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A Divided World: A Structural Technique in Andersen's Original Tales
When Hans Christian Andersen began to write tales for children, he first had to overcome a number of inhibiting stylistic traits inherited from his Romantic idols, in order to arrive at that inimitable style that we all recognize. However important his stylistic innovations were, though, it is clear that he was never seriously interested in becoming merely an editor or reteller of folk material. The unhappy case of Mathias Winther may have convinced him that collecting and publishing folk tales without embellishment was not likely to succeed. Nor was Andersen the sort of author who would be likely to keep from embellishing his material even if he had wanted to. Nonetheless, as is well known, his first two booklets of tales consisted almost entirely of retellings. The idea of creating an original structure for his tales appears as a kind of anomaly in the first booklet, in the tale "Little Ida's Flowers". As Andersen tells us, this "entirely original" tale had its origin at the house of the poet J. M. Thiele, "when I told his daughter Ida about the flowers in the botanical garden; I retained a couple of the child's remarks and reproduced them when I later wrote down the tale." 1
One must be clear from the beginning about the idea of originality in this small narrative form. It is not such a self-evident thing as one might suppose, to compose original "folktales". We may lay aside the definitional question, that would allow one only to collect, never to compose a folktale, and view the matter more in a technical way. An author such as Andersen might presumably find elements in folktales that he would wish to eliminate, when addressing a youthful audience in the 1830's. But which elements should be retained, and which might profitably be distorted or expanded? If one were to imitate folktale structure, to what extent could one introduce original material, while maintaining the "look and feel" of the genre? What makes a folktale imitation recognizable as such? What would the public accept - or reject - in terms of innovative content or structure?
Happily for Andersen, and for the world that eventually received the gifts of his imagination, the above questions did not appear to give him writer's cramp. As in other instances in his extraordinary career, he set out unhesitatingly on a treacherous path, here guided between the Scylla and Charybdis of the maudlin and the pretentious by a naive optimism that it was possible to become the world's greatest fairytale writer if one simply sat down and did it. I am not prepared to explain the mystery of Andersen's remarkable development as an "original" fairytale writer. It is not possible to reduce this body of work, or any work of genius, to a simple code which provides a satisfactory explanation. But I would like to point to a key structural factor which appears in "Little Ida's Flowers" and is carried over, with increasing originality, in a great number of Andersen's "original" tales. That is the purpose of this short paper.
"Little Ida's" Flower-world
The structure of "Little Ida" clearly does not resemble that of Andersen's folktale pastiches such as "The Tinder Box" or "The Princess and the Pea". The originality in the latter stories is by no means to be belittled. There is stylistic complexity in "The Tinder Box" and structural innovation in the brief, truncated "Princess and the Pea" that divide them categorically from their folktale origins. But "Little Ida" takes a further step in an original direction. Andersen presents us with two psychic conditions: an everyday, waking condition and a dream state. The everyday situation appears to be sketched from life. We see the child in her nursery; the student who cuts out paper figures with his scissors, and who plays with the child's innocent remarks with romantic irony; the "boring Counselor", who keeps an eye on the situation and reprimands the student for feeding the child's imagination with "unrealistic" notions.
The second condition is the child's dream state - or so we are led to believe. Andersen is careful to formulate this state in such a way that we will find no specific support for our assumption that the child is asleep. The dream about the dancing flowers is logically understandable as a transference of the student's ironic fantasy to the child's unquestioning mind, where it develops into an even more fantastic dream. On the following morning we understand ("we" = the author and his adult public) more than the student does. Here the change occurs which is certainly the point of the story: when the flowers are buried, the student's ironic metaphor has become an act of faith for the child. The story within the story substantiates the truth of the idea for little Ida. The sublimated idea - an understanding of the "hidden life of flowers" - lives on in the child's mind as an aspect of her reality. Her little ritual burial act has overtones from Christian training, and leads us naturally to several questions: is Ida's innocent faith in the resurrection of flowers just a charming bit of silliness? Is the application of Christian dogma to flowers childish or is it logical? What is the difference between this child's construction of faith and our own? and so on. One can follow the questioning far beyond the direct implications of the story.
That is not the task of this little essay, however, and there is no reason to expand the argument of "Little Ida's Flowers" into something it was never intended to be. Part of its construct - the mystical reality of the dream state and its implications - is well known from E.T.A. Hoffman and others of the period. As a natural starting point, however, it gives rise to an idea which Andersen would subsequently use to great advantage. The matter of interest is not so much how this initial construct begins, but how it develops.
"Little Ida" sets in motion the idea of two worlds. The concept of a "world" has been used on occasion to refer to a change of mental state in the protagonist of a story. In folktales, the youngest brother leaves the "real world" and enters the "other world" of the forest. Little Ida experiences the "world of reality" during the day and the "world of dreams" at night. Neither of these usages of "world" correspond to my analysis here, which is an attempt to stake out restricted parameters for Andersen's construct. In "Little Ida's Flowers", the "other world" is not Ida's dream state, it is a realm of existence inhabited by the flowers themselves, to which Ida gains access in the form of a dream. Does the flower world exist? The author is ready with the appropriate ambiguous phrases, allowing us to believe it or not if we wish. The story does not assume that we (grown-ups) believe in the flower world; we are simply asked to acknowledge that Ida does. This ambivalence regarding the reality of the "other world" is an element that is subsequently removed from Andersen's tales, or returns only as a weak echo of the construct in "Little Ida's Flowers". The authorial voice soon takes the "other world" as a given - the world of the storks, of the daisy, of the little mermaid, of the ugly duckling, and so on - and a new form of fable-adventure emerges.
Marxist and Structural Worlds
I am not the first to contribute musings about multiple worlds of the above type in Andersen. Indeed, it would have been highly peculiar if the construct had been missed up to now, since Andersen himself was clearly conscious of it, and refers to it in the context of several tales. I would briefly refer to two references to the divided world in previous Andersen studies, to demonstrate several differences that arise between my analysis and that of others.
Peer E. Sørensen has contributed a significant analysis of divided worlds in his major study, H. C. Andersen og herskabet. 2 His argument, based on marxist theory, identifies the division between different points of view or "horizons". Using "The Happy Family" as a model, Sørensen notes the set of concentric consciousnesses in the text, like a set of "Chinese boxes". "Such a Chinese box-system is characteristic for a number of H. C. Andersen's texts: at the outside layer we have the adult storyteller's adult horizon, next the childish public's lesser or children's horizon, and finally the subject's even smaller, even narrower horizon ". 3 Noting the conflicting points of view between the snails and the ants in "The Happy Family", Sørensen finds a plurality of "worlds" due to a breakdown of social communication: "Since [the different characters] cannot find meeting points in their common viewpoints, they cannot meet at all, and consistently enough are forced to move around, each in his own world".
Sørensen's conclusion is that multiple worlds in Andersen's stories are a natural consequence of a 19th-century development in society, reflecting the breakdown of a patriarchal system, as the capitalist forces replaced an older communality and produced a deep societal alienation. Especially useful to me are Sørensen's thoughts on the matter of alienation itself - the lack of communication often depicted between the divided worlds, and the anguish which is often evident in those characters who are caught in one world and long for another. In the stories discussed below, however, one will also find examples of interaction between the worlds and communication of an important nature, which I do not regard as an aberration. I would like to describe Andersen's construct in such a way that both communicating and non-communicating worlds would fit.
A non-Marxist structural analysis of "The Little Mermaid" appeared recently in the journal Scandinavian Studies, as part of an article entitled "Splash!" 4 The author, Ulla Thomsen, uses a schematic with a Levi-Straussian attribute list to describe the worlds in which the little Mermaid participates. The sea is a matriarchal, sexually underdeveloped world; the prince's world is male- and power-dominated, sexually active and, of course, land-based. The mermaid moves (tentatively and unsuccessfully) from the sea world to the human world. Her second move, from the "Life of Humans" to the "Life of the Air Spirits", may not be as clear to the reader. After all, the mermaid is never a "real" human, despite her acquisition of legs, and her surprising rise to the world of the daughters of the air is conditioned by the termination of her partial existence in both land and sea worlds.
The idea of binary oppositions that Thomsen uses is, however, a good method of describing Andersen's technique in the story. The concept of opposed worlds is evident, of course, from Andersen's own descriptions. He tells us that "no pleasure was greater for (the little mermaid) than hearing about the human world up above." 5 The mermaid's longing to unite herself, both spiritually and physically, with the human world, is given extremely strong expression: "She gradually grew to like the humans more and more; more and more she desired to be able to rise up between them. She felt that their world was much greater than hers ... There was so much she wanted to know, but her sisters couldn't answer all her questions, so she asked her old Grandmother. She knew a great deal about the higher world, that she quite rightly called the Lands above the Sea". 6 Here it is clearly spelled out: it is a "higher world" that the mermaid longs for.
Why the mermaid comes to her "higher world" a communicative cripple is not explained by Thomsen's system. Perhaps, one might extrapolate in the spirit of the structuralist analysis, the mermaid is equipped by the sea witch to function like any other female in the patriarchal system - like an ornament, a plaything. The mermaid also becomes a hybrid, an outsider that has no proper place in either world. According to Thomsen, she finally "obtains the status of a martyr; she is then moved to a third world, that of the daughters of the air". 7 "Martyr" would seem to me to be too strong a word. To what cause does she become a martyr? The text itself says: "The knife trembled in the mermaid's hand, - but then she threw it far out into the waves, they shined red where it fell; it looked as if drops of blood trickled up from the water. Once more she cast a half-glazed glance at the prince, plunged from the ship into the sea, and she felt how her body was dissolved into froth". 8 Quite simply, she commits suicide in her despair.
The mermaid then enters the realm of the daughters of the air. Thomsen sets up a new binary world pattern, between the "Order of the Humans" and the "Order of the Air Spirits". The oppositional scheme runs into difficulty, however, because the mermaid is dead. There is no possible path for the little mermaid leading back to the "Order of the Humans". Or stated in another way: the world of the air does not become part of a triple world of sea-land-air. That is not to say that the world of the air does not exist in the story. But it exists in a different constructive relation to the human world than the sea world does. The mermaid's sea world is a mirror of the human world: it is a caricature of the bourgeois world of the land, but is also a world antithetical to the human world. It is clear from the story that Andersen conceives of the seafolk as antagonistic to humans. The construct is matriarchal, as Thomsen points out, and certainly contains the elements that Thomsen has identified. At the same time it is clear that it is a legendary idea upon which the sea world is constructed. It derives partially from the Danish ballads (the mermaid who dances on the tiles before royalty); but even more from classical literature - the seductive, singing, threatening merfolk that are the terror of sailors. In Andersen's version, the merfolk's "innocent" love of terrible storms on the sea betrays a clearly antithetical attitude towards the human race. This attitude is superseded by the little mermaid herself, but by her - the hybrid figure - alone. The gift of a knife by her sisters at the end should not surprise us, if we have followed the hints Andersen has provided us at the beginning of the story.
If the world is then divided into two - into a "normal" human world and a negative mirror-image beneath the sea - what is the function of the daughters of the air? Andersen is often reluctant to describe the world of the afterlife: one will notice, for example, that the kingdom of death itself is not described even in such death-intensive stories as "The Story of a Mother". On the other hand, Andersen often dwells upon conceptual way-stations between life and death, or between death and paradise. The goal of paradise is, of course, crucial to the little mermaid's story. The immortal soul that she so longs to obtain is not going to have any effect on her projected life with the prince. Already from the beginning, she longs for something beyond the prince, or at least beyond the normal course of human life. The "world" of the daughters of the air reflects this second bipartite relationship. On the one hand, it is a kind of purgatory, in which "sins" or anti-human thoughts might be cleansed over three hundred years by a constant concern for human welfare. On the other, it is a gateway to the human afterlife condition, to paradise. 9
Thomsen's binary opposition framework for the "Order of the Humans" and the "Order of the Air Spirits" does not reflect a matter of choice for the mermaid, as was the case in the primary opposition ("Order in the Sea" and "Order in the Land"). The choice presented to the mermaid when she fails to integrate herself into the "Order of the Humans" is a "Return to Order of the Sea" - or "Death". The "Order of the Air Spirits" lies completely outside her range of control or knowledge. It is not even comprehensively conceptualized in Andersen's description. We do not know, for example, where the other "Daughters of the Air" have come from, or what led them to this shared purgatory. We must assume that they are not all leftover mermaids, but have fallen somehow into this odd category through similarly transitory circumstances. The important thing, however, is that the "air world" is depicted as being beyond the boundary of death, so that its polar opposite is not the world of the humans or that of the sea, but is paradise itself. Since it is a kind of way station or purgatory, it lacks those characteristics found in my analytical model of the "divided world" - the mirroring of bourgeois life or a parallel experience of existence. The communication between "Air Spirits" and humans is also of a mystical nature, rather like our being touched by angels. This is also different from the crippled communication between the little mermaid and her prince.
By comparison to "The Little Mermaid", the "worlds" of many of Andersen's tales are relatively easy to analyze. There are two principles which usually help in isolating the bipartite nature of the described worlds. The first is that one of the worlds is in almost every original tale the world of human beings. The "other world" is a fantastic construct. The second principle is that characters that communicate actively with each other, without having to resort to magical or dreamlike means, may be considered to exist in the same "world". These principles make it a good deal easier to deal with stories of the type "Thumbelina", in which there appear on the surface to be a confusing multiplicity of "worlds". By the principles above, I find only two. There is a human world, from which the tiny heroine is kidnapped and to which she will never return, and there is the world for all the "others" in the story, both animals and birds and those legendary creatures, the angels of the flowers. Since the heroine communicates freely with all of these odd figures in the "other" world, and they might communicate freely with each other if they wanted to, we may feel safe in categorizing them in the same "world", for the purpose of analyzing how the tale is constructed. They all live divided from the world of humans, but not categorically divided from each other. Even a physical transition between animal and legendary worlds is no problem: Thumbelina simply gets a pair of detachable wings to put on, and she is ready to marry the angel. A major difference between this tale and "The Little Mermaid", however, is the reduction of the importance of the "human world": while the "animal/legendary world" again reflects and at times caricatures the "human world", the strivings of the protagonist lie quite beyond those of human beings. We shall not find any deep longing on the part of Thumbelina to return to the world of humans.
Problems of - and Solutions for - Communication
The lack of, or at least the difficulty of communication between the divided worlds may be established as a fundamental principle for the technique described here. Not only the mermaid is speechless; the steadfast tin soldier says nothing at all, and the daisy can only sigh to itself. The list could go on and on. But before one accepts without reservation Sørensen's hypothesis of the "pluralistic conception" that lies at the bottom of Andersen's original tales, it would be useful to look at a plot structure in which communication does take place.
Such a plot structure is that of "The Rose Elf". The part of the plot which concerns the human world is an adaptation - according to Andersen, from an Italian folk song. He could also have found it in Boccaccio's Decameron (Day 4, story no. 5), or even heard a similar motif in the well-known Danish ballad about the "Two Sisters": the innocent victim's dead body is brought back to the family of the murderer, and, in a mystical way, reveals the heinous deed. But Andersen's story is a retelling with significant changes, of which the division into two worlds is the most important. The Rose Elf, who in the beginning lives in his own world, completely uninterested in the world of humans, is forced to be a witness to the murder, and reacts with an emotion that combines his self-centered attitude with something new: "The Elf shook with fear and anger over the evil deed". 10 Chance brings him back to the house where both the dead man's true love and her wicked brother live. The elf can then climb into the sleeping girl's ear and tell her of the deed "as in a dream". The elf remains with her (although not in communicative contact), and when she has found her lover's body, planted his head in a pot with a jasmine bush flowering over it, and then wept herself to death, he collects a swarm of bees to take revenge on the killer. Meanwhile, the jasmine flowers have prepared themselves, and are the first to seek vengeance: "when the brother slept ... each flower cup opened up, and the flower-souls came out, invisible but with poisonous spears, and they sat first by his ear and told him bad dreams, and then flew over his lips and stuck his tongue with their poisonous spears". 11 Clearly, the communicative function of the vengeance act is central to this description, and the mystical poisoning of the murderer's lying tongue is also emphasized. It is left to the Rose Elf and his bee swarm to make sure that the flowerpot is broken, so that the facts come to light about the murder.
How divided is the divided world in this case? The Rose Elf, a legendary figure, has normal, communicative contact with the flowers, the queen bee, etc., but only limited access to humans. It is clear that the actions of humans affect him, as they do the jasmine flowers. That is, some superior law concerning righteousness is upheld in principle by the dwellers of the nature- and legend-world. Contact can be established, but it is done in a dream or magical state, when members of the human world are not capable of using their rational thinking to reject or disregard the message.
The Range of Constructs
It should be evident already that the construct of establishing parallel or separated worlds is more complex than one would have expected on the basis of its starting point in "Little Ida's Flowers". Were the construct to limit itself to the longing of a protagonist for the other of the two worlds or the protagonist's search for contact with the other world, it would have exhausted itself rather quickly. The opposite is the case in Andersen's original tales. The concept becomes increasingly rich as he reworks it. The following list of examples of the "divided world" concept may serve to exemplify the breadth of Andersen's use of the construct. My list is, however, far from exhaustive:
• The human world is placed in the center:
"The Metal Pig". The story, as in the case of "Little Ida's Flowers", is about a human being. The world of the pig, and of art in general, is seen in a dream state, and Andersen leaves the reader with a strong sense that the protagonist's imagination lay at the origin of the "other world".
• The human world is the important one, but is placed in the background:
"The Rose Elf". The elf's story is foregrounded, yet his "story" consists of his reaction to and peripheral participation in the unfolding of a human tragedy.
• The human world and the fairytale world are depicted as a parallel representation of the same event:
"The Bottle Neck". The bottle's story is foregrounded, but without understanding what is happening, it experiences on a deeper level a parallel story to that of the woman.
• The fairytale story is the important one, the human world is subordinated:
"The Steadfast Tin Soldier". It is the soldier's story that is of interest and importance. But in the background, there is a reduced experiential sequence concerning a bourgeois family: the boy receives the gift of the tin soldiers; he loses one of them, which is then found by the servant in a fish which has been bought at the market; and finally, the soldier is lost again through an accident.
• The fairytale story is the important one, and the human world is reduced to a background set of relationships which have no "story" or consistent meaning:
"The Ugly Duckling". Humans are present at almost all points in the story, but their actions are only symbolically important for the actions in which the young swan takes part.
It is important to note that the present discussion concerns the "divided world" as a storytelling device. It is clear that the construct in "The Ugly Duckling" is further complicated by the fact that it is a fable - that is, the young swan is not "really" a swan, but is a metaphorically conceived human fate. The question naturally arises: if the swan is actually a young artist, what are all the humans in the same story, actually? Are they a combined metaphor for God? for fate? for the critics? This interpretative component is not uninteresting, but falls outside the scope of the present essay, which concerns itself merely with the construct and its immediate application to the body of original Andersen tales. What appears clear to me is that certain of the tales which pose particularly knotty interpretative problems can be approached in a productive way by applying the "divided world" construct and drawing those logical conclusions generated by this type of analysis. I will conclude this essay by giving one example of a problematical Andersen tale, with a demonstration of my analytical method.
"The Old House" in a New Light
"The Old House" is a most peculiar tale, and like a number of Andersen's more difficult and fascinating tales, is seldom anthologized or analyzed. On a street in Copenhagen stands an old house, and in it lives an old man. "He is so frightfully lonely", they say, and the little boy who lives across the street becomes his friend out of sympathy, and gives him one of his dearest possessions: a tin soldier. This results in an invitation by the old man for the boy to come to visit, and the boy gets an exciting view of life from a half century before that has been held in abeyance by memory and isolation. The "divided world" construct appears initially to arise out of the boy's sensibility: the old carved decorations over the door welcome him into the house with a trumpet fanfare, the flowers talk, the chairs complain about their rheumatism, and the leather-clad walls have a pompous way of expressing their own worth:
"Gilding fades all too fast.
Leather, that is made to last!" 12
they say. The tin soldier makes loud protest that he finds the old man's house boring. The boy, who enjoys the old man's curious house and tales from long ago about his true love, tells the tin soldier that he has to stay where he is. On the boy's second visit, however, the protest of the tin soldier is louder than ever, and the toy jumps off the table and disappears in a crack in the floor.
Some months later, the old man dies. His things are sold, and the house is torn down. Time passes, the boy grows into manhood and marries, and by coincidence moves into a fine new residence that has been built on the lot of the old house. While planting a flower in the garden plot, his wife discovers the tin soldier, and her young husband recalls the story of the lonely old man. It brings tears to the eyes of the young wife. She decides to preserve the tin soldier as a keepsake of the memory of the old man. Then comes the strange ending:
"How frightfully lonely he must have been!" she said.
"Frightfully lonely!" said the tin soldier, "but it is lovely, not to be forgotten".
"Lovely!" called out something nearby, but only the tin soldier saw that it was a piece of the swine leather wall covering. It had no gilding left; it looked like a bit of wet earth, but it had an opinion, and it voiced it:
"Gilding fades all too fast,
Leather, that is made to last!"
But the tin soldier didn't believe that. 13
The construction: there are two worlds depicted; that of the humans and that of the inanimate objects. There is a cognitive and communicative link between the two in the young boy. If we follow Andersen's construct closely, we will notice that the world of objects is established by an authorial trick before we are introduced to the boy: "All the other houses on the street were so new and nice, ... they wanted nothing to do with the old house. They probably thought: 'How long is that monstrosity going to disturb our street?'" 14 The boy's own natural anthropomorphic tendency allows him to tap into the world of fantasy without difficulty. He communicates with the objects without difficulty. By contrast, we may note that the objects regularly fall silent when the old man returns to the room.
At the end of the story, however, the tin soldier and the leather wall covering continue to communicate - with each other. But the young boy can no longer hear them. His link to the world of objects was his fantasy, which disappeared when he became an adult. He not only cannot communicate with the tin soldier, he fails even to recognize it as his own toy.
The tin soldier, on the other hand, lives on in the world of fantasy that had belonged to the child. But his position has become ambiguous. He can no longer communicate with the young man. He has become raised - or lowered might be the proper term - to a lifeless symbol belonging to the wife, a symbol of the boy's contact with the old man. Thus we may understand the comment by the soldier that it is lovely (for the old man) not to be forgotten. But what about the soldier? We are not given the details of the young man's recounting of the story to his wife. But from his other remarks, we may certainly draw the conclusion that his "mature" version of the story no longer would include the trumpeting calls from the carved wood, the comments of the furniture, or the argument with the tin soldier that led to the soldier's disappearance. The tin soldier no longer remains as a living thing for the young man, any more than the decaying leather swatch would be. The tin soldier and the world he represents disappears with the maturation and corresponding loss of imagination on the part of the young man. What may never return (according to the melancholy tin soldier's final thought) is the communicative key to unlock the portal to the "other world", and the lack of this key causes the inanimate objects to be imprisoned in a lifeless void. Not a cheery ending, to be sure. But it appears to me to answer the questions posed by the odd exchange of ideas that closes this tale.
1. See Andersen's "Remarks" ("Bemærkninger") to the 1863 edition of the Eventyr og Historier, reprinted in H. C. Andersens Eventyr, ed. Dal et al. (Copenhagen: Reitzel, 1963-90), VI:4-5. Subsequent references from this edition are represented here by volume and page number only. back
6."Meer og meer kom hun til at holde af Menneskerne, meer og meer ønskede hun at kunne stige op imellem dem; deres Verden syntes hun var langt større end hendes ... Der var saa meget hun gad vide, men Søstrene vidste ikke at give Svar paa Alt, derfor spurgte hun den gamle Bedstemoder og hun kendte godt til den høiere Verden, som hun meget rigtigt kaldte Landene ovenfor Havet" (I:95-96). back
8."Kniven zittrede i Havfruens Haand, - men da kastede hun den langt ud i Bølgerne, de skinnede røde, hvor den faldt, det saae ud, som piblede der Bloddraaber op af Vandet. Endnu engang saae hun med halvbrustne Blik paa Prindsen, styrtede sig fra Skibet ned i Havet, og hun følte, hvor hendes Legeme opløste sig i Skum" (I:105). back
9. At least as far as his tales are concerned, Andersen does not appear to make the afterlife itself into a double construct (Heaven and Hell) for humans. In cases where a kind of "Hell" is described, it is never irrevocable, but is in itself a kind of purgatory. Cf. "The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf". back
11."da Broderen sov ... aabnede hvert Blomsterbæger sig, og usynlige, men med giftige Spyd, stege Blomster-Sjælene ud og de satte sig først ved hans Øre og fortalte ham onde Drømme, fløi derpaa over hans Læber og stak hans Tunge med de giftige Spyd" (I:181). back
12."Forgyldning forgaaer,/Men Svinelæder bestaaer!" (II:145). The translation in this case is from H. C. Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, transl. E. C. Haugaard (New York: Doubleday, 1974), p. 348. back
13."Hvor han maa have været skrækkeligt ene!" sagde hun. "Skrækkeligt ene!" sagde Tinsoldaten, "men deiligt er det, ikke at blive glemt". "Deiligt!" raabte Noget tæt ved, men Ingen uden Tinsoldaten saae, at det var en Lap af det Svinelæders Betræk; det var uden al Forgyldning, det saae ud, som vaad Jord, men en Mening havde det og den sagde det: 'Forgyldning forgaaer,/ Men Svinelæder bestaaer.' Dog det troede Tinsoldaten ikke" (II:149-50). back
14."Alle de andre Huse i Gaden vare saa nye og saa nette, ... de vilde ikke have noget at gjøre med det gamle Huus; de tænkte nok: 'hvor længe skal det Skrummel staae til Spektakel her i Gaden" (II:143). The "authorial trick" lies in the word "nok" ("probably"), which contains an initial ambiguity about the reality of the animated objects. back