More Than Just Fairy Tales

New Approaches to the Stories of Hans Christian Andersen (First Edition)
Edited by Julie K. Allen
©2014, 172 pages

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More Than Just Fairy Tales

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    More Than Just Fairy Tales takes an innovative look at the classic tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Rather than viewing the stories as purely self-contained units or simplistic narratives for children, the essays in this volume employ critical reading strategies and literary theory to explore thematic connections between the tales and thereby illustrate meaningful patterns in Andersen’s oeuvre.

    The chapters in this volume cover a wide range of topics, including the linguistic innovations characteristic of Andersen’s literary style, illustrations of Andersen’s tales, film adaptations of Andersen’s biography, and in-depth explorations of specific themes that play a central role in Andersen’s work, such as anthropomorphism, modernity, travel, religion, art and the artist, and social criticism.

    More Than Just Fairy Tales provides fresh insights into a seminal figure in European and international children’s literature. It demonstrates that Andersen’s stories have stood the test of time by addressing issues and ideas that are constants of the human condition.

    This book is well suited for use in undergraduate courses in children’s literature, Scandinavian and Germanic literature, and folklore. Each chapter’s close, critical reading of thematically linked clusters of Andersen’s tales facilitates a deeper understanding of both Andersen’s most popular and lesser-known works, while teaching students how to apply critical reading strategies more generally. In more advanced courses, this approach lays the groundwork for independent research and analysis.

    Julie K. Allen holds a Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literatures from Harvard University. Dr. Allen is the Paul and Renate Madsen associate professor of Danish in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, as well as an affiliate faculty member in German, Material Culture, and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she also serves as director of the ScanDesign Fellowship Program. She is the author of Icons of Danish Modernity: Georg Brandes and Asta Nielsen, co-translator of The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, and has published extensively on nineteenth and twentieth century German and Danish literature, culture, and film.

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