Hans Christian Andersen and 'The Little Mermaid': The Shapes of a Fairy Tale with Agnethe Poulsen

Hans Christian Andersen and 'The Little Mermaid': The Shapes of a Fairy Tale with Agnethe Poulsen


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Hans Christian Andersen is world-famous for his fairy tales, and The Little Mermaid is one of his most popular stories. This seminar will explore Hans Christian Andersen’s most enduring fairy tale, from the stories that inspired it to the different ways it has since been reshaped and reimagined.

The Little Mermaid is a story of longing and perseverance, and as such, it is a reshaping of classic fairy tales. Today the story is mostly remembered as a poignant tale of love, yet Andersen likely had a different intention with the fairy tale. We will explore some of the prevalent themes in Andersen’s general work and compare them to the themes in The Little Mermaid. Also touching upon Andersen’s personal life, we will discuss how his own love life – or lack thereof - might have influenced his writing. Additionally, the seminar will examine the different ways in which The Little Mermaid has survived in the public consciousness through numerous adaptations. We will look into some of the most famous adaptations such as the 1989 animated Disney film as well as the famous Copenhagen landmark.

Led by local historian and expert on Danish Literature, Agnethe Poulsen, this interactive seminar will examine Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales through the lens of The Little Mermaid. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the background and themes of the famous fairy tale, along with a knowledge of the many shapes of the beloved mermaid.

Agnethe holds a Master's degree in History from Roskilde University. She makes use of her love of history and storytelling when working as a local guide in Copenhagen.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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