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Archetypes Of The Danish Storyteller. Hans Christian Andersen - Great And Terrible
Archetypes Of The Danish Storyteller. Hans Christian Andersen - Great And Terrible

Video: Archetypes Of The Danish Storyteller. Hans Christian Andersen - Great And Terrible

Video: Archetypes Of The Danish Storyteller. Hans Christian Andersen - Great And Terrible
Video: Hans Christian Andersen 2023, April

It is believed that the image of the ugly duckling was autobiographical.

The first booklet with the fairy tale was published on March 25, 1835. “My life is a beautiful fairy tale, full of happy accidents,” said Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875), and he was absolutely right. It is difficult to imagine a happier life as a writer. From his youth, Andersen was surrounded by admirers and patrons of art, published his first book at the age of seventeen, "became a world superstar long before forty", was friends with great writers and monarchs, spent his old age in glory and honor.

Hysterical hypochondriac

However, researchers note Andersen's psychopathological heredity. Andersen remembered his mentally ill paternal grandfather only as a ragged and sick old man. Children were frightened by his name. Hans never forgot how the boys himself teased him, predicting that he would be as crazy as his grandfather (Braude L. Yu., 1978). The mother suffered from a severe form of alcoholism and died of delirium tremens "in the poorhouse" (Muravyova I. I., 1959).

Diagnostic guess

Hypochondriacal neurosis with phobias. Mixing sadomasochistic traits and "sexual fearfulness".

Since childhood, Andersen willingly performed women's handicrafts, and subsequently loved to sew dresses for dolls in his free time. He grew up a hypochondriac and restless person, was absorbed in the state of his health and meticulously recorded any scratch he received in his diary. Various phobias remained with him until the end of his life. For example, he was so afraid of being killed by fire that during his travels he always took a rope with him, hoping to escape with it in the event of a fire. He was also very afraid that he would be buried alive, and asked his friends to have one of the arteries cut open before being put in a coffin. “When I got sick, I left a note on the table by the bed:“It just seems like I’m dead”” (Wallace I. et al., 1993).

Hans Christian Andersen, photographer - Thor von Gallagher, 1869
Hans Christian Andersen, photographer - Thor von Gallagher, 1869

Hans Christian Andersen, photographer - Thor von Gallagher, 1869

The main work “The fairy tale of my life has now unfold before me - rich, beautiful, comforting! Even evil led to good, grief to joy, and in general it is a poem full of deep thoughts, such as I have never been able to create myself. Yes, it's true that I was born under a lucky star! How many of the best, noblest people of my time caressed me and opened their souls to me! My faith in people has rarely been deceived! Even hard, woeful days had germs of good in them! " (H. K. Andersen, autobiography "The Tale of My Life", 1855)

Hypochondria, increasing with age, with bouts of depressive mood and obsessions, alternated with hysterical symptoms: panache and egocentricity. At the same time, Andersen had a "healthy taste for life", an exceptional sense of humor, cordiality and willingness to help. And all this unusual mixture of syntonic and schizoid personality traits was combined with the disharmonious appearance of the writer.

Hans Christian's sexual sphere was described by biographers as "latent homosexual." Andersen himself felt the duality of his nature. His biographer Bo Grenbeck (1979) wrote: “He had a nervous fear of the harsh reality of life, he lacked masculine firmness, which is why he at times talked about his half-female nature. His indecision manifested itself in … more than a cautious attitude towards women."

Over the years, Andersen began to grow suspicious, "everywhere he saw the intrigues of enemies and hid even from close friends."

Hypochondria and depression alternated with panache and self-centeredness, while Andersen had an exceptional sense of humor, cordiality and a willingness to help

One day, anonymous fans sent him a large box of chocolates. Andersen got scared: what if it's poison? “For testing,” he treated some of these sweets to the neighbour's children. And only after making sure the next day that nothing had happened to them, he began to eat candy himself.

The writer's appearance was also unique: “Awkward, with big hands and giant legs, as if inserted into a suit - all this strange appearance, together with a long nose and small eyes, should have been striking. “Our foreign gorilla,” said the Danes. The nickname is rude, but true”(Bomans G., 1963).

Cruel Tales

A mentally abnormal personality, characterized by internal and external originality, as a rule, leaves its mark on creativity. And the first thing that catches our eye when reading Andersen's tales is that there are almost no giants or heroes among his heroes, and defenseless and kind people predominate, whom the author forces to overcome incredible difficulties, often bordering on torture. He often has a sad ending, atypical for folk tales. Of course, Andersen wrote not only fairy tales, but he became famous for them.

It is known that notorious neurotics are especially prone to fantasy. Neurotic symptoms manifested themselves in Andersen's work as sadomasochism. The latter is clearly visible in The Girl with the Matches: a barefoot and hungry child is forced to freeze on the street on New Year's Eve when everyone is having fun selling matches (“otherwise the father will beat him”). And in the fairy tale "Wild Swans" the heroine, saving the brothers, must knit eleven shirts from nettles, which, moreover, had to be not only picked, but also kneaded and still "not say a word." And even after fulfilling all these sadistic requirements, the girl only at the very last moment avoids the fate of being burned at the stake.

Hans Christian Andersen, 1846, by August Grahl
Hans Christian Andersen, 1846, by August Grahl

Hans Christian Andersen, 1846, by August Grahl

And here is the plot of a very popular fairy tale with a "happy ending" - "Flint". A dashing soldier (according to the author's intention - a positive character), as gratitude for the opportunity to suddenly get rich, deceives an old woman, whom, without thinking twice, "took and chopped off her head." Then the magic dogs unceremoniously drag the princess for the hero's pleasure every night.

When his parents tried to punish him, the same dogs pounced on the royal couple and threw them into the air, as a result of which they were "smashed to smithereens." A cute scene for a children's fairy tale! And immediately after this horror - "happy end" - the wedding of the brave soldier with the princess (I just want to write - with an orphan).

Sadism towards its heroes can also be traced in the fairy tale "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", where the loyalty of lovers (one of them, by the way, is a one-legged cripple) ends with the burning of the heroes in the hearth - a symbol of home comfort and happiness. Examples of the manifestation in Andersen's tales of the Thanatos archetype (from the collective unconscious) and repressed sadism (from the individual unconscious) could be continued for a long time.

It is known that Andersen gave the impression of an "immature person" who never dared to taste the fruits of eroticism in a short-term love affair, although he had numerous opportunities for this … His need for women was great, but his fear of them was even stronger.

Only by composing seemingly innocent fairy tales, Andersen could take revenge in a socially acceptable way (through his work) to the female half of humanity, and in all its age range - from girls to old women. That is why he drowns women, burns them in the fireplace, freezes them in the cold, chops off their heads or, in extreme cases, makes them knit shirts from nettles! Here are some more typical fictional examples: “In the middle of the room there was an open coffin: a woman of flourishing years was buried in it” (“The Last Pearl”); "The coffin becomes your groom's wedding bed, and you remain an old maid!" ("From the window of the poorhouse"). In his tales - a general pestilence!

Interesting Facts

  • Andersen had an autograph of Alexander Pushkin.
  • One of the writer's earliest tales, T? Llelyset, was only discovered in the Fyong National Archives in October 2012.
  • Andersen's fairy tale "The King's New Dress" was placed in the first ABC book by Leo Tolstoy.
  • There are statues of the storyteller in New York, Bratislava, Malaga, Moscow and Odense.

Stunned the princess

Andersen's appearance was so unique that the Danes even gave him a nickname: "Our foreign gorilla"
Andersen's appearance was so unique that the Danes even gave him a nickname: "Our foreign gorilla"

Andersen's appearance was so unique that the Danes even gave him a nickname: "Our foreign gorilla"

The hidden archetypal sexuality is easily revealed in the most innocent at first glance fairy tales, for example, in The Princess and the Pea. The prince decided to marry, but only to a "real princess". What could the author mean? Well, of course, not the legitimacy of inheritance rights, which could be verified without much difficulty. Maybe he meant virginity?

A stranger, soaked in the rain, comes to the royal castle with a request to spend the night and at the same time declares that she is a "real princess"! Here the suspicions are quite understandable, and every decent mother wants her son's bride to be virgin.

“Well, we’ll find out!” - thought the old queen. But how do you know? It is clear that the gynecological examination procedure is not a suitable plot for a children's fairy tale. There is an old way of checking - coitus. But the image directly from this approach is also too rough. And Andersen resorts to symbolism, replacing the male penis with a hard pea. Will this object seem to be something unfamiliar, alien to the self-styled princess? And even if you disguise it with "twenty mattresses" and "twenty down jackets"? “In the morning they asked her how she rested:“Oh, it’s very bad! - said the princess. - I almost closed my eyes! God knows what kind of bed I had! I was lying on something so hard that my whole body is now bruised!”After such an answer, even the queen had no doubts: the princess turned out to be real, in other words - virgin. And the fate of the stranger was decided in the happiest way.

Based on unconscious archetypes, he created plots and images that still satisfy the psychological needs of readers.

Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, “Andersen reads the fairy tale 'Angel? daughter of the artist ", 1862
Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, “Andersen reads the fairy tale 'Angel? daughter of the artist ", 1862

Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, "Andersen Reads the Fairytale" Angel "by the Artist's Daughter, 1862

The sanctity of virginity and the value of the penis in some epochs acquired special significance, therefore the final phrase of the tale is quite logical: “And the pea was sent to the Cabinet of Curiosities; there it lies, if only no one stole it. " The addition about a possible theft is significant: the need for a check could arise not only in the scrupulous royal family. Maybe this is why the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea" gained such popularity, and its name even turned into a saying that the archetype of virginity was the most vivid in it?

For Andersen, who remained unmarried for the rest of his life and retained his "virginity", the issue of chastity acquired an exaggerated meaning, preventing him from deciding on marriage. Maybe, at the right moment, there was simply no such cunning queen mother next to him who would help her son to eliminate all doubts that prevented him from marrying with the help of some “pea”?

Monument to the Storyteller in Central Park New York
Monument to the Storyteller in Central Park New York

Monument to the Storyteller in Central Park New York

Andersen's genius tales are more than a reflection of the author's pathological personality traits. Based on the archetypes dominating in his unconscious, he created plots and images, created legends and myths that still satisfy certain psychological needs of readers. And the more vividly the archetypal content appears in the tale, the more genius it appears to the reader.

After all, a genius, like an archetype, reveals itself only in time. And our heightened and not always conscious interest in the creativity of "crazy geniuses" is due to the hope that only with such a creator can we discover something special and close, affecting the deep layers of our own psyche.


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