Edition Axel Menges GmbH, 2006 - Art - 79 pages
TEXT IN GERMAN. When Hans Christian Andersen was 14 years old, he left his hometown Odense on Fyn Island for Copenhagen in order to become an actor or dancer. No one knew him there. Also, he was completely destitute, had a rather unprepossessing appearance, and his education left much to be desired. He brought with him a whole host of little plays and lyrical dramas, part of them his own work -- pieces he had seen while working as an extra in the Odense theatre or learned from wandering troupes of actors. There were also stories he had heard from agricultural workers and from professional storytellers on the farms where his mother had worked as a hired hand. His father, an exceedingly well-read shoemaker who wished he had been able to go to grammar school, supported the child to the best of his ability and encouraged him in his ambitions, so that the boy's self-confidence when he arrived in Copenhagen was undiminished. Thus Andersen was filled by the desire to become a great artist, and accordingly loved to play, sing, and dance in public. Full of determination, he found out the names of well-known Copenhagen artists, knocked on their doors, and in fact many of them allowed him to show off his skills in their homes. He was regarded as a kind of child of nature, an unspoiled young savage, a naïf with a trace of genius about him. In 1820 he succeeded in getting admitted to the drama school of the Royal Theatre. Very soon, however, he decided to follow a different career. One of the theatre's directors obtained a government stipend for Andersen so that he could complete his schooling. Thus Andersen was able to finish his secondary schooling and to visit the university. In his fairy tales, children express themselves as they really are. They are not idealised, and often the stories do not end happily -- in "The Red Shoes", for example, a little girl succumbs to her vanity. Another thing that was new was the use of onomatopoetic words that break through the literary language with direct emotional expressions and that readers at the time considered to be uncultured and primitive. And yet it was the fairy tales that established Andersen's fame after he had initially become known for his novels. This volume contains a few selected fairy tales, including "The Little Mermaid" and "The Ugly Duckling", said to be Andersen's original inventions, while others go back to older Danish and foreign fairy-tale motifs that were rewritten and improved upon by Andersen. This book marks the German debut of Aurélie Blanz, who studied book illustration in Hamburg and Paris and has previously worked for a number of French publishing houses.
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