List of abstracts for the IV International HCA conference - Hans Christian Andersen between children's literature and adult literature
Andersen's poems for and about children.
Considering Andersen's vast output of poetry (taking up approximately 550 printed pages), the poems specifically dealing with children number no more than about 30. Depending on the respective roles of speaker and child/children, they form three groups: (1) The poet/speaker is an observer describing a scene, and he often quotes the persons observed; (2) The poet/speaker addresses a child in the second person; (3) The poet writes role poems for a child (the speaker is a child). In time, they spread over the whole of Andersen's lterary career, from the middle 1820s to the year of his death, and they express the same range of moods that we find in his tales: the fancyful, the sentimental, the didactic, the religious, the clash between the trivial and the poetic, between innocence and experience. In his early pieces, we often find the touching narratives loved by a 19th century public, but increasingly he moves from the clichés of his time to an unpredictable, puckish humour, which goes well with the way children react to a world which for them is still full of surprises. Many of these poems were occasional pieces written for children in his circle of patrons and friends, or for their parents, and quite a few of them survive to this day as songs.