The first English language biographer to have returned to the original Danish sources, Wullshlager creates a fascinating picture of Andersen as a deeply troubled man, as far from Danny Kaye's all-singing version as it is possible to imagine. Desperately sensitive, sexually confused and socially awkward, Andersen found grace and acceptance through the creation of a distinct and beguiling literary world, becoming, as was once said of Tolkien, 'the creative equivalent of a people'. Wullschlager's achievement is to demonstrate the unity of his troubled life and and the soaring achievement of his work. He appears in this biography more various and more flawed, but also more convincing and more impressive, than ever before.
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Jackie Wullschlager is Deputy Literary Editor of the FT, and one of their principal reviewers. Her last book was INVENTING WONDERLAND: THE LIVES AND FANTASIES OF LEWIS CARROLL, EDWARD LEAR, JM BARRIE.Review:
"In my view it is the best book ever written about Hans Christian Andersen. If someone had asked me a couple of months ago which biography of Andersen was the best I would immodestly have said my own work, but today I would answer that the best book is the one written by Jackie Wullschlager. Not only is is a fuller and more comprehensive biography, but it is the first book ever to place Andersen in a contemporary European tradition and to measure him with a European yardstick." —Elias Bredsdorff, Emeritus Professor of Scandinavian Languages at Cambridge
"[T]his spring, Knopf will publish a biography by Jackie Wullschlager, a writer for the London Financial Times, which may add to the few reliable studies available in English, the most notable of which is Elias Bredsdorff's . . ." —Diana and Jeffrey Frank, The New Yorker
"Finely documented and insightful . . . Jackie Wullschlager's account . . . is a delight . . . her work gives off a classic sparkle. It will bring joy . . . "
-George Steiner, Observer
"Splendid . . . authoritative . . . gracefully written [and] meticulously referenced . . . will encourage many readers to revisit an author who undoubtedly deserves serious critical attention."
-Christina Hardyment, Financial Times
"Intensively researched and elegantly written."
-Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times
"Deals brilliantly with the whole man."
-Melanie McDonagh, Daily Telegraph
"Told with thoroughness and sympathy . . . [a life] as peculiar, fascinating and painful as any of his celebrated fairy tales."
-Rosemary Ashton, Sunday Telegraph
"An extraordinarily accomplished biography, both intellectually rigorous and emotionally wise . . . fascinating . . . Wullschlager wears her learning lightly but still we are left feeling we are in the hands of an expert guide."
-Kathryn Hughes, Literary Review
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Book Description Penguin, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 552 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk014028320X
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Book Description Penguin UK, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11014028320X