HCA NEWS Complete index of works by Hans Christian Andersen

The Hans Christian Andersen Centre at the University of Southern Denmark has compiled the most comprehensive index of the works of Hans Christian Andersen to date. The index features several fairytales not included in earlier publications of his fairytales.

By Mikkel Stjernberg - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 25 February 2004

It has cost blood, sweat and tears, but the efforts have been rewarded. The Hans Christian Andersen Centre has created the hitherto most comprehensive index of the life's works of Hans Christian Andersen.

The efforts have also resulted in the 'discovery of new fairytales' - i.e. tales that for different reasons until now have not been classified as fairytales. The central notion Five tales have been re-classified.

Three of them are from his travelogues 'Shadow Pictures' (1831) and 'Pictures of Sweden' (1851), 'The Diving Bell' from his debut book 'A Journey on Foot' and finally a discarded manuscript for 'The First Evening' from 'The Picture book without Pictures' (1839).

"The index is as extensive as deemed acceptable. Re-categorising a text as a fairytale requires convincing argument, so there are some candidates that we have chosen not to include," says assistant researcher at the Hans Christian Andersen Centre Lars Bo Jensen, who initiated the project and is the leading force in its creation.

As an example, he mentions 'My Boots' from 'A Poet's Bazaar' and 'What the Straws Said' from 'Pictures of Sweden', which feature in English-language and eastern European editions of his collected works but not in the fairytale index - quite simply because they only exhibit certain fairytale features, and in the case of 'hat the Straws Said' clearly depart from fictional narrative in their political reflections on the Danish-Prussian three-year war.

"The index has been compiled on the basis of a single notion, namely Andersen's key motivation - what his preoccupation was. In other words, what the keyword would be in a search-engine approach. The answer is to be found in Hans Christian Andersen's narrative," Lars Bo Jensen says.

He adds that the fairytale index differs from the other indexes because it features far more fairytales and because of the stringency in the chronological approach to listing the works by order of publication date, no matter the language of translation.
"We quite simply disregard the date when the text was written and focus on when it was published. If a work was published in a foreign language first, this edition is listed first," Lars Bo Jensen says.

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