Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

See also Intermediate state, To die and go to heaven

Description of this motif: Transformation is a core concept of Johan de Mylius' understanding of both the life and the ouevre of Hans Christian Andersen, cf. among others the book Forvandlingens pris ('The Price of Transformation', 2004). The concept does not only refer to a theme, but also to the aesthetics, in Mylius' book. The existential-religious categori transformation takes place in the moment of death, both crucial concepts in Mylius' view on the oeuvre. The concepts are elaborated in an earlier article: The Moment – a Structure of Mind and World in Hans Christian Andersen's Poetic Writings.

Example :

The Alps seemed to him like the folded wings of the earth; what if they were to unfold themselves and display their varied pictures of black woods, foaming waters, clouds, and great masses of snow! On the last day, he thought, the world will lift up its mighty wings and mount upward to God, to burst like a soap bubble before the glance of the Highest.

"Ah," he sighed, "that that last day were here now!"

Comment on this quote: Judgment Day is a rare motif in Andersens oeuvre, and it is in this case only Knud's wish. A wish for death and being freed from this cruel world (he suffers from heartache over a woman). The thought of the world rising to God on wings and its bubble-like bursting in the light of God is significant. It resembles especially The Old Oak Tree's Last Dream (1858), but also The Comet (the "future bubbles" of soap and later on the old man's "bubbles of memories") and The Little Mermaid's transformation via 'death' in foam on the sea.