A positive answer to the above question seems obvious after a critical analysis of the history of the reception of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales and stories in Poland in the second part of the 19th century and in the first part of the 20th century. On the one hand, over a hundred years ago the writer was classified as an author of exclusively children's literature due to intended or unintended misinterpretations of the spirit of his prose. This classification was then inherited by next generations of readers and translators. On the other hand, a huge number of various kinds of mistakes in translation depleted Andersen's unique style. The analysis shows how Andersen's narration was changed to traditional literary style (especially when it came to dialogues); how humour and irony were either overlooked, misunderstood or judged improper for children; how translators miscomprehended Danish grammar and vocabulary; and how little attention was paid to the consistency of the text. The effect is a narration which is 'too sweet' often lengthy, boring, and at times illogical. The analysis compares selected examples from the most recent complete edition of 167 fairy tales and stories translated from Danish by Boguslawa Sochanska (2006) with the previous complete edition (of 155 fairytales and stories) translated from German by Stefania Beylin and Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, whose work has enjoyed high recognition for 50 years. The detailed discussion of mistakes and misunderstandings in Polish translations done from German also illustrates typical difficulties that appear when translating Andersen's prose. Therefore, the article points out similar problems with giving Andersen's prose its proper shape in the most recent Polish edition.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.