Andersen and Kierkegaard

Literary critic Harold Bloom:

Andersen professed a rather sentimental devotion to the Christ child, but his art is pagan in nature. His Danish contemporary, Kierkegaard, shrewdly sensed this early on. From the perspective of the twenty-first century, Andersen and Kierkegaard strangely divide between them the aesthetic eminence of Danish literature. In this introduction to a volume of Andersen-criticism, I want to define precisely the qualities of Andersen’s stories that go on making them imperishable, as we approach the bicentennial of his birth in 2005. Kierkegaard himself rightly analyzed his own project as the illumination of how impossible it is to become a Christian in an ostensibly Christian society. Andersen covertly had a rather different project: how to remain a child in an ostensibly adult world.

– “Hans Christian Andersen” in Short Story Writers and Short Stories (PDF)

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