DK | EN
Papers from the previous international HCA conferences
H.C. Andersen-centret ved Syddansk Universitet. Hjemmesiden er en base for forskning, tekster og information om og af H.C. Andersen. Man kan finde materialer om (nøgleordene) eventyr, forfatter, litteratur, børnelitteratur, børnebøger, undervisning, studie, Victor Borge, HC Andersen, H. C. Andersen, liv, værk, tidstavle og biografi, citater, drømme, FAQ, oversættelse, bibliografi, anmeldelser, quiz, børnetegninger, 2005 og manuskripter
The Hans Christian Andersen Center

Papers from the previous international HCA conferences

Skip over navigation and news

From the chapter "Aktuel H.C. Andersen-forskningssituation i en række repræsenterede lande" (Current Hans Christian Andersen research in a range of the represented countries), Andersen and the World, Odense 1993 (further information at the bottom of the page).

Hans Christian Andersen Research in the United States

In an article from 1984, entitled "Hans Andersen as an English Writer",1 Viggo Hjørnager Pedersen provocatively states:

The following is a plea for considering Hans Andersen as an English writer on the grounds that from the very beginning up to the present day his works have appeared in English just as frequently, just as quickly, and in some cases even before they appeared in Danish.

With the understanding that Hjørnager Pedersen probably refers to Andersen as the writer of fairy tales rather than of novels, plays and travelogues, his statement is indeed correct. In fact, every bibliography from Elias Bredsdorff's from 19502 to Carol L. Schroeder's from 19763 and Aage Jørgensen's Hans Christian Andersen bibliographies,4 supplemented with Jørgensen's Dansk litteraturhistorisk bibliografi 1967-1986 from 1989,5 confirms the characterization of Andersen "as an English writer", with an expansion of the definition, given by Hjørnager Pedersen in his notes: "By 'English' I mean 'British' when Andersen is regarded from a mid-nineteenth century point of view; from a modern point of view, however, 'English' means 'written in English'".

The indication, "written in English" obviously also includes those works by Andersen which are published in the United States, and, in accordance with Hjørnager Pedersen's new definition, it is precisely c. 1850 that Andersen begins to appear on the American book market, a geographical shift, which - hardly coincidentally - runs parallel to a shift in the audience's taste from Andersen's novels toward his tales and stories.

Andersen's popularity as a novelist with an English-speaking audience around and after the turn of the nineteenth century is reflected in a series of simultaneous or almost simultaneous translations of De to Baronesser, At være eller ikke være, and Lykke-Peer, but with the interesting difference that Lykke-Peer was published in New York rather than in London. Nevertheless, the English-speaking market from that point on became increasingly dominated by the tales and stories. Thus, Improvisatoren has not been published in English since 1919, At være eller ikke være since its first-time translation in 1857, and Lykke-Peer (as a separate publication) since 1875. A similar lack of interest also pertains to Andersen's other novels.

Therefore, an evaluation of Andersen as an "American writer" to a large degree is synonymous with Andersen as a writer of fairy tales. In the early stages the market was dominated by British translations, which were then issued as pirated editions by American publishers. Thus, Mary Howitt's translation of Improvisatoren as Life in Italy: The Improvisatore came out in 1845 both in London and New York, her Wonderful Stories for Children in 1846 in the same two cities, and finally her translation of Andersen's German autobiography from 1847, The True Story of My Life, in 1847 both in London and Boston.

On the other hand, Lykke-Peer was first published in New York6 before the novel was issued in London. Behind this initiative was Andersen's correspondent and first American publisher, Horace E. Scudder, who, with an article from 1861, "The Fairy Legends of Hans Christian Andersen",7 actually laid the foundation for Andersen scholarship in America - Georg Brandes's pioneering article on Andersen was not published until 1870.8 Scudder, whose correspondence with Andersen, The Andersen-Scudder Letters, was published as late as 1949,9 also took the initiative to compile the ten-volume edition of Andersen's works, the so-called "Author's Edition", published in Boston/New York in 1869-70. The seventh volume contains the first printing of the final version of Andersen's autobiography, at Scudder's request, supplemented with material covering the years 1855-67. It is likewise noteworthy that ten of Andersen's latest tales and stories were published in the United States even before they were printed in Denmark.10

The first American fairy tale edition, independent from any British source, The Ice-Maiden and Other Tales is from 1863. It was published in Philadelphia and translated by Fanny Fuller from German which at that time was no unusual procedure. Hereafter, the publication of American editions accelerated with three editions in 1864, in 1866, and in 1869 respectively. After the turn of the century, the rate increased even more. It is remarkable, but not quite unexpected, that of all of Andersen's writings almost exclusively fairy tales were published. A spot-check in Bredsdorff's bibliography for the year 1919 shows seven collections of tales and stories published in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Akron, Ohio. Hereafter, hardly a year went by without at least one fairy tale edition being published; up to 1950 the average was three volumes per year.

After 1950 Carol L. Schroeder's bibliography becomes a primary source, listing altogether 136 collections in English for the period 1950-80, of which 74 were published in England, 12 in Denmark, only one in Australia - and 49 in the United States. These statistics do not include the innumerable separate editions of various tales and stories, frequently provided with the information "retold" or "adapted", which indicates that Andersen in these instances deliberately has been relegated to the children's book section of the bookstore. Neither does Jørgensen's latest bibliography include such separate editions. Of fairy tale editions published in the United States since 1980 he lists the following:

Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Andersen. Translated, with an introduction by Patricia L. Conroy and Sven H. Rossel (Seattle, 1980).11

The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales. Edited by Lily Owens (New York, 1981).

The Shadow and Other Tales. Edited with an introduction by Niels Ingwersen (Madison, 1981).

Eighty Fairy Tales. Translated by R. P. Keigwin. Introduction by Elias Bredsdorff (New York, 1982).

Besides these fairy tale editions the following Andersen texts were also published during this period in the United States:

A Poet's Bazaar. Translated with an introduction by Grace Thornton (New York, 1988).

The Diaries of Hans Christian Andersen. Selected and translated by Patricia L. Conroy and Sven H. Rossel (Seattle, 1990).

Thus, if one wants to evaluate the last decade with regard to Andersen translations then at least the fairy tales are faring quite well. Besides the four already mentioned editions, especially the somewhat earlier The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories. Translated by Erik C. Haugaard (London and New York, 1974) has become popular and it is also possible to find reprints of various older editions in the bookstores. Thus Books in Print 1991-92,12 besides the five editions listed above, lists an additional 17 editions with selections of tales and stories, 14 separate editions of "The Ugly Duckling", 12 of "The Nightingale" (which is also entitled "The Emperor's Nightingale" or "Emperor and Nightingale"), 11 of "The Snow Queen", "The Emperor's New Clothes", and "Thumbelina", 7 of "The Princess and [sic!] the Pea" and "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", 6 of "The Fir Tree", 5 of "The Little Matchgirl", and - surprisingly enough - "The Little Mermaid", 4 of "The Wild Swans", 3 of "The Red Shoes", 2 of "The Swineherd" and "The Tinderbox" and one of "The Comet", "Little Ida's Flowers", "It's Perfectly True", "The Marsh King's Daughter", "The Old House", and "Pen and the Inkwell". In addition A Visit to Germany, Italy and Malta 1840-41 (translated by Grace Thornton) from 1986 is listed, which is an American edition of the corresponding British edition from 1985, whereas the unsuccessful edition of Poems (translated, selected and edited by Murray Brown) from 1972 is no longer in print (and should have remained unpublished). The absence of Andersen's poems available in English has been somewhat remedied with a new selection, Brothers, Very Far Away and Other Poems (translated by Paula Hostrup-Jessen and edited and with an afterword by Sven H. Rossel) from 1991.

Although it is very unfortunate that none of Andersen's novels or autobiographies are in print at the present time, there is obviously no lack of fairy tale editions. And with regards to secondary literature, i.e. Andersen scholarship in the United States, this genre also thrives albeit not at a level comparable to that of the volumes of translations. Of course, these translations are only of interest in this context if they contain introductions, notes and/or a similar scholarly apparatus.

The most complete edition of Andersen's tales and stories, The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, is inadequate. It should however not be blamed for also including, in addition to the canonic 156 tales and stories, Billedbog uden Billeder, the tale "Herrebladene" (published posthumously after a manuscript from 1868), and, not least, the novel Lykke-Peer in its entirety. But apart from some excellent translations by Jean Hersholt, the volume contains mainly rather awkward attempts from the nineteenth century - several of them anonymous. Neither is the introduction of 1 1/2 pages worth mentioning. Of the other editions, The Complete Tales and Stories is seriously flawed by Haugaard's deliberate editing of the text, by not reproducing what Andersen wrote but rendering "what he thinks Andersen ought to have written".13 In contrast, the other editions are all highly recommendable. The shortest, The Shadow and Other Tales, contains altogether five tales, labeled by the editor, Niels Ingwersen, "philosophical tales". Among them, which comes as a surprise in an anthology context, is "Vinden fortæller om Valdemar Daae og hans Døttre", as well as notes, bibliography, and an introduction that succinctly discusses Andersen's world view - his relativism and skepticism. Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, a selection of 27 texts, which also deliberately attempts to represent the later period of Andersen's writing, opens with a critical and historical essay by Rossel (14 pages), emphasizing Andersen's artistic development and the themes of his tales and stories, supplemented by a more text-oriented discussion (7 pages) by Conroy. The volume closes with extensive notes and bibliographies. Eighty Fairy Tales is based on the one-volume edition from Flensteds Forlag (Odense, 1976). The excellent translation, which is done by Keigwin, is identical to the one published for the first time by the same publisher in 1950, whereas the five-page introduction by Bredsdorff is written especially for this new edition. It is informative and focuses on Andersen's style and the themes of his tales and stories without adding anything new to our knowledge of Andersen or mentioning any other works by him. And the very scarce biographical notes are relegated to ten lines in the back of the volume.

Thornton's translation of En Digters Bazar, A Poet's Bazaar, is far from being complete, which the discreetly added subtitle, "A Journey to Greece, Turkey and up the Danube", indicates - but obviously only to the knowledgeable reader. Thus Andersen's two introductory chapters, "Tydskland" and "Italien" have been boiled down to a section entitled "From Denmark to Malta", and also of the remaining four chapters only extracts have been translated. A translation of the first two chapters, which, however, is not complete either, can be found in Thornton's other travelogue selection, entitled A Visit to Germany, Italy and Malta 1840-41. Thornton's introduction to A Poet's Bazaar consists of bits and pieces from Andersen's biography rendered in an easy-flowing journalist style. The Diaries of Hans Christian Andersen were published as a one-volume selection based on the twelve-volume edition published by Det danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab (1971-76). The editors have attempted a chronological balance and aimed at presenting Andersen as an international figure. As an exception - but for obvious reasons - the complete entries from Andersen's stay in England in 1847 and 1857 are included. The edition is provided with illustrations, a map of Copenhagen, introduction, bibliography and a 60-page index (by Rossel), who has also linked the various excerpts with a series of inserted narrative texts. Brothers, Very Far Away and Other Poems is illustrated with Andersen's own papercuts and contains an eight-page afterword by Rossel, in which Andersen, for the first time, is discussed more comprehensively as a lyrical poet.

Of contributions to Andersen scholarship in book form attention should be drawn to the somewhat overlooked Catalog of The Jean Hersholt Collection of Hans Christian Andersen (Washington, D.C., 1954). It ought to be mentioned as one of the most significant American contributions to Andersen scholarship with its ideal cataloguing and description of "Original manuscripts, letters, first editions, presentation copies, and related materials". Otherwise, no other booklength study has been published in English (and here Canada has been included) since the following works: Frederick J. Marker's Hans Christian Andersen and the Romantic Theatre (Toronto, 1971), Elias Bredsdorff's standard biography, Hans Christian Andersen. The Story of His Life and Work 1805-75 (London/New York, 1975) and Bo Grønbech's Hans Christian Andersen (Boston, 1980). One cannot, however, with all due respect to the qualities of Bredsdorff and Grønbech, include their works among those of American scholarship. In addition, Grønbech's monograph, as has been pointed out in several reviews,14 is structured with a remarkable lack of balance; and apart from the first chapters, Marker's study is, in Johan de Mylius's words, "a book which is [not] about Andersen".15

However, Wolfgang Lederer's study, The Kiss of the Snow Queen (Berkeley, 1986), a psychiatric study, should be mentioned. Its thesis is fairly banal as the dust jacket reveals: "As Dr. Lederer persuasively argues, Andersen was convinced that for a boy to emerge into manhood, he must be redeemed from adolescent alienation by the love of a woman - a redemption Andersen yearned for but never attained" - but could dream up precisely in his tale about "Sneedronningen." The author (professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco) admits that he speaks no word of Danish. Thus he has not been able to make use of related methods found in the works of Hjalmar Helweg, Eigil Nyborg and Arne Duve. Twice Lederer refers to an article by the Dane Martin Lotz, "The Object World of Hans Christian Andersen" (1983),16 whereas he, for obvious reasons, could not make use of Lotz' book from 1988, Eventyrbroen. Psykoanalytiske studier om H. C. Andersen. Nevertheless, Lederer displays an impressive knowledge of everything by and about Andersen written in German and English, and on every other page he makes a reference to Bredsdorff's biography. Of course, once again, the reader encounters the episodes and anecdotes from Andersen's childhood and adolescence, his relationship with Edvard Collin, his fear of women and possible homosexuality (rejected by Lederer), but the study sheds no new light on Andersen, almost all information is second-hand. Unique, on the other hand, is Lederer's cliche-ridden language already confronting the reader in the introduction:

"Now then! We will begin. When the story is done you shall know a great deal more than you know now." So reads the rather unusual opening of Andersen's "The Snow Queen". We are immediately invited to see the author in a crowd of listeners - a crowd of children, of course. They know him well as the old storyteller, the kindly giant with the high forehead and the long nose, whose bumbling movements are so likely to upset things on the table. The children have finished their supper in the nursery and now, just before bedtime and to their utter delight, here comes "Uncle" Hans Christian, and he is willing to tell them a tale. Though they want to listen, they probably find it hard to calm down; therefore, Hans Christian promises them something so they will more readily sit still: "you shall know a great deal more than you know now."

- but this the reader actually only does to a very limited degree unless he wishes to use the Andersen text as a therapeutic tool, because this turns out to be precisely Lederer's real intention. In the preface the cat is let out of the bag:

About a hundred miles north of San Francisco [...] lies the Mendocino State Hospital for the Mentally Ill. [...] One day one of the younger residents came up with a new suggestion: instead of discussing cases in our usual manner, why not try to analyze a work of fiction, a fairy tale perhaps, as if it were a psychiatric case? The proposal was quickly accepted by everyone; so, on my next visit we sat around a tape recorder and listened to a reading, by the resident's wife, of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen".

Neither is there anything substantial or new to be found in a small pamphlet by the translator Erik C. Haugaard, entitled Portrait of a Poet. Hans Christian Andersen and His Fairy Tales, a lecture presented at the Library of Congress in 1973.17 It is, in fact, nothing more than a fireside chat which Haugaard conducts with himself about life, immortality, and art and then a little bit of Andersen - thus three pages of the altogether 17 text pages consist of excerpts from his tale "Klokken".

Likewise of limited interest is an unpublished dissertation by Mary Ann Rubeck, Annotations Documenting and Interpreting the Reflection of Hans Christian Andersen's Life in His Fairy Tales (State University of New York at Buffalo, 1981). Altogether, ten texts have been chosen as documentation, including, which could go without saying, "Grantræet" and "Den grimme Ælling". The methodology, as stated in the summary, is quite basic, and the outcome predictable and trivial:

The texts of the fairy tales [...] were placed in a column on the left side of the page. On the right side, parallel to the lines of the story, are the relevant annotations: 1) many incidents in the fairy tales parallel events in Andersen's life; 2) the background settings can be identified with actual places that Andersen knew; 3) many of the characters in the fairy tales were real people whom Andersen had known; 4) many of Andersen's personal traits are revealed in the stories; and 5) the social conditions at the time had a profound effect on Andersen and are reflected in his fairy tales.

Therefore, the following remark by Rubeck can make one wonder: "Personal communication with Andersen scholars gave support to the need for a study that would reveal the parallelism between Andersen's life and his fairy tales".

Not quite as awkward - but much less concise - is another unpublished dissertation by Ann Freeman, A Comparative Study of Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Dickens. The Relationship between Spiritual and Material Value Systems as Defined by their Treatment of the Child (University of California at Berkeley, 1979). The candidate's own summary informs us that:

Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Dickens both saw the world divided into two competing realms of experience: an outer, everyday world where adult institutions demanded a high degree of conformity and where materialistic values prevailed, and an inner, fantasy world which contained a more elementary value-system based on immediate sensory perception, intuition, and a spontaneous and loving behavior. [...] Children and childlike characters, therefore, are Andersen's and Dickens's prime tool for exploring the relationship between the inner and the outer worlds.

Already this characteristic invites contradiction, but whereas the premises entailed in the three last lines quoted are debatable as such, the discussion of the possibility for an integration of the external and internal spheres of experience is at times of great interest.

Among shorter contributions to Andersen scholarship neither various articles and essays published by Danish scholars in American journals and series,18 encyclopedia entries nor marginal forays will be considered. Only two such rather peripheral contributions warrant a brief mentioning. One is by Patricia Dooley, "Porcelain, Pigtails, Pagodas. Images of China in 19th and 20th Century Illustrated Editions of 'The Nightingale'" from 1979,19 the other by Jackson C. Boswell, "Encounter in Paris. Hans Christian Andersen's Meeting with Ira Aldridge".20 The first is mentioned only because of its unique title and in order to illustrate the esoteric topics of some of these contributions, and the second because of its obvious biographical orientation, which is another trademark of these contributions. Thus the article corrects Andersen's incorrect dating of the Parisian performance of the famous American black actor Ira Aldridge in 1867 and should actually be listed under Aldridge rather than Andersen scholarship (if under any scholarship at all).

The following somewhat introductory articles do have a wider perspective: John Griffith's "Personal Fantasy in Andersen's Fairy Tales"21 and Inga Kromann-Kelly's three articles, "Hans Christian Andersen's Tales: Alive and Well in Denmark?",22 "Hans Christian Andersen's Life and Works. A Danish-American Perspective",23 and "Hans Christian Andersen in Children's Biography: More Fairy Tale than Facts?".24 Sven H. Rossel, in his article, "Hans Christian Andersen. Writer for All Ages and Nations"25 places less emphasis on biographical details but focuses instead on that aspect of Andersen's personality which - particularly in an American context - is often pushed aside: the disharmony, skepticism, and pessimism.

Two articles employ a psychoanalytical approach: Phyllis Greenacre's "Hans Christian Andersen and Children",26 a rather general discussion, and William Mishler's "Hans Christian Andersen's 'Tin Soldier' in a Freudian Perspective",27 which is more summarizing than analyzing. Neither of the two articles break new ground. Mishler himself expresses this thusly: "[...] a psychoanalytical reading of 'The Steadfast Tinsoldier' which brings to light the sexual anxiety implicit in the story does not [...] tell us anything new, but it does help focus our awareness".

A psychoanalytical interpretation, by Sabrina Soracco, is also found as one of altogether six methodologically different approaches to "Den lille Havfrue" in an article entitled "Splash! Six Views of 'The Little Mermaid'".28 Least fruitful is the structuralist contribution by Ulla Thomsen, the conclusion of which reads: "The argument can therefore be made that this story has a world view that is based in binary oppositions" (after which one tends to exclaim: "And so what!"). Much more exciting are Gregory Nybo's Lacanian and Niels and Faith Ingwersen's folkloristic readings as well as Pil Dahlerup's deconstruction of the text.

More Jungian oriented is Ursula le Guin's interpretation of "Skyggen" in her article "The Child and the Shadow".29 Andersen's tale, however, is only her point of departure for a discussion of the problem of evil in the folktale and in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, a brilliant causerie about fantasy and escapism. "The Ugly Duck" by Marvin Mudrick from 197930 is only included in this discussion because of this essay's provoking eccentricity and because, in the following year, it was reprinted in Scandinavian Review and thus must have reached a fairly large Scandinavian-American audience. Again, Bredsdorff's biography is the main source of information for the author who doesn't know in which direction to go. Extensive excerpts from the tale "Moster" point initially to a treatment of Andersen and the theater, but hereafter both Perrault and the Grimm Brothers are introduced in a superficial discussion of whom of the three is the best. And Andersen is the clear loser in this beauty contest - hence the title - as he is too much of a puritan! According to Mudrick he is more interested in justice than in poetic truth as, for instance in "Svinedrengen", where the prince acts not like a "true" prince but as an avenger. Furthermore, Andersen's texts are too long and he should rather have stuck to his retellings of folktales: "Some of the best-known tales - e.g. 'The Little Mermaid', 'The Snow Queen', 'The Ice-Maiden' - don't even observe the blessed folk convention of brevity; they have their moments [...] but they tend to trail off into mazes of fancy, sentiment, Victorian trash and tinsel: Andersen and Dickens were mutual admirers, and much of Andersen reads like the worst of Dickens: 'The Little Match Girl', 'Grief', 'The Dead Child', 'She Was No Good'". Hereafter four pages follow with quotes from Perrault and the Grimm Brothers taking up precisely half of the essay. In responding to Mudrick's own provocation one is tempted to say that what is most valuable about his essay is that it is succeeded by a brilliant poem by Henrik Nordbrandt from 1977, "Homage to Hans Christian".

Two comparative studies were published in 1982 and 1986 respectively. Sven H. Rossel's "Andersen og Jensen - Eventyret og Myten"31 concludes with a demonstration that Johannes V. Jensen's unrestricted admiration for the fairy tale writer must be understood more as a fascination with Andersen, the man, than with Andersen, theartist. In addition, polemically aimed at Harry Andersen's treatment of the same topic,32 the tales and stories are rejected as major models for Jensen's own mythic writing. In his article "The Role of Irony in Hans Christian Andersen's 'Nattergalen' and C. M. Wieland's 'Der Vogelsang'",33 Herbert Rowland points to a series of similarities between the famous tale and Wieland's poem. Already Niels Kofoed, in his dissertation from 1967,34 pointed to a certain affinity between the two writers but Rowland, who displays an impressive familiarity with primary and secondary Andersen literature both in English and Danish, pursues the topic in greater detail in a fascinating discussion of the use of romantic irony in the writings of Andersen and Wieland, however, without being able to demonstrate any direct influence.

Four articles by Poul Houe about the dramatizations by the Minneapolis-based Children's Theatre Company of "Den lille Havfrue", "Keiserens nye Klæder", "Den lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne", and "De røde Sko" are thematically linked together.35 In "Andersen realiseret - Andersen til realisation", Houe relates to Søren Baggesen's and Ulrich Horst Petersen's interpretations of "Den lille Havfrue", in particular its tragic ending, which in the American stage version is transformed into a happy ending. In "H. C. Andersen i Amerika - dansk udsyn eller blind alarm?" and "Hvilket skilletegn mellem fortid og fremtid", Houe's criticism becomes sharper. The theater's "fortolkning af Andersen er en ren misforståelse. Men det spændende er, at misforståelsen er kvalificeret". Again it is the sentimentalizing optimism which Houe objects to. Finally, Andersen is almost denied authorship of the Minneapolis version of "De røde Sko" in "At spille Andersen i Minneapolis eller at lade Ret gå for Nåde". With reference to the previous Andersen stagings Houe thus summarizes: "Det er hver gang lige spændende og overraskende at følge forvandlingen af eventyr til scenespektakel og teaterbudskab og hver gang lige deprimerende at opleve den sceniske gestaltning som en kunstnerisk nedtur fra forlægget".

Houe supplements with his own thought-provoking interpretations, and with his study "Ude er hjemme. Om H. C. Andersen's Et Besøg i Portugal 1866"36 he offers his own genuine explication de texte. With a close-reading of this somewhat overlooked travelogue as his point of departure, of its tension between being "abroad" and "at home", Houe discusses the split within Andersen's own ideals of harmony which manifest themselves through the phenomena of selfcenteredness and, as its opposite, the attraction to and worship of the external, surrounding world.

Such articles as these as well as the selections of poems, diaries and travelogues published in English since the 1980s give a positive indication that, in the United States, Andersen is finally being recognized as more than just the author of nursery tales37 . Furthermore the inclusion in some of the later translations of the tales and stories of lesser accessible and hence lesser known texts have increased this awareness of "the other Andersen".

When the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle in 1979 acquired Elias Bredsdorff's exquisite Andersen collection, which since then has been systematically increased, an argument in favor of the purchase was that the collection would serve as a source of inspiration not only on the local level but nationally as well. So far the Bredsdorff Collection has proven invaluable for the two Conroy/ Rossel editions. However, research also takes place at a number of other major universities in the United States and all five of the country's professors of Danish literature regularly teach courses on Hans Christian Andersen with up to 800 students in each class. Andersen scholarship in the United States is perhaps not overwhelming statistically with regards to titles. But substantial contributions have been made, several of which were published in prestigious journals. One might still watch for some booklength studies, not of a strictly biographical nature (by now that topic must have been exhausted) but, for instance, of Andersen's travelogues, novels and plays. New translations of his novels are certainly needed as well as a major selection of his letters.

An indication that Andersen scholarship in the United States is on the right track and very much alive is also evidenced by the fact that, for the first time, a separate, highly successful session was organized on Andersen at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study at the University of Minneapolis in May 1992. Another indicative development is the active participation of representatives from four American universities at the First International Hans Christian Andersen Conference at the University of Odense in August 1991, a larger contingency of speakers than from any other foreign country represented.38

Notes

1. Proceedings from the Second Nordic Conference for English Studies. Åbo, 1984, 529-42. (Reprinted in the author's Essays on Translation. Copenhagen, 1988, 95-108.) back

2. Danish Literature in English Translation. A Bibliography. Copenhagen, 1950. back

3. A Bibliography of Danish Literature in English Translation 1950-1980. Copenhagen, 1982. back

4. H. C. Andersen-litteraturen 1875-1968. En bibliografi. Århus, 1970. Tilføjelser og rettelser. Supplement 1875-1968. Fortsættelse 1969-1972. Århus, 1973. Tilføjelser og rettelser. Supplement 1875-1972. Fortsættelse 1973-1976. Århus, 1978. Tilføjelser og rettelser. Fortsættelse 1977-1980. Århus, 1982. Tilføjelser og rettelser. Fortsættelse 1981-1984. Århus, 1986. back

5. Dansk litteraturhistorisk bibliografi 1967-1986. Copenhagen, 1989. back

6. Scribner's Monthly (1871, January-April). back

7. National Quarterly Review, 3 (1861). back

8. "H. C. Andersen som Eventyrdigter". InKritiker og Portræter. Copenhagen, 1870, 301-71. back

9. The Andersen-Scudder Letters. Hans Christian Andersen's Correspondence with Horace Elisha Scudder. Edited by Jean Hersholt and Waldemar Westergaard. Berkeley, 1949. Another, not quite identical, edition was published in Denmark in 1948. back

10. Erik Dal, "Hans Christian Andersen's Tales and America". Scandinavian Studies, 40 (1968), 1-25. back

11. From this selection "The Snow Queen" was published separately in a bibliophile, signed edition: Hans Christian Andersen. The Snow Queen. A Tale in Seven Stories. Postscript by Erik Dal. Illustrations by Helge Ernst. Binding by Ole Olsen. Herning, Denmark, 1986. back

12. Books in Print 1991-92, 1. New York, 1991. back

13. Quotation from Elias Bredsdorff's negative review in The Times Literary Supplement, December 6, 1974, to which Haugaard responded on December 20, 1974. (See also Elias Bredsdorff in Anderseniana, 2. rk., II:3 (1976), 293-97). back

14. Sven H. Rossel in Anderseniana, 3. rk., III:4 (1981), 289-90, and George C. Schoolfield in Scandinavian Studies, 57 (1985), 72-74. back

15. Scandinavian Studies, 45 (1973), 398-400. back

16. The Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 6 (1983), 3-19. back

17. Published in Washington, D.C., 1973. Reprinted in The Openhearted Audience. Ten Authors Talk about Writing for Children. Washington, D.C., 1980, 69-81. back

18. For instance Peter Brask, "Andersen on Love", in: Frank E. Andersen and John Weinstock, eds., The Nordic Mind. Lanham/New York/London, 1986, 17-35, which is a translation from a Danish radio talk from 1979, or Finn Hauberg Mortensen, A Tale of Tales: Hans Christian Andersen and Danish Children's Literature, 1-4, published as vols. 4-5 of The Nordic Roundtable Papers, Minneapolis, 1989. back

19. Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Conference of the Children's Literature Association. University of Toronto 1979. Villanova, 1980, 94-105. back

20. Anderseniana, 3. rk., IV:4 (1985-86), 345-49. back

21. Kansas Quarterly, 16:3 (1984), 81-88. back

22. Top of the News, 34 (1980), 381-83. back

23. The Bridge. Journal of the Danish-American Heritage Society, 4:2 (1981), 50-61. back

24. Friends of IBBY, 9 (1984), 1-2. back

25. Scandinavian Review, 74:2 (1986), 88-97. back

26. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 38 (1983), 617-35. back

27. Scandinavian Studies, 50 (1978), 389-95. back

28. Scandinavian Studies, 63 (1991), 141-63. back

29. Ursula le Guin, The Language of the Night. Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. New York, 1979, 59-71. (Reprinted from The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, 32 (1975), 139-48.) back

30. Marvin Mudrick, Books Are Not Life But Then What Is? New York, 1979, 87-97. Also in Scandinavian Review, 68:1 (1980), 38-48. back

31. Hvad Fatter gjør... Boghistoriske, litterære og musikalske essays tilegnet Erik Dal. Herning, 1982, 392-402. back

32. Anderseniana, 2. rk., IV:4 (1961), 266-315. back

33. Anderseniana, 3. rk., IV:2 (1983), 115-30. back

34. Studier i H. C. Andersens fortællekunst. Copenhagen, 1967. back

35. The articles are published in Nordisk tidskrift för vetenskap, konst och industri, 55 (1979), 269-78; Anderseniana, 3. rk., III:1-2 (1978-79), 76-83; Højskolebladet (1982), 135-38; Anderseniana, 3. rk., IV:2 (1983), 131-52 respectively. back

36. Danske Studier, 83 (1988), 115-32. back

37. Yet, when Sven H. Rossel in 1987 was asked by the Washington Good Music Stations, Rockville, Maryland, to write the script for a program on Hans Christian Andersen and Music the stipulation was that the texts to be included or referred to should all be from Andersens tales and stories. The program was aired on December 31, 1987. back

38. After completion of this contribution the following articles appeared: John L. Greenway, "'Reason in Imagination in Beauty'. Oersted's Acoustics and H. C. Andersen's 'The Bell'", Scandinavian Studies, 63 (1991), 318-25; Karin Sanders, "Nemesis of Mimesis. The Problem of Representation in H. C. Andersen's 'Psychen'", ibid., 64 (1992), 1-25. See also: Sven H. Rossel, ed., A History of Danish Literature, Lincoln/London: The University of Nebraska Press, 1992, 228-37. back

I would like to thank Ms. Marcia Feinstein, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Washington, Seattle, for valuable editorial assistance.


  top Top

Bibliographic information about the text:

Rossel, Sven Hakon : "Hans Christian Andersen Research in the United States", pp. 517-30 i Johan de Mylius, Aage Jørgensen & Viggo Hjørnager Pedersen (red.): Andersen og Verden. Indlæg fra den første internationale H. C. Andersen-konference, 25.-31. august 1991. Udgivet af H. C. Andersen-Centret, Odense Universitet. Odense Universitetsforlag, Odense 1993.

  top Top