Hans Christian Andersen is for Everyone

Hans Christian Andersen around the world

The mark of H.C. Andersen

"Hans Christian Andersen is known and loved throughout the entire world. He is actually the most famous Dane out in the world. China is one of the countries where he is most well-known and especially his fairytales are overwhelmingly well-known. The quotes below show how some Chinese scholars and writers feel about his wonderful stories, and how they are read and understood with different depths and nuances at different life ages. It seems to me to be a fine understanding, which I think we would be wise to lean from here in Andersen's own country. They show at least that Hans Christian Andersen is not only a 'dusty old author who writes for children'. Hans Christian Andersen writes for the whole person and for all ages."

Professor Johs. Nørregaard Frandsen, H.C. Andersen Centret, SDU.


Zhang Xiaofeng

If a 5-year-old kid has not yet listened to Andersen, his childhood will not be warm enough;
If a 15-year-old juvenile has not yet read Andersen, his adolescence will not be colorful enough;
If a 25-year-old youth has not yet savored Andersen, his adulthood will not be brilliant enough;
If a 35-year-old man has not yet learned Andersen, the summer of his life will not be rich enough;
If a 45-year-old man has not yet pondered Andersen, the autumn of his life will not be profound enough;
If a 55-year-old man has not yet reviewed Andersen, his twilight years will not be leisurely enough.

Zhang Xiaofeng "The Intimate Topic From the Age of 5 to 55". Young Writers Journal.


Bi Shumin has these thoughts on The Little Mermaid and Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales:

When I read the fairy tale for the first time at the age of 8, I couldn’t help crying and crying, because I felt it too tragic for the beautiful princess to melt into bubbles in the sea. I didn’t notice the element of love. I was most worried when she became dumb, and I thought of her dumbness as the root of her tragedy.
When I read it at 18, I perceived love in the story. The little mermaid was willing to sacrifice herself for her true love. How respectable! How unselfish!
When I became mom and read it again at 28, I was more concerned about the family bond in the story. When the little mermaid was in trouble, the old queen, regardless of her health condition, rose above the sea to care for her granddaughter. I was deeply touched by the old granny’s benevolence.
When I turned writer and turned to it again at 38, I started to focus more on Andersen’s writing techniques. I tried to imagine how he wrote, and how he designed the ending of the story. I also wondered if Andersen was satisfied with this ending. Is it too heavy for children?

Bi Shumin "The Constant Renewed Little Mermaid". Reading and Writing. Vol. 4, 2009.


These fine Chinese comments are quoted from a book about to be published by the Hans Christian Andersen Center and will be titled Hans Christan Andersen in China.