WMU Home > About WMU > WMU News

WMU News

Lecture introduces "the real" Hans Christian Andersen

March 11, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Visiting scholar Niels Ingwersen, professor emeritus of Scandinavian studies at the University of Wisconsin, presents "You Don't Understand Me: Hans Christian Andersen, His Critics and His Audience" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 16, on the 10th floor of Sprau Tower at Western Michigan University. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Would Andersen have approved of Disney's "The Little Mermaid"?

Was he strictly a children's author?

Was he really gay?

Discover the real Hans Christian Andersen through Thursday's presentation by one of the world's leading scholars of the man and his work.

Perhaps the best-known Danish writer in history, Andersen (1805-75) invented a new literary style. Most of his fairy tales were intended for serious adult readers, but were written so straightforwardly as to also be accessible for children. While most readers have heard of "The Little Mermaid" and "The Ugly Duckling," Andersen also wrote many complex and darker tales rarely included in anthologies, as well as novels, travel literature, plays, poems and multiple autobiographies.

Even less known is Andersen's work as a visual artist. His paper cuttings echo the special imaginative universe of his tales. His collages were created long before that form became artistically fashionable.

Born in Denmark, Ingwersen is known internationally as a scholar of Hans Christian Andersen, 19th and 20th century Scandinavian literature, folktale and ballad. He taught at the University of Wisconsin from 1963 to 2003, served as editor of the main North American journal in the field, Scandinavian Studies, and was knighted "Sir Niels" by Queen Margrethe of Denmark for his service to Danish-American relations.

Ingwersen's visit to Kalamazoo is sponsored by the WMU Department of English Scholarly Speaker Series. His visit also will include a free, informal workshop, "An Andersen Open House" at 10 a.m. Friday, March 17, on the 10th floor of Sprau Tower. During the workshop, Ingwersen will discuss Andersen's paper art and the Disneyfication of Andersen's work.

For more information, contact Jana Schulman, associate professor of English, at jana.schulman@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2672.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400