An introduction to Hans Christian Andersen's literary works

as a writer and Christian Andersen worked in almost every genre you can think her he did not only write fairy tales and stories but also novels bones dramas travelogues and autobiographies but his world Fame rests solely upon his fairy tales and stories and that is not a coincidence he brought good novels and good poems but his fairy tales and stories are unique at the same time they appear to contain universal elements since they are known and read all around the world in this context we would like to share some reflections with you about what constitutes this apparent universality of his fairy tales and stories and about what my challenge yet what my challenge this universality is the fact that there are many elements of Anderson's fairy tales and stories which are culturally specific in a broad sense for example he uses motifs and refers to ways of thinking and perceiving which are rooted in a Christian culture but at the same time he addresses ethical questions and conflicts which often but not always are of a more universal nature endlessness fairy tales and stories are also historically specific in a certain sense and isn't lived in a time which was the time of change to the highest possible degree traditional ways of life had to make way for new ways of perceiving the world and acting in society the advent of modern science and technology takes place at this moment in history and social mobility becomes a possibility in an unprecedented way the foundations were laid for the modern lives we live in the modern world where a part of Anderson was fascinated by the many new possibilities and technologies in the making but he was also frightened by the modern world he could sense was looming in the horizon in other words he was thoroughly ambivalent about what he perceived was coming he does very much reflects it on human condition in this new kinder world a new kind of society in this fairy tales and stories you might even say that he used a fairy tale as a way of thinking about these matters in a way which is at the same time highly sophisticated and perhaps also intuitive the kind of fairy tales he employed in this way of thinking is also culturally specific in a broad sense it's the kind of fairy tale which roughly speaking belongs to a European tradition this tradition might have some of its roots outside the borders of what we today call Europe but it is very clear that it is a tradition which differs fundamentally from for example Arabian Nights you you

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