The initiative which was taken by the Hans Christian Andersen Center in 1991: to organize an international Hans Christian Andersen Conference, followed by the publication of the conference papers, proved to be such a success that there was basis for a new conference from 29 July to 2 August 1996, this time with 90 participants from 20 countries.

The general theme of the Conference was Digteren i tiden /The Author and His Period. However, papers which were only marginally relevant to this theme were also accepted in some cases.

The proceedings have been long in preparation and this time the volume has become even larger than the preceding one (Andersen og Verden/Andersen and the World, Odense University Press, 1993).

The editors are fully aware that we are reaching a maximum for the size of such a conference volume; however, we regard the growth in the number of participants and countries represented so far, and the consequent increase of the number of papers printed, as a promising sign that the original aim seems to be in sight: to create greater international research interest in Hans Christian Andersen in a number of countries.

The 1996 Conference was entirely conducted in English, and the Conference volume, likewise, is this time in English only.

This, then, is the first international volume with a broad spectrum of views and methodological approaches to Hans Christian Andersen, which can be used as inspiration for the study of Hans Christian Andersen all over the world.

Since the 1996 Conference, it has been agreed that the next international Hans Christian Andersen Conference is to take place in the year 2000 in the USA, at Brigham Young University, Utah. The organizer of this conference will be Professor Steven Sondrup.

After that, the plan is to have a conference in Odense again in the year 2005, on the bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen's birth.

A large number of foundations have made the 1996 Conference possible. The main sponsors were Dronning Margrethe & Prins Henriks Fond, Unibank, Beckett Fonden, Knudsens Fond, Odense Municipality, the Danish Research Council for the Humanities, Tips- og Lottomidlerne, Toyotas Fond and Odense University.

We are extremely grateful to the sponsors for their readiness to help making this Conference possible.

In connection with the publication of the Conference volume, we would like to extend our special thanks to Ms Elsebeth Jensen, who has been responsible for the extensive work with computerizing the more or less impossible manuscripts. Besides, a special thanks is due to the secretary of the Hans Christian Andersen Center, Solveig B. Madsen, who has been responsible for most of the practical work, both at the time of the Conference and during the preparation of the book.

January 1999

Johan de Mylius       Aage Jørgensen       Viggo Hjørnager Pedersen