Resumé (engelsk) af Johan de Mylius:

"Øjeblikket - en anskuelsesform hos H. C. Andersen".

Indlægget er trykt i Andersen og Verden, Odense 1993.

The Moment - a Structure of Mind and World in Hans Christian Andersen's Poetic Writings

Johan de Mylius

(summary for pages 57-74)

In his very first book, dealing with Andersen as a novelist, Kier­ke­gaard accused the writer of having no general view of life, mean­ing that Andersen was not capable of organizing a poetic world as an ob­ject­ive and balanced testimony of order and per­sonally achieved meaning­fulness.

Kierkegaard was both right and wrong. Andersen undoubtedly shared the general idea of his time, an idea of immanent meaning grasped through personal growth and development. And he gave shape to such views in both novels (The Improvisatore and The Two Baronesses) and fairy tales ("The Snow Queen" and "The Fir Tree"). Nevertheless, Andersen based his idea of growth not on social iden­tity but on concepts of nature, nature often opposed to social order and therefore isolating the individual from an under­standing of him­self as fulfilling his destination in the course of time, in other words: as a historical being.

To Andersen meaning is not so much an insight as a total and in­tense experience of the satisfaction of deep desires.

The focus fixed by Andersen on both this type of experience and on nature leads to the consequence that Andersen isolates with in­creas­ing force the unique moment as the one and only possi­bility of experi­en­cing meaning.

"The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree", "A Story of the Sand-Dunes", "The Marsh King's Daughter", and even "The Little Match Seller" prove the existence and significance of this structure of mind and world in Andersen's works. It is a structure very similar to what is known as the central experiences of mysticism, although Andersen himself was no mystic at all.

But it is also a structure which can be found in later periods of literary history, in symbolism and expressionism, as a token of a modern disillusioned search for metaphysical experience in a world incapable of giving answers.