Jenny T's Reviews > The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen

The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen by Hans Christian Andersen
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's review
Sep 15, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, read-in-2011
Read in September, 2011

I'm so glad I picked this up. Alongside a very readable translation of some of the original tales (divided into Stories for Children and Stories for Adults), Maria Tatar presents a wealth of comments and criticism from all sorts of scholars, writers, and folklorists, in addition to social commentary and historical tidbits. My reading list has grown significantly.

My favorite stories: The Shadow, The Wild Swans, Ole Shut-Eye. The Red Shoes was ghastly. Also, I wasn't aware how many religious undertones there were in Andersen's stories.

I learned so much. I learned that Andersen's short story "The Most Astonishing Thing" was reprinted in 1942 by a group of scholars that would soon become leaders of the Danish resistance during World War II. I learned that the Finnish word for the Aurora Borealis is "revontulet," meaning "fox fires," because according the Finnish folklore, the lights are created by Arctic foxes brushing their tails against the snow. And I learned that Anderson *really* did not like children.

ALSO, the tales are presented with artists' representations of them through the decades. Beautiful illustrations, and very, very cool.

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