Sunday, 26 February 2017

Andersen's 'The dying Child'

'The dying Child' is an epoch-making text, because Andersen's poetic elevation of the thoughts and speech of a child, which bear the form of the poem, broke with all sorts of norms as to what good and correct literature should look like in the 1820s (the poem dates from 1826). So deep and complete a bowing of the knee to the nature of a child had not been attempted anywhere in the world - not even Goethe in his poem about Erlkönig from the end of the 18th century had attempted this.
(Jens Andersen, Andersen, vol. I, p. 154):

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