Syddansk Universitet

New digital edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s complete fairy tales and stories available to readers worldwide

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The Hans Christian Andersen Centre at SDU is now publishing a new, complete digital edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s complete fairy tales and stories in English. Translated by award-winning translator John Irons, the edition will be freely available to everyone.

H.C. Andersen -Photos from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre, SDU /Odense Noble Virgin Convent can be freely used.
H.C. Andersen -Photos from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre, SDU /Odense Noble Virgin Convent can be freely used.

Hans Christian Andersen is considered a classic author all over the world, and his works have been translated into more than 160 languages. However, the quality of existing translations varies, and Andersen’s characteristic imagery, irony and phrasing have often been watered down.

With the ambition to best convey Andersen’s particular tone, stylistic features, as well as the puns and phrases that are founded in the Danish language of Andersen’s time, the Hans Christian Andersen Centre at SDU has put itself in charge of publishing a complete, scholarly retranslation of all Andersen’s fairy tales and stories into English.

A huge accomplishment
On 17 November, SDU will publish the new digital translation of H.C. Andersen’s collected fairy tales and stories in English entitled: Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Stories. Translated by John Irons in collaboration with Jacob Bøggild and Mads Sohl Jessen.

Once launched, the edition will be freely available to everyone.

- The new English translation of Hans Christian Andersen’s complete fairy tales and stories is a huge accomplishment. Thanks to a solid scientific basis – both source-wise and translational – the translation will hopefully become the entry point to Andersen’s body of work for English-language readers around the world for decades to come, says Lasse Horne Kjældgaard, Professor and Head of the Hans Christian Andersen Centre at SDU.

Texts that really feel like Andersen
The award-winning translator John Irons has translated Andersen into contemporary English. He has collaborated with Associate Professor Jacob Bøggild and Associate Professor Mads Sohl Jessen from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre at SDU on the translation.

In a research context, a standard translation has long been lacking, and the new translation attempts to come as close as possible to the original Danish text and to be more faithful to the original than ever before. Irons has previously been very successful in translating old Danish literature, including for the anthology 100 Danish Poems: From the Medieval Period to the Present Day.

- Working on the translations of Hans Christian Andersen’s texts has been a challenging voyage of exploration. I had little idea of the range of subject matter and styles he was capable of. The task has been to produce English texts that really feel like Andersen, clothed in a different language, but ones where it is undeniably, unmistakably his voice that can be heard, John Irons says and elaborates:

- This has taxed my Danish and English to the limit, and I am most grateful for having been given the chance to make the attempt, and having had excellent guidance and help from Andersen experts in bringing the translations more sharply into focus.

Loyal to Andersen
The researchers at the Hans Christian Andersen Centre are also pleased that it is now possible to present Hans Christian Andersen in his complete wording and tone to readers worldwide:

- John Irons’s translation into English of all of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales and stories are loyal to Andersen’s wording, tone and punctuation on an unprecedented scale, says Jacob Bøggild and Mads Sohl Jessen, Associate Professors at the Hans Christian Andersen Centre at SDU.

And they elaborate:
- By virtue of cooperation with the Hans Christian Andersen Centre at SDU, the translation is research-based with special attention to the placement of each fairy tale among the collected fairy tales and stories, says Jacob Bøggild and Mads Sohl Jessen, Associate Professors at the Hans Christian Andersen Centre at SDU

Facts:

  • The full title of the release is: Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Stories. Translated by John Irons in collaboration with Jacob Bøggild and Mads Sohl Jessen. Published by The Hans Christian Andersen Centre at the University of Southern Denmark.
  • The new digital release is available at https://andersen.sdu.dk/tales/andersen-irons/index.html (beta version until 17 November 2022).
  • The translation is published under Wikimedia Commons and made available free of charge for non-commercial purposes by SDU.

Photos from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre, SDU /Odense Noble Virgin Convent can be freely used.

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Images

H.C. Andersen -Photos from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre, SDU /Odense Noble Virgin Convent can be freely used.
H.C. Andersen -Photos from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre, SDU /Odense Noble Virgin Convent can be freely used.
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H.C. Andersen - Photos from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre, SDU /Odense Noble Virgin Convent can be freely used.
H.C. Andersen - Photos from the Hans Christian Andersen Centre, SDU /Odense Noble Virgin Convent can be freely used.
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