FAIRY-TALE REALISM. HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN AND THE MODERN WORLD OF THINGS

  • Frederike Felcht Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald/Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Abstract

According to recent research in literary studies, literature has a specific knowledge about things. My contribution supports this thesis by analyzing the world of things in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. Exemplary readings reveal how Andersen's texts acknowledge the power of things in modern life and how these texts thus question scientific and philosophical concepts of subjectivity that dominated in the nineteenth century. The agency of things in Andersen's texts challenges the ideal of a rational subject that acts autonomously. Current theoretical approaches, notably Actor-Network-Theory, allow us to understand the realism of acting things in Andersen's work. That which is marvelous, which is prevalently used to define the genre Fairy Tale in literary studies, is inherent to modernity. The relationship between magic and modernity is different than expected: modernity consists of an interplay between enchantment and disenchantment.

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Published
09/01/2013
Section
Monographic