Stories that have delighted children and fascinated adults for over a century are the heritage of Hans Christian Andersen. This collection has been selected and translated with the growing audience of adults--both students and general readers--in mind, and displays the full range of Andersen’s authorship, from parable to science fiction.
In this fresh, contemporary translation Rossel and Conroy have endeavored to "preserve for the English-speaking audience the engaging duplicity of Andersen’s style, the tension of play between his sympathetic conversational tone and his use of the studied effect." This is a tension between the simplicity of stories intended to be read aloud to children ad the subtlety of the allegory skillfully woven into each for the adults who would be listening and "must have something to think about," as Andersen said.
The introductions provide an overview of Andersen’s life and struggle to become an author, as well as an analysis of his contributions as an artist and storyteller. Each story has also been provided with an endnote giving publication dates, information about the genesis of the tale, and relevant comments by Andersen and other.
Readers who remember with nostalgia such tales as "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Little Match Girl" may be surprised to find the biting satire in many of the stories, such as "The Nightingale" and "The Gardener and the Lord and Lady," the revealing self-portraits of the author in "The Sweethearts," "The Butterfly," and "The Shadow," the mysticism of "The story of a Mother" and "The Bell" the prophetic quality of "In a Thousand Years Time," and the complexity and charm of "the Snow Queen."
The book contains the drawings of Vilhelm Pedersen and Lorenz Frolich that originally appeared in the first illustrated Danish editions of Andersen’s tales and stories.