«La sensazione di una melanconica positività!». Valuations of the Popular Hans Christian Andersen in Italy

Anne Klara Bom, Torsten Bøgh-Thomsen


The Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) has been an object of research for almost as long as his artistic production has existed. This article places itself within what has been termed the third dimension of Andersen research, as it is examined how people in contemporary Italy value Hans Christian Andersen as a cultural icon. Andersen is conceptualised as a potential medium through which new narratives about values can be told. The analysis shows examples of how Italian respondents in surveys and focus group interviews ‘match’ their socially shared values with the content in Andersen’s fairy tales, and it is suggested that a focus on how canonical literature functions as popular culture and objects of valuation can offer a framework where values can be re-articulated as a response to the global instrumentalisation and economisation of values.

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ISSN: 0039-2952