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The 2005 bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen's birth is an opportunity to re-evaluate the achievement of one of the great figures of the fairy tale and storytelling tradition, a beloved writer famous for The Snow Queen and The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Red Shoes and many other now classic tales. Jack Zipes broadens our understanding of Andersen by exploring the relation of the Danish writer's work to the development of literature and of the fairy tale in particular. Based on thirty-five years of researching and writing on Andersen, this new book is a welcome reconsideration of Andersen's place and of his reception in English-speaking countries and on film.
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Jack Zipes is Professor of German at the University of Minnesota. An acclaimed translator and scholar of children's literature and culture, his most recent books include Beautiful Angiola and The Robber with the Witch's Head, both published by Routledge.From School Library Journal:
Following an introduction to Andersen's life and personality, Zipes explores his subject's prodigious output of works including travel books, essays, novels, plays, autobiographies, and 156 fairy tales, only a few of which were actually written for children. Two further chapters, The Discourse of the Dominated (a discussion of Andersen's deep ambivalence about class issues) and The Discourse of Rage and Revenge: Controlling Children (a discussion of Andersen's attitudes toward children and childhood) are revised versions of essays previously published elsewhere. A final chapter, The Cinematic Appropriation of Andersen's Heritage: Trivialization and Innovation, looks at both American and European films made from his works. Zipes compares those that build on Andersen's own messages and those that simply use his motifs and characters as commodities to be repackaged and sold. The book is illustrated with prints from 19th- and early-20th-century editions of his works that help to place Andersen in a historical context. A bibliography, film bibliography, and extensive notes are included. This book belongs in libraries with readers who are interested in critical interpretations of folklore and film, and those with collections of critical biographies or extensive collections of Andersen's works. Readers interested in Andersen's contributions to the literature of Denmark, to the modern fairy tale, and a more authentic look at a less-than-happy life, as presented for children in Hjørdis Varmer's Hans Christian Andersen: His Fairy Tale Life (Groundwood, 2005), will find this volume valuable.–Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
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