Monday, April 24, 2006

Hans Christian Andersen

"To travel is to live!"

Apparently the above is a famous quotation of Hans Christian Andersen. I learned this when I caught the last day of an exhibit entitled "The Greatest Fairy Tale: The Amazing Life and Story of Hans Christian Andersen" at Edinburgh's City Arts Centre on the weekend. It was put together to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth. It was beautifully done, particularly all of the interactive exhibits for children. I didn't have any children with me and so had to gamely attempt the various activities myself. A lot of space was devoted to the intricate paper cutouts that Andersen made as inspiration for or sometimes illustration of his tales. It was marvellous to see not just the cutouts themselves, but one of the little pairs of scissors that he used to make them. Somehow seeing the actual tools used by a writer or an artist always brings home to me the work that they did in a deep way. There were also a number of handwritten manuscripts on display, alongside pages from his diary and so on. I hadn't known how prolific he was -- that he had published novels, travel writing, poems, and an autobiography as well as his famous fairy tales. Is there anyone out there who has read any of his non-fairy tale work?

I left the exhibit determined to track down at least some of Andersen's travel writing if I can. I felt a definite kinship with him over his love of travel. There was another clever quotation that I wish I'd copied down alongside my new motto quoted above. Something to do with his tendency to suffer "abroadsickness" when at home rather than homesickness when away. No homesickness here as I continue to relish my travels!

1 comment:

Dorothy W. said...

Abroadsickness is a great word!