Guest Author - Siobhain M Cullen
Finding fairytales for adults or for students' fairytale history research can be difficult as so many collections are delivered in the form of luxurious picture books, expensive coffee table books and kindergarten shortened versions.This original collection by Hans Christian Andersen is a good find as his original folk tales are very comprehensively put together and translated. Serious literature students will love them, as all the creepy, weird shadows that would have been so unsuitable for the young impressionable minds of children are still there.
These top-rated original folk and fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen display some very contemporary characteristics too - after all we are now used to fantasy, paranormal and supernatural elements creeping into stories from Harry Potter to Twilight. History of literature students will have a field day unpicking themes and layers of meaning and image. In keeping with their literary authority, the fairytales in the collection do not have illustrations - they are ideal for serious book-heads and students researching fairytale essay statements.
Included in the collection are such classic fairy tales as The Tinderbox and The Princess and The Pea as well as many new folk tales to uncover such as The Trunk, The Magic Galoshes and The Bronze Pig.
Hans Christian Anderson' own story was an adventure in itself.Born on April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark,the son of a shoemaker and washerwoman, young Hans made up for the poverty of his physical surroundings. He had a wealth of words and imagination exciting enough to transport him beyond the deprived world he was born to. His parents were very encouraging
and nurtured his love of reading and theatre. Bullied over his gangly stature and cramping fits, Hans consoled himself in his imaginative life. He left for Copenhagen with visions of becoming a great stage singer and actor. But as fate would have it, he was less an entertainer of stage than he was a story-teller and soon began to write tales, some of them reworked versions of traditional stories. As his confidence grew, however, he began to fashion original stories.
With the help of influential friends, he did go back to school at 17, but was miserable, mocked among his 12-year-old peers, but Hans discovered he was a worthy master of tales. He discovered, in writing, he had the power to overcome handicaps he felt in reality. People who had slighted him became characters in his charming tales of morality. The maligners became fools and the maligned were beautiful swans ready to burst forth. In his fairytales, a girl who broke his heart was featured in "The Little Mermaid." His fatherís belief that the family was descended from royalty and Hansí own insecurity about his looks would be played out in "The Ugly Duckling." These are some of the themes to look for as undercurrents in Andersen's fairytales for adults - lit students writing essays and book-worms looking for new fairy tales alike will find plenty to engage their imagination in this unique collection.