Fairy Tales (Anglais) CD – avril 2005
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Andersen was the first Danish author to break out of the mold of both neoclassicism and romanticism which preceded him, and his genius lay in writing as if he were telling the stories out loud to a group of children -- in the earlier, simpler tales -- and in capturing all the sorrow and joy of life in his later tales for adults. You may think you know these stories (no, there are no singing crabs in "The Little Mermaid," one of the more painful stories you will ever read), but you're in for a big surprise. Finally a translator who dares NOT to rewrite, explain, and simplify Hans Christian Andersen! Truly a magnificent edition in celebration of the author's bicentennial on April 2, 2005. (Read the biography by Jens Andersen too, it's a real eye-opener.)
For younger children some of the stories may be inappropriate. For example, "the Red Shoes" has a girl getting her feet chopped off for her sins. In general, HC didn't necessarily believe in happy endings, so be aware. This is a non-Disney fairy tale book.
The book's binding and pages are a bit stiff, but not overly. It is not too heavy either, so it works well when reading loud in bed.
These are probably not stories to be read out to children just before they sleep. The stories ached with the sadness of lost innocence and unrequited--both heterosexual and homosexual--love.
The omnipresent narrator tells his stories from the vantage point of a hawk in the sky and mole-rat burrowing beneath the surface of the earth. Like all good stories, they tell us something about the human condition, and like the best of them, they do so without telling us exactly what it is.
There are some adult themes which might require filtering depending on age. There is one story where a character commits suicide, and there are a few violent scenes throughout the entire volume. The stories really cover the entire spectrum of human emotion, although nothing is described in particularly graphic terms.
The stories are beautifully and clearly narrated, and some of the passages were positively haunting. They've chosen a good translation as well; I think it keeps closely to the feel of the original text.
There are all types of stories, too; long, complex ones, but also shorter, simple narratives, and then everything in between. Some of the stories are dark, and some cheerful. Anderson's stories are set in various countries and feature all ages of protagonists (some who are human, and some not). I would highly recommend these for anyone who wants thought-provoking, intense fairy tales and moving narration.