List of abstracts for the IV International HCA conference - Hans Christian Andersen between children's literature and adult literature
Offering Roses to a Cow? The English and the Danish Shadow of Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen published 1847 a story about a wise and good-hearted learned man from the Nordic countries and his dark, materialistic and diabolic shadow. The Shadow (Skyggen) belongs in Denmark to the most popular and interpreted stories. Hans Brix, Johan de Mylius, Eigil Nyborg, Uffe Hansen, Klaus P. Mortensen and Johannes Møllehave have all in different excellent works opened new perspective for the interpretation of the story - but outside the Danish borders has this story never met the same interest. The interpretations are few, and where English and American booksellers can show several versions of The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling in illustrated and not-illustated, adapted and not-adapted editions, English versions of 'Skyggen' has only found their way to the big collections of Hans Christian Andersens Fairy Tales.
One of the reasons for this misproportion in the reception is in my point of view, that Hans Christian Andersen in The Shadow creates a serious of challenges for the English translator. Henry William Dulcken, mrs. Paul, Jean Hersholt, R.P. Keigwin, Reginald Spink, Erik Christian Haugaard, Dina Crone/Jeffrey Frank, Tiina Nunnally and others have during the time all delt with the problems of Andersens use of the homonyms virkelig, rigtig and sand, his use of the Danish jo and ja, the problems of De and du, the picture of offering roses to a cow and the politican uncorrect mentioned of the sunburned 'negroes'.
Via a critical - and I hope amusing - comparison of the different translations, I will open up for a new discussion of the quality of the translations of Andersen into English.