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“Do you know the land, where the lemon trees bloom?” Hans Christian Andersen and Italy


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For most Scandinavian artists and writers of the 19th century, Italy was the ultimate destination of their travels abroad – located far away, being colourful and romantic, if not outright exotic. Time and again, also the world-famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75) expressed his love for Italy – its culture and innumerable art treasures, its nature and people – as the country of his longing stating that if he could not live in Italy at least he could die there. Being one of the greatest travellers of all time, Andersen, between 1831 and 1873, went abroad 30 times in all, and seven of his journeys took him for a shorter or longer period of time to Italy. Tirelessly, Andersen first by the uncomfortable stage coach and later by train crisscrossed the country from Trento to Naples, from Genoa to Venice and mostly with Rome at the centre of his travel activities. However, he not only enjoyed being a tourist but also learned how to appreciate the arts in general, becoming a rather sophisticated connoisseur. In addition, he found in Italy inspiration for his own writings, an inspiration that turned him away from pure romanticism towards a more realistic approach. When we read Andersen’s autobiographies, travel accounts, diary entries and innumerable letters we find an abundance of references not only to Italy, its cities, nature and works of art, but also to Italian painters, composers, and musicians as well as glowing expressions of his love for Italy, occasionally, however, mixed with strong criticism. This study, the first of its kind, not only analyses this vast material as well as demonstrates how Italy and Italian motifs served as invaluable sources of inspiration for Andersen, but also attempts to sketch a portrait of the restless artist divided between home and abroad, North and South, a portrait which in its intriguing complexity is an attempt better to understand one of the most fascinating writers in world literature.

Sven Hakon Rossel, Educated at the University of Copenhagen with a degree in Comparative Literature in 1968, Sven Hakon Rossel was professor in the Departments of Scandinavian and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington, Seattle, from 1974 to 1996 and  thereafter became Chair of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Vienna. He is a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and has been knighted by the Queen of Denmark. Sven Hakon Rossel has written, co-authored and published 45 books and 150 articles, translated Danish literature into English and German and lectured and taught at universities in Europe, the United States and China. Areas of specialization are medieval ballads and the broadside tradition, Ludvig Holberg, Scandinavian romanticism, emigrant literature, Hans Christian Andersen and Johannes V. Jensen as well as modern Scandinavian literature.

Pagamento sicuro garantito
Peso 0.416 kg
Dimensioni 20 × 14 cm
“Do you know the land, where the lemon trees bloom?” Hans Christian Andersen and Italy
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