Shadow points

Regular price 295,00 kr

Man, nature and materiality in HC Andersen's writing

In his debut book Fodreise from 1829, HC Andersen writes that man is nothing more than a point of shadow on an earth that is just an atom in the great universe. The publication delivers a critique of human arrogance in an ironic tone that makes his contemporaries' human-glorifying tendencies in art, religion and natural philosophy come crashing down. It was a time when questions about man's place in the world and his relationship with his material and natural surroundings were central to art and science. And these are questions whose topicality has only become greater in our times of climate crisis.

The views of man, nature and materiality that arise in HC Andersen's texts are interesting in relation to current philosophical and aesthetic discussions about climate and the environment. Not only because Danish romanticism was a co-creator of the views of nature and humanity that are still landmarks for us, but also because romanticism unfolded alongside the industrialization that set global warming in motion. HC Andersen wrote with a skepticism in relation to human self-aggrandizement, an ambivalence towards romantic glorification of nature and a sensibility towards the material world that seems strikingly relevant in our time.

Shadow points present a chronological reading of selected texts from HC Andersen's writing, which are discussed in relation to romantic philosophy and current theories within ecocriticism, neomaterialism and posthumanism. Thus, the book sheds light on a hitherto unexplored aspect of the authorship, while at the same time anchoring current debates historically and allowing the literary historical perspectives to nuance contemporary theory, which concerns the question of how we understand and represent the increasingly precarious relationship between man, nature and materiality.