Johan De Mylius


This article asks whether and to what extent Hans Christian Andersen was a children’s author, whether his so-called fairy tales really were fairy tales, and how he should be regarded in the context of his time and of the nineteenth century as a whole. From the very beginning Andersen understood himself as a “poet” and the so-called childish tone of his fairy tales is mostly a mask, behind which a poet of high ambitions hides. Throughout his career he developed his style and genre in an ongoing quest for a hitherto unseen kind of poetry. Thus he is a forerunner of much later experiments in the history of literature.