The Ugly Duckling: The Autobiography of Hans Christian Andersen

  Excellent fairy tales not only have an attractive and good story, but also often have profound meanings. In a society with hierarchical barriers, when a woman from a humble background finally marries a high-ranking person, people will say, “Cinderella meets a prince.” Another example is that a person who is despised by others finally achieves brilliant achievements will be said to be “an ugly duckling turned into a swan”. In fact, no matter how fairy tales are formed through long years and handed down from generation to generation, or they are just creations of writers, they are not without a basis in reality, and often even have archetypal characters. “Cinderella” can be traced back to the story of Rhodopis (Rhodopis) in the era of Amasis II (Amasis, Ahmose II), the twenty-sixth dynasty of ancient Egypt in the 6th century BC. The story of “The Ugly Duckling” deeply integrates many life and emotional experiences of the writer Andersen himself.
  Denmark’s Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) is now recognized as an unparalleled master of fairy tales and “the father of modern fairy tales”. He also has literary achievements in poetry, novels and other aspects. Andersen’s works have been translated into more than 160 countries and distributed all over the world. But most readers only know one side of his success, not the other side behind his success.
  Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, and his father thought he was of noble blood, because his great-grandmother once told him that their family’s grandparents belonged to the high social class. However, the research of experts has confirmed that this statement is purely false. On the contrary, they believe that Andersen was the illegitimate son of Prince Christian Friedrich, who later became King Christian VIII of Denmark. Andersen’s adoptive father was a poor shoemaker, so Andersen had to be self-reliant since he was a child. He first worked as an apprentice to a tailor. At the age of 14, he went to the capital Copenhagen and wanted to be an actor. Because of his beautiful tenor voice, the Royal Theater of Denmark accepted him. Unexpectedly, after only one or two years, the boy grew up, and then began to change his voice. Colleagues in the theater thought he had the temperament of a poet and suggested that he engage in writing. Sure enough, with the help of theater director Jonas Colin, he went to middle school and the University of Copenhagen, and finally achieved success in literary creation, except “Improvisation Poet” (1835), “O.T” (1836) and “Just a Fiddler” (1837), as well as many foreign travel notes, he has published hundreds of fairy tales, which are loved by not only children but also many adults.
  Setbacks in love
  But unlike his repeated successes in creation, Andersen’s love life always encountered setbacks.
  In 1825 he fell deeply in love with Lieborg Voigt, the sister of his college classmate. This twenty-four-year-old girl, with her pretty face, charming eyes, and her decent attire, made Andersen feel that she was simply radiantly beautiful. He wrote a poem describing her: “I saw a pair of charming eyes, / There is my dream home, / Wisdom and tenderness are hidden deep inside, / I will always keep them in my memory.” (Jin Yantranslated) ) he wrote in his diary that when he looked into her eyes he lost track of time and place; and that this was the first time he fell in love. He promised Lieberg that he would name the protagonist in the novel after her. But Rieberger already had his heart set, and in 1831 married Paul Bowen, the son of a chemist. When parting from Lieberger, Andersen kissed her hand politely, feeling like fire, which made him sigh: “I love her, but I can’t get her!”
  Later, Andersen fell in love with the singer Jenny Lind, known as the “Swedish Nightingale”. Jenny’s quiet smile and beautiful singing made Andersen very emotional, “falling in love”. But Jenny implicitly rebuffs his love. So Andersen suppressed this feeling of love and expressed it in his fairy tale “Nightingale”.
  Andersen’s other unrequited love was for Sophie Oster, the daughter of his friend, famous Danish physicist and professor at the University of Copenhagen, Hans Christian Oster. But in the prospect of this love, he feels less confident, because the question of “bride and livelihood” makes him think that his own conditions are not enough. He wrote half-seriously and half-jokingly: “I have to have 1,000 (yuan) every year before I dare to fall in love, and 1,500 before I dare to get married. If there is only half of it, the girl will be snatched away by others, and I will be a shriveled old bachelor.” Sophie was going to marry someone else. On the night of the engagement, Andersen wrote in his diary: “I think, this Christmas, I will tell her why I will never treat her well! Now I will never marry again; There is no young girl for me anymore. Day by day, I am more of an old bachelor! Ah, yesterday I was a young man, and tonight I am old! God bless you, dear Sophie, you will always I never knew how happy I would be to have you!”
  Andersen must have been bisexual. He loved Lieberg Voigt, Jenny Lind, Sophie Oster, and his patron, the children of the famous translator, writer and activist Jonas Kolling.
  Andersen and Colin’s family have a good relationship and are frequent visitors to their home. He regards Jonas Colin as his “loving father” and regards himself as one of their brothers and sisters. brotherhood embraces us as Jesus embraced his apostles”. He felt affection for Colin’s daughter, Louise Colin, and sent her a copy of his early autobiography. As for Edward Colin, he had a platonic feeling beyond normal friendship. He wrote to him: “I suffer for you beautiful Calabrian wench… I am sentimental for the kind of woman you are. My femininity and our friendship will leave a mystery.” In addition, he wrote a letter to Edward that he dared not send, saying:
  ”My dear Edward! How I miss you! . . . I want to know if you understand, if you understand my love for you! This moment, at last, I see you, there is no doubt that our souls are true to each other I could have you in my heart! . . . Oh, if only I were a rich man, and we would fly side by side to Italy, glorious and glorious Italy, an Italy I never knew Oh, if only we could be together! Even if we only stay there for a month, it will be enough! – Edward, I have many friends, but my love for you is far beyond what others can match …” (translated by Chen Xuesong, etc.)
  Edward did not respond to any such expressions of Andersen. Edward said in “Memoirs”: “I feel that I cannot respond to this love. This makes the writer feel great pain.” “Because of this,” the Danish writer Jens Andersen (Jens Andersen) in He said in “The Biography of Hans Andersen”: “In his novel “OT”, the writer (referring to Hans Andersen) had to put himself and his lover together to imagine the future plot: Andersen It was the impoverished Otto from Odense in the novel, and Edward the rich Earl William, and their sensitive friendship became more unbreakable than ever on the journey to the South.” Gain sublimation in creation.

  In addition to the above-mentioned ones, Andersen also had this kind of same-sex affection for the Danish dancer Harald Sarf and the hereditary Duke Karl Alexander of the Principality of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, but neither get the result he expected.
  Creation was misunderstood
  In addition, before Andersen achieved world-wide achievements, his works were also misunderstood and criticized repeatedly, some of which were offensive or even personally insulting. For example, when the Danish poet and playwright Henrik Hertz made fun of Andersen’s “Letter from the Soul”, he said that the author was “a colt riding on a muse”, carrying a moth-eating saddlebag full of texts. Incomprehensible, awkward literature, full of grammatical errors and other “crude fallacies”. Another critic described Andersen, who loved to travel on foot, as a parrot with tragicomedy colors in his work, saying that his travel note “On Foot Journey” was a huge “mental hospital”. One publication criticized Andersen’s Orient travels, A Poet’s Market, as “a collection of childish vanity with blurred pictures and silly exclamation points . . . How artificial, how hypocritical!” The old boy that people hate”… In addition, Andersen’s fairy tales were also misunderstood at the beginning. Andersen recalled sadly in “Autobiography”: “My fairy tales encountered some frustrating things at first.”
  Both love and creation were hit, which made Andersen in a bad mood. The Danish writer Stig Dragore described the writer’s emotions in his “Traveling in Blue: A Biography of Andersen” in this way, and he only wanted to get away from the environment that treated him maliciously:
  leave! leave! to those estates. To Guisfield and Brigantweed. To the bright, comfortable room, where there are forests, lakes, and avenues… To travel alone under the oak trees, where the oak trees are peaceful, and he can hear the children playing near the house. To fantasies, where the fantasies are in the sloping branches of the trees… Get out of here, into the still moonlit evenings, into the bachelor nights…
  He’s in a cave of fairies… Those magazine criticisms are just a gust of wind. Walk in the woods of Guisfield, where there is a swan lake. Along the way, he suddenly had an idea for a fairy tale, to grow an ugly into a beautiful, and the dream of hope displayed in the process. It changes throughout the year, from “About a Duck” to “Little Swan” to “The Ugly Duckling”. (Translated by Feng Jun)
  Inspiration from the dream
  Dragore said: “He was dreaming…” and then wrote about Andersen’s messy dream: in the dream, he was always frustrated and cursed. For a while, someone scolded him “you are a bad guy”, and for a while someone accused him of “you are an ugly guy”. After a while, someone said that he owed her money and gave her the money, and said that the money was void. He tried to escape, but was caught by a man with a parrot’s mouth, and told him to play the accordion; he shook the handle, and the sound coming out of the box was very harsh; so the man said he was “an ugly fellow”, and sent the children to go. attack him. Later he came to an alley full of people in carnival costumes, a man in a clown suit pushed him into a corner and held a knife to his face, the man behind the mask had Leng Sensen’s eyes As if to say, to destroy his face. But the man in the clown suit said: “You are too ugly, and I can’t do anything to your face.” At the end of the dream, Dragore wrote:
  He was tossing and turning in bed, as if he had a high fever sweating.
  He flies.
  a swan.
  So it became “The Ugly Duckling”.
  Wikipedia says: “Andersen originally conceived (“The Ugly Duckling”) of this story in 1842 while he was enjoying the beauty of nature at his country estate in Bregentved… The title of the fairy tale was initially considered “Little Duckling”. The Swan. But in order to make the change of the protagonist not feel too sudden, the title was changed to “The Ugly Duckling”…”
  Once, when Andersen’s friend, the great Danish critic Georg Brandes, asked the master of fairy tales if he wanted to write an autobiography, Andersen replied that he had already written it. Undoubtedly, his reply to Brandes that “it has been written” does not refer to his autobiography “My Fairy Tale Life”. Because, his autobiography “My Fairy Tale Life” was not written until 1869, and the creation of “The Ugly Duckling” was more than 20 years earlier than this autobiography; In his letter, Landes explicitly admitted to Brandes that the story of “The Ugly Duckling” “is a reflection of my life”.
  The autobiography of
  ”The Ugly Duckling” “The Ugly Duckling” is like a biography of Andersen’s fairy tales, the story is very consistent with the writer’s life.
  Andersen’s appearance is not very good-looking, even a little ugly. When meeting the German poet Heinrich Heine in Paris, the impression he left on Heine was: “He is tall and thin, with a sunken face, and the external impression runs counter to the submissive personality that princes and nobles appreciate… …” Jens Andersen also said, “Andersen was a tall ugly kid with a big nose and big feet; he had a beautiful voice and a passion for drama, but he was teased and ridiculed by other children” .
  With a big nose and big feet, it looks like a duck. But to a person, it looks ugly. In addition to this appearance, what is more important is that Andersen embodies his own life experience in “The Ugly Duckling”.
  Like Andersen, the little duck in “The Ugly Duckling” (translated by Lin Hua) is also an outlier among ducks: although the old duck mistook him for his “little baby”, out of maternal love, he said that he was “really my The most beautiful duckling I have ever seen”, but everyone thought he was “big and ugly”, so he was attacked, “he was picked up by chickens and pecked by ducks, bullied and ridiculed”, even The little girl who feeds chickens and ducks will “kick him with her feet”. After escaping from the circle of bullying, the wild duck saw him and said to him, “You
  It’s so ugly”. This made him feel so inferior that he said, “I’m so ugly that even dogs don’t bother to bite me”. But on the other hand, the little duck also has a certain self-confidence. He said to the chicken: “You don’t understand I”, because he knows his own strengths. He claims to “go into the wide world” to allow himself room to display. Indeed, after a period of time, he is different when he reaches the “broad world”: “What did he see in the clear water? He saw himself: no longer a stupid, dark gray, ugly and repulsive duckling, but a swan”, one of the “beautiful birds” he “loved so much” Andersen’s later achievements are exactly like this. Yes, “It doesn’t matter if you were born in a duck farm, as long as you were born in a swan’s egg”! This is a conclusion that is enough to make the writer proud. But duckling/Andersen has no arrogance, he deeply I deeply understand: “A kind heart is never proud.
  ” “The Ugly Duckling”, a masterpiece?
  ”The Ugly Duckling” was originally published on November 11, 1843 in the journal “New Fairy Tales” in Copenhagen, Denmark, and it was published in 1844. In the author’s first collection, it was titled “Write for Children” for the first time. However, Brandes criticized this fairy tale.
  In 1869, Georg Brandes’ essay “Fairy Tale Writer Hans Christian Andersen” was published in “Illustrated Magazine” in three issues (July 11, July 18 and July 25). Brandes affirmed that Andersen’s cultural radicalism had influenced at least several generations in Denmark , he himself is his supporter. But he felt that in “The Ugly Duckling”, the bird turned into a swan, which was incompatible with his aesthetic taste, because the swan was originally a domestic bird, not a wild one. So he thinks: “This fairy tale leaves a shadow. “I don’t hesitate to say that it is one of the great masterpieces of our whole literature … but also one of the few in which the poet dares, with gentle optimism, to let the ugly truth appear unabashedly,” he said. ”
  Like many other works, “The Ugly Duckling” is indeed a great masterpiece. In Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller, published in the new century, Jackie Woolschlager commented on Hans Christian Andersen’s first collection of fairy tales with The Ugly Duckling: “These are his Some of the most mature and well-constructed fairy tales ever written by (Andersen), some of which were, and were, especially beloved by children. Andersen here combines childlike innocence and depth of thought with great artistic talent. “His works have been translated into languages ​​in more than 40 countries, and have also been adapted into other art forms.

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