Because the son of a shoemaker who died prematurely and a laundress who might neither learn nor write, nobody might have predicted that he would change into one of many world’s most well-known fairy story authors.
His tales are nonetheless widespread in the present day. From “The Ugly Duckling” to “The Emperor’s New Garments,” the tales have impressed many movie and theater variations, together with Disney motion pictures, corresponding to the favored “Frozen” franchise, which borrows from Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.”
The brand new Andersen museum in Odense
The Danish creator’s first dwelling has served because the Hans Christian Andersen Museum since 1930. The museum has in the meantime change into a part of an prosperous neighborhood and has been fully renovated and rebuilt by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, whose agency was additionally chargeable for the brand new Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
The historic H.C. Andersen Hus serves as the doorway to an higher and underground fairy story world. A spacious new museum constructing and backyard have been added to the home, permitting guests to immerse themselves within the beloved tales from their childhood.
“We had the sensation that the visitors within the outdated museum wished one thing greater than a standard birthplace museum,” defined museum worker Lone Weidemann. “Folks wish to dive into his fairy tales as a result of that’s what they know. They want his creativeness and inspiration for his or her on a regular basis lives.”
Fairy tales are trending
Numerous movies, video video games and novels have in recent times contributed to renewing well-known fairy tales by traditional European authors.
In Disney’s “Maleficent” (2014), the depraved fairy godmother from Charles Perrault’s fairy story “Sleeping Magnificence” is became a tragic central protagonist, portrayed by Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.
For her novel “Six Crimson Cranes” (2021), Japanese-American creator Elizabeth Lim mixed Andersen’s fairy story “The Wild Swans” with East Asian folklore — and created a bestseller.
However the development isn’t new, factors out German creator, editor and fairy story professional Christian Handel: “Fairy tales by no means disappear,” he tells DW.
Traditional European fairy tales corresponding to “Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm, “Cinderella” by Charles Perrault or “The Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen are literally based mostly on a lot older sources, explains Handel, who provides that many of those tales already existed in written type on the time.
The widespread perception that the Brothers Grimm collected and wrote down outdated people tales that had till then primarily been transmitted orally is subsequently only a fantasy.
The parable of the ‘people story’
The Brothers Grimm “bought their fairy tales to the surface world as one thing apart from what they actually had been,” explains Handel. Lots of their sources had been written, and above all of worldwide origin.
For instance, earlier than the Brothers Grimm included “Puss in Boots” into their compilation of fairy tales in 1812 century, Charles Perrault already had a model written in French on the shut of the seventeenth century, whereas a fair older written Italian model dates from the 1550s.
Contributing to this cultural crossover was the truth that the town of Kassel, the place the Brothers Grimm lived, was beneath French occupation throughout their lifetime.
Whereas Hans Christian Andersen didn’t declare that his tales got here from widespread oral sources, he nonetheless used culturally various and older tales and themes, adapting them to the values of his time. “His typical hero or heroine is a God-fearing good one who is then rewarded,” summarizes Handel. “Sarcastically, the unique tales weren’t Christian fairy tales in any respect; they had been simply reworked that method.”
“Once we learn ‘Snow White‘ in the present day, we predict we already understand how the story goes. Most individuals aren’t even conscious that there are very completely different variations historical variations of the fairy story around the globe,” explains Handel.
A fairy story world for the twenty first century
It’s exactly this worldwide facet that’s on the middle of the present fairy story development, explains Christian Handel. What may be perceived as controversial trendy transformations of traditional tales is just quantities to “doing the identical factor Andersen and the Grimms did — redesigning the tales to adapt them to the values of the time.”
Right this moment, the parable of the nationwide “people story” is now not central to those tales; it’s somewhat their intercultural and worldwide origins that’s within the highlight, factors out Handel.
Many trendy fairy tales concentrate on characters who aren’t white or male: highly effective feminine protagonists corresponding to Elsa from “Frozen” (2013), a Black and lesbian youth in Kalynn Bayron’s novel “Cinderella is Lifeless” (2020) or a homosexual prince couple, as in Handel’s personal novel “Rowan and Ash” (2020).
However there may be additionally some resistance to this, which is especially vocal on social networks, stories Handel.
For instance, Disney’s announcement that they’d be casting Black actor Halle Bailey within the lead function of their live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” sparked backlash on-line.
Fairy tales deliver hope
The truth that fairy tales are so acquainted contributes to their allure, explains Handel, which can also be why some individuals are irritated to see them modified. However such updates which combine trendy values are important for the survival of fairy tales, provides the professional.
If a brand new model of a fairy story is controversial, it’s as a result of it demonstrates that the values of a society are altering. That may additionally clarify why fairy tales are being revisited now — to be up to date with in the present day’s beliefs.
This capacity to vary is definitely one of many explanation why fairy tales survive, says Christian Handel.
However regardless of all transformations over time, fairy tales stay common as a result of “they clearly present you can personally change one thing in your future. In nearly all fairy tales, the heroine or the hero must be lively not directly for his or her destiny to vary.”
And, Handel provides, “I imagine fairy tales survive as a result of typically they provide hope. They usually include moments of marvel and carry with them the hope that one thing higher will come.”
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