"Dobbeltartikulationen i H. C. Andersens eventyr".
This paper has been published in Andersen og Verden, Odense 1993.
The Double Articulation in Andersen's Fairy TalesSøren Baggesen
(summary for pages 15-29)
This paper deals with the strategies of communication that Andersen employed in his fairy tales - especially at the beginning of his career.
Its thesis is that the caption he used for his first booklets "Fairy Tales Told for Children", implied (although it did not explicitly express) a sequel: "... but also intended for grown-ups".
I have taken as a starting point the fact that almost all of the tales deal thematically with problems of adult life: sexual love, social differences and clashes etc. Nevertheless they are genuine children's literature, their style and general mode of narration still has an enormous appeal to children, because of its straightforwardness, its humour, and the loving care with which it takes children seriously as a reading public.
This in a positive sense naive and childlike narration makes up the text of any single fairy tale, but Andersen also uses it as a cover. The straightforward text contains a subtext, which gives an ironic, often sarcastic and bitter, sometimes even nihilistic commentary on the ways and means of the adult world. This subtext is the one that is "intended for grown-ups".
Both text and subtext are the text, the covert meaning is no more and no less the real meaning of a given tale than its straightforward one. In my opinion this is so because of the strategy implied in Andersen's narration. He brought his genius to bear as a story-teller for children and a poet for adults in the fashionable genre of the fairy tale, because the form, in his day, allowed him to circumvent an 'internalized censor', resulting from his experiences on the tortuous road to fame and glory.
I have tried to demonstrate my thesis by considering a few of the fairy tales in some detail selected from the body of stories which time has shown to be the most durable as children's tales.