In The Days Before Fifteen Minutes of Fame Was Required

April 4th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

It is possible that if Hans Christen Andersen were alive today, he’d be a rock star. Or at the least the title character in his very own reality series. Of course, if Andersen lived in the 21st century, he wouldn’t recognize himself. His work, dark and cautionary, has been turned into the stuff of cheery musicals and happy endings.

This, of course, does not constitute a mystery, and we are hard-pressed to understand this:

For Hans Christian Andersen, life wasn’t so much a fairy tale as a nightmare. Or so it seems. Though he was Denmark’s most famous literary son, and a prolific author in many genres, Andersen never fully revealed himself.

Maybe it’s because the article’s author goes on to chronicle Andersen’s early life, his ambitions, his work, his travels, and even his funeral. Okay, so we don’t know what he wished when he encountered the first star of the evening, but it seems that we know quite a bit about Andersen, as noted in the article:

What this meant was that Andersen became his own favourite subject. His own suffering, humiliation and sense of isolation were in many ways the content of his writing, even the fairy tales. Stories such as The Ugly Duckling, if not autobiographical, were certainly self-referential.

Yes, this is our way of saying we read the full article and still don’t understand how the lead matches the story. As always, we live for enlightenment.

File Under: Square Pegs