Funen Means Fine: Andersen the Anti-nationalist

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In this chapter, I am presenting the argument that the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, who is often perceived as a proponent of sentimental and national Romanticism, can be said to perform an ironic critique of universalist Romanticism in his writings – primarily his novels O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler (1837). This is done by turning the Danish landscape into a travesty of an idyll through the employment of romantic irony combined with social indignation. Romantic irony is not what one would typically associate with questions of community, nationalism or politics. But I argue that in Andersen’s specific employment of irony, it develops a critique that can be called political in the way that it challenges the nationalist agendas of the Danish Golden Age by questioning its legitimacy. It does so through a debunking of idealism that emphasizes its artificiality, and it often appears through the lens of a social indignation that contrasts with the Golden Age’s cultivation of the national, the idyllic and the harmonious. This is a social indignation that emphasizes the fates of those phenomena and groups of people left out of the worldview created by romantic idealism. Seen like this, Andersen’s work can be said to carry a political undertone that comes across as a discrete critique of the propagandistic uses of art and literature.
TitelHans Christian Andersen and Community
RedaktørerAnne Klara Bom, Jacob Bøggild, Johs. Nørregaard Frandsen
ForlagSyddansk Universitetsforlag
ISBN (Trykt)978-87-408-3220-4
StatusUdgivet - 2019
NavnPublications from the Hans Christian Andersen Center


  • H. C. Andersen
  • nationalisme
  • nationalromantik
  • guldalder
  • Klima
  • natur
  • landskab