Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales in Translation

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This article opens with a short presentation of Andersen's entrance onto the national and international literary stage and with a brief overview of earlier studies of English translations of Andersen's work. Subsequently there is a description of the English translations. The approach is descriptive rather than normative as the intention is not to judge the quality of translation, but to describe the style of the fairy tales. This is because the most significant differences are to be found in the style and not the content. Rather than analyzing one specificfairy tale, this paper offers an overview ofthe predominant features ofthe translations ofa number ofAndersen'sfairy tales. Erik Haugaard's translations, entitled Hans Andersen - His Classic Fairy Tales (1974), are the main reference point. The argument is that many of the changes undertaken and differences between the source and target texts are a result ofthe translator's conflicting view ofthe child reader and understanding of the writer's genre. The article attempts to demonstrate that Andersen'sfairy tales in translation are much closer to the folk tale in their mode ofexpression than was the case with the original stories and that traditional thinking about genres and about what children's literature can and should do may have determined this transformation.

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  • Anette Øster

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