The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, Hardback Book
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


In her most ambitious annotated work to date, Maria Tatar celebrates the stories told by Denmark's "perfect wizard" and re-envisions Hans Christian Andersen as a writer who casts his spell on both children and adults. Andersen's most beloved tales, such as "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Little Mermaid," are now joined by "The Shadow" and "Story of a Mother," mature stories that reveal his literary range and depth.

Tatar captures the tales' unrivaled dramatic and visual power, showing exactly how Andersen became one of the world's ten most translated authors, along with Shakespeare, Dickens, and Marx.

Lushly illustrated with more than one hundred fifty rare images, many in full color, by artists such as Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen will captivate readers with annotations that explore the rich social and cultural dimensions of the nineteenth century and construct a compelling portrait of a writer whose stories still fascinate us today.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 496 pages, 146 illustrations including colour
  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Children's literature studies: general
  • ISBN: 9780393060812



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Whether you're a fan of Hans Christian Andersen, or whether you find his tales moralistic and depressing, it's hard to deny the impact he's had on modern culture and fantasy. This is a beautifully designed volume; the annotations are marginal, so there's no flipping back and forth, and they provide a lot of insight into the background of the stories. The volume is gorgeously illustrated with reproductions of the illustrations that originally accompanied the various stories. There's also biographical information about Andersen, as well as short biographical sketches of the artists who most famously illustrated his works.

Review by

This is my 5th Norton Annotated book and I really had high expectations. Sadly the magic of Andersen got lost somewhere. Maybe it's the annotations which decode and de-construct Andersen, ironically the very thing he warned about it in "The Snow Queen". Perhaps it was the random pile of images with no consistent view, often showing the same scene from multiple artists with radically different perspectives, diluting the minds eye. Perhaps it was the new translation that has lost some of its 19th century feel. Perhaps it is Tatar's own admission that she was never that fond of Andersen. Perhaps it is my own realization as an adult re-reading these tales for the first time since childhood that they are not as good as I remember. Perhaps it was learning about Andersen who seems a bit weak. With all that said, this is a wonderfully produced book as are all the Norton series I would not hesitate to buy another, it is very generous in what is provided, I don't think anything else like it exists for Andersen. The determined reader will learn a lot about what the stories mean and find new perspectives and appreciations for these classic stories.