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The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen (The Annotated Books) Hardcover – November 17, 2007

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The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen (The Annotated Books) + The Annotated Brothers Grimm (The Bicentennial Edition) + The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Andersen, creator of The Princess and the Pea and The Ugly Duckling, receives treasury treatment in this latest entry in Norton's series of annotated classics, replete with margin notes attentive to historical contexts, critical interpretations and folkloric influences. Tatar, Harvard's dean for humanities (The Annotated Brothers Grimm), relates that when she taught Andersen's tales, undergraduates often reported their magical childhood experiences with the fairy tales and protested her analyses of Andersen's frequently brutal scenarios. Tatar avers that her research did help her re-evaluate the affective qualities of Andersen's work. While it remains important to acknowledge the sadism of renowned tales like The Snow Queen and The Little Match Girl, and to investigate Andersen's bitter efforts to join fashionable Danish society (noted in a biographical appendix), this collection of 12 Tales for Children and a dozen more Tales for Adults focuses on the stories' fairy tale references and aesthetic appeal. Gorgeous turn-of-the-century illustrations by Kay Nielsen, William Heath Robinson and others and a section with comments from Dickens, van Gogh and Ursula Le Guin, among others testify to Andersen's wide influence. Translating with Julie K. Allen, Tatar conveys the indisputable magnetism and uncanny, threatening beauty of Andersen's visions. 146 color and b&w illus. (Nov.)
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Review

Maria Tatar has created a marvelously illustrated, admirably annotated anthology of Andersen's most memorable stories. -- Martin Gardner, author of The Annotated Alice
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Product Details

  • Series: The Annotated Books
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (November 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393060810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393060812
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.5 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Many people dismiss Hans Christian Anderson as a mere author of now outdated children's stories. Anderson, as this volume of his annotated stories makes clear, was a poet, folklorist, historian, and commentator as well as a children's writer. In fact, many of his stories were written for adults, not children, and even those aimed at the young have side passages and comments which were meant for grown up men and women to hear and ponder. This volume contains a good sampling of both of these types of Anderson's stories. Each story is copiously annotated, a real pleasure for the modern reader who may not recognize references to customs and people now far in the past. There are many beautiful illustrations from the multiple published versions of the stories. Most importantly, the stories have been newly translated from the original Danish, so that as much of the original emphasis and focus is present as possible.

This annotated volume not only allows the reader a fresh view of some famous stories, it also makes the enormously complex original author much more comprehensible and even more likeable.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
An excellent example of Norton's annotated series, this edition contains what we have come to expect from this publisher, Anderson's goblins and mermaids hopping through the pages, the margins offering historical context, the influence of culture and an interpretation of the selections that hint of the darker nature of fairy tales. Translated by Maria Tatar and Julie K Allen, these tales are lushly illustrated, ink sketches, black and white drawings and full-color renderings that pique the curiosity of young and old alike, "Tales for Children", "Tales for Adults", "Biographies", "Anderson's Readers" and "Bibliography". Children's selections include "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Princess and the Pea", "The Little Mermaid" and "The Wild Swan", segueing into the more sophisticated stories for adults, "The Red Shoes", "The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf", "The Goblin and the Grocer" and "The Bell".

Putting the collection in context, the Introduction, "Denmark's Perfect Wizard", speaks to Anderson's genius, a Dane born over 200 years ago. Anderson tackles provocative subjects: compassion ("The Little Match Girl"); hypocrisy ("The Emperor's New Clothes"); and the necessity of hope ("The Ugly Duckling"). Sparking imagination through the texture and color of language, darker issues are dressed in sparkling prose and brilliant hue ("a purple flower with light streaming from its calyx"). It is such language that draws young and old into the world of the fairy tale, subtle lessons on the vagaries of human behavior and the undiluted power of storytelling as a means of universal communication.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Eric C. Sedensky TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ever since taking some literature courses to complete my degree, I've been fascinated by fairy tales. These stories can be enjoyed on a very basic level, but in order to understand the context, one often needs to know more about the author, the time of the writing, and what the characters and story line connote for the writer and his or her readers - at the time it was written. Using a very simple format of narrow text with wide margins to contain the annotations, this book allows the reader to read the story only, or read the notes only, or read a combination thereof, or, just look at the fascinating pictures and engravings as copied from the original editions. The dust jacket is colorful and ornate, and the paper is crisp, easy on the eye, with error free print. In short, this book will appeal to old and young, scholars and casual readers, and even those just looking for a pretty book to put on the shelf.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Jackson on October 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book with an old-fashioned flavor. The pictures are beautiful and child-friendly. It is sized as a large in-the-lap story book. I can imagine a child or grandchild gazing wide-eyed at this book while being read to outloud.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Holmes on December 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I ordered this as a Christmas gift for a friend with young children. The quality of the book exceeded my expectations. The wonderful stories and illustrations are perfect for kids, whilst the scholarship and annotations are excellent for adults.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan Lindsay on May 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone who likes this genre, who likes H.C. Andersen, this book is a treat, well worth the cost. My understanding is that this was used as the basis for Dennis Anfuso's "Oz House." I can see that. Andersen lends himself to the kind of plastic reimagining you'll find in books like that. I love the rarer tales and the thoughtful, serious illumination on them done be the author.Oz House
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rodney D. Ryder on March 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent collection for anyone interested in Hans Christian Andersen. Delightful presentation! The text has excellent illustrations! Highly recommended for any library or personal collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on January 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely collection. The cover and pages are beautiful. The annotations are great if you like more background and information. I would recommend this product.
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The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen (The Annotated Books)
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