales aloud if you don’t believe me), of putting himself in a child’s shoes (who doesn’t imagine the flowers coming to life). Too often people look at Andersen in the simplest terms. Take “The Little Mermaid” for example. Many today know the story not as Andersen’s but as Disney’s. They think that the mermaid marries her prince and everyone lives happily ever after. While the cursory reader of Andersen knows that this is not the ending, a deeper reading reveals, if not a happy ending, perhaps a slightly hopeful one as well as a few details about the prince. In the mermaid’s story, Andersen presents a people where the women seem to help each (the witch, the mermaid’s sisters, the mermaid herself) and where the only male who does anything is the prince himself. The mermaid and her sisters are desexualized (she loses her voice, they their hair). The prince treats the mermaid like his pet dog. The mermaid, however, wants a soul more than a prince. She acts more as if she has a soul more than prince. By taking “The Little Mermaid” and reducing the plot to a love story, the adaptor or reader does Andersen a disservice and dismisses the larger issue. In the story, it is the non-humans, the merfolk, who appear to have those virtues that humanity claims – compassion. The mermaid might eventually get her soul though she doesn’t get her prince. Today, there is a movement to de-religion stores (look at Narnia in both the movies and the exhibit), but to do so to Andersen guts this story. Or take “The Marsh King’s Daughter”, one of Andersen’s lesser known popular tales. Fairy Tales always treat rape as a non issue or blame the victim. Sleeping Beauty, for example, in some versions is woken by the birth of twins, yet never seems to feel any emotional upheaval. Andersen is one of the few fairy tale writers to deal with the issue of rape and not fully gloss over it. Like the Grimms, who buried the incest theme of some tales, Andersen glosses over the attack that starts “The Marsh King’s Daughter”. The daughter of the title is the offspring of the Marsh King and the Egyptian princess who he attacks. This daughter is full of rage and pain except at night when she becomes a frog. Part of the story is about the daughter coming to terms with this rage. Where else would the rage come off except for the attack on the mother? Many of Andersen’s tales are concerned with relationships, in particular those of mothers and children. Many critics have discovered or argued for the presence of Andersen’s own relationship with his mother in these tales. Andersen’s mother, who gave birth to a bastard daughter before marrying Andersen’s father, comes off looking less like a saint and more like a drunk if this is true. But then, there is a tale like “She Was a Good for Nothing” where the mother is a drunk who dearly loves and cares for her son. In this story, Andersen contrasts public view versus private life, of how the upper class views the lower class. Andersen is often concerned with class in his tales. The upper classes tend to be dismissive of the lower classes, though it is the lower classes that exhibit more of those human virtues. Sometimes, like in “The Tinderbox”, Andersen even seems to attack the royalty, seemingly suggesting that the old order must give to the new. Even in his class stories, Andersen also shows a great love and knowledge of his country. Some of his stories are about the humble beginnings of Great Danes (no, not the dogs) like Thorvaldsen, whose work Andersen seemed to love if Andersen’s stories are anything to go by. It should also be noted that in some of stories, especially in stories where different classes of children met, Andersen suggests more of equality than out and out class warfare. Andersen’s stories aren’t all for children; in fact, as he wrote more stories, Andersen saw himself as writing more for adults and this would example the class conscious stories, but also the longer stories like “The Ice Maiden” or “Ib and Little Christine”. It is in the longer stories that one can see the German romantic influence on Andersen. While the tales are more adult, they also consider several of the same themes that inhabit his more child friendly stories. While “Ib and Little Christine” can be rather annoying if you are female reader, it is impossible to describe the creeping feeling of unease that stories such as “The Ice Maiden” and “The Shadow” inspire. Andersen borrowed from more than his grandmother and the Germans. His “The Rose Elf” presents a revenge minded “Pot of Basil”, a twist on a familiar tale presented by Boccaccio but also used by Keats among others. Andersen’s variation of the “Seven Swans” makes far more sense than other versions, even if it is chaster than those other versions. Andersen’s most famous story might be “The Ugly Duckling”, a story that many critics, rightly it seems, consider to be Andersen’s most autobiographical work. This isn’t to say that the similar theme of belonging, of fitting in, doesn’t appear in other works. There are shades of “Duckling” in “Thumbelina” as well as some of the class conscious Andersen short stories. “The Ugly Duckling” is more memorable because the plot of the story could happen. The plot of “Thumbelina”, not so much. We believe in the duckling becoming the swan because of the way Andersen sets up the story – a mistake could happen. Today, even with all our supposed advancements, you still have hospital mix ups. In most of Andersen’s stories, the reader can meet actual places and people that Andersen knew or admired. Edvard Collin, Andersen’s man crush, appears, as does Jenny Lind. Even smaller characters in Andersen’s history, less well known to the average reader, seem to appear. Andersen’s teachers, the women Andersen felt rejected him (or whom Andersen allowed himself to be rejected by); all seem to appear. Copenhagen is a time honored companion in the stories, but so is Andersen’s love of Italy. This sense of place gives another level of reality to the tales, a level that seems to be missing from the works of the Grimms or Perrault. While many of Andersen’s tales have “morals” or lessons, they are not spelled out as in the work of Aesop or Fontatine. Andersen respects his reader, be that reader a child or an adult, and knows that his reader can follow his lesson without the moral being directly spelled out. Perhaps it is this reason that examines Andersen’s staying power even among, or especially among, female readers.Andersen’s female characters do seem to get punished at far steeper rate than his male characters. While it is true that the Ugly Duckling freezes, his end is far different than those ends of the girls in “The Little Match Girl”, “The Red Shoes” or “The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf”. To say that Andersen was sexist would be a mistake. Even in stories where the girl is horribly punished there are good women – the grandmother, the girl who prays for Karen. More importantly, one of Andersen’s most famous stories, “The Snow Queen” presents two strong willed girls, one of whom keeps her independence; another of women is helped by more women than man when she quests to save her childhood fan who also is perhaps her adult love or husband.The statue of the Little Mermaid, which just recently had its birthday, in many ways, is a fitting and unfitting memorial to Andersen. Like Andersen himself, the statue has survived various attempts to deface it. Andersen faults against those who mocked him, who tried to educate the imagination out of him, or who ignored him because of his class. He survived the fact that he would not be able to fulfill his first dream, to be a dancer. The statue of the mermaid has overcome beheadings, defacing, and veils to still exist as a tourist attraction. But like the works of Andersen’s own works, few people who see the statue know true story of the character the statue is based on, few know the story of the statue itself or of the Kasslett located nearby. Fewer know that it is not the only statue in Copenhagen depicting a merperson that has connection to Andersen (he wrote a story based on the Forsake Merman). Perhaps it is this sense of mystery that keeps Andersen’s popularity. We are introduced to him at two points in our lives. The first time when we are children. The second time when we are older, perhaps after seeing the statue or reading a story to a child. We can have two different readings of Andersen, the man and his work.Angela Alcorn
Project Gutenberg has a free ebook and audiobook of a Hans Christian Andersen book with 18 fairy tales in it. These are the stories in the Project Gutenberg files: -- The emperor's new clothes -- The swineherd -- The real princess -- The shoes of fortune -- The fir tree -- The snow queen -- The leap-frog -- The elderbush -- The bell -- The old house -- The happy family -- The story of a mother -- The false collar -- The shadow -- The little match girl -- The dream of little Tuk -- The naughty boy -- The red shoes.We have Andersen, contes, but I'm not sure if it's the same stories as this edition. We also have this cool illustrated French version: Contes d'Andersen.Mykee Tan (陈 树 叶)
Whenever I get exhausted from listening to lectures, writing papers, making reports or solving problems at the university, I always find that at the end of the day, all I need to calm down my traffic jam of a six-day school week is a pleasant story from Andersen's collection of stories. There is something so compelling about Andersen's tales. They are the simplest, shortest stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading and yet, their morals leave me thinking far past the stories themselves and onto a broad array of matters which I encounter around me every single day.Erika Free
I am not sure if this is the one i have, but mine was similar to this. It had many of the stories in it, around 35 i think. Most of the stories i really liked, they had a great moral. I like the way that he writes, its very witty and fun. Some of the stories where a little gory-er then i would like, but they still where great stories. Some of the stories would basically state the moral in the story, for example, "The ugly duckling". But the others You have to think about it for awhile, until you can take you best guess at what he meant. I do not have a particular favorite, but I think i enjoyed "The Girl who Trod on The Loaf" and "The Little Mermaid" the most.Michael
Having recently moved to Denmark I needed to get familiar with its number one writer! This was a wonderful collection of stories, some rather dark truth be told but that's what makes them so special. They are fantastical, gritty, funny, sad and everything real writing should be. Classic storytelling which will stand the test of time.