Familiar Stranger: Hans-Christian Andersen - Andersen Hans Christian

Essays on literary works - 2023

Familiar Stranger: Hans-Christian Andersen
Andersen Hans Christian

So we live in the third millennium, once unthinkable and unattainable. And soon our grandchildren, and even more so their children and grandchildren, will, if not talk, then think about us, not yet at all old, like dinosaurs: they were born so long ago, back in the last millennium ... It's funny to think that my children will become, perhaps such\"dinosaurs \". And romantic stories will be written about where, who and how met the year 2000 ... And we will fast forward over a hundred years ago. On New Year's Eve on the eve of 1900, the future writer Konstantin Paustovsky, then an eight-year-old boy, sat under the tree and read the fairy tales of Hans-Christian Andersen. Since then, the old storyteller, who only a quarter of a century before lived in little Denmark, who loved and, like no one else, understood sad children and unhappy adults, for life became his friend and favorite writer. At that time, little Paustovsky thought that Andersen was still alive and he was worried about the question: does Andersen also love those who do not know Danish and live far from Denmark? (Lev Adolfovich Ozerov once told me about this, according to the writer himself, in Palanga.) Maybe storytellers don't actually grow old and die? Whoever tried to unravel the mystery of the eternal charm and vitality of Andersen's fairy tales, whoever wrote about him, but no one did it better than Paustovsky. Nevertheless, it turned out that even Paustovsky did not know something about Andersen. How many fairy tales by Andersen has he read? How much have we read? 48-50? So much is usually collected in a collection. But it turns out he wrote over 200 of them! According to other sources, even 256! In different sources - different numbers, but much more, than translated into Russian. He wrote both poetry and plays, mostly tragedies, but also vaudeville, and travel essays about numerous travels. Less well known is that he wrote his autobiography three more times, and each version was brighter and happier. Apparently, he was not only tired of suffering, but he was even tired of thinking and remembering the sufferings of childhood and youth. In the 70s of the twentieth century in Denmark - and Paustovsky did not know this: he died in 1968 - all Andersen's diaries were published - 12 volumes! How can you write 12 volumes about yourself? But we are talking about an extraordinary person. And on the 200th anniversary of the writer's birth, in 2005, a book was published that says that he still hid something. But we won't talk about what we don't know. Let's reason: there are no TVs, no movies, no radio. Even there are no planes - no matter how much you want to, you can’t fly anywhere. And what is left? - read, dream, ride in a stagecoach, invent different stories and write them down. So Andersen lived his whole life, all his seventy years. He didn’t travel particularly far, well, to Sweden, Italy, England, but fantasy could take him to very distant and absolutely heavenly places ... In addition to books and the mentioned diaries, thousands of his letters to different people remained. Thousands! What a pity that they are not translated into Russian. Or maybe, while I am writing this, they are already being translated? Andersen did not immediately begin to write his famous fairy tales. At first he was going to be an actor. Then a playwright, a poet, a novelist. But it was his oral stories that were a success with everyone, whether children or adults. He didn't like the word\"fairy tale\", but preferred\"story\" or even better\"story\". And he began to write them down. And it was they who brought him worldwide fame. In Russia, the first four-volume collected works were published in 1864, during the life of the writer. He knew about it. The most complete edition is still the five-volume edition translated by A. and P. Hansen in 1895. Andersen has been translated and published for more than one hundred and fifty years. However, most often these are already familiar compositions. And many we still do not know, because they have not been translated into Russian. Even about his life, not everything is told. It will probably be strange for you to hear what I want to tell you now. Based on fragments from Andersen's little-known works and on the facts of his autobiography, we have the right to judge the special attitude of the writer we love and so familiar to everyone to the Jewish people, its traditions, its culture.1 Andersen's story "Jewish girl" has never been translated into Russian. I'll try to retell it. The girl Sarah studied at a Christian school for the poor. During her religion classes, she was allowed to do other things, such as geography or arithmetic. But Sarah was just very fascinated by stories about the Bible. By asking questions, she showed good knowledge of the subject. The reaction of the teachers was unexpected. The girl's father was told, "If you want your daughter to stay in our school, she must become a Christian." And this is what, according to Andersen, the father answered: “I confess that I myself am not very pious and even little versed in the Jewish religion. But my wife observed all the laws of our ancestors and, before her death, made me promise that our girl would never cross to another faith. I promised her, and God is my witness." A few years later, Sarah became a governess in a wealthy household. The hosts were believers, Protestants, as befits the Danes. On Sundays, they went to the church, which stood nearby, and Sarah listened to the sounds of Sunday hymns and prayers coming from there. They attracted not only her ears, but also her heart. Andersen writes: \"Her hair was black as ebony, and her eyes sparkled with a special brilliance inherent in the daughters of the East. She read only the Old Testament - the heritage of her people and the treasury of knowledge about it. She was present at the teacher's conversation with her father, as a result of which she was The fact that the mother, before her death, asked that their daughter not betray the faith of her ancestors made a very strong impression on her ... One evening, the owner of the house read to his family "Lives of the Saints". but Sarah, their maid and governess, listened most attentively, sitting in a corner. Everything she listened to, she saw in pictures. Tears filled her black glittering eyes. Her heart fluttered, as in childhood, at school, when she listened to New Testament stories. And now tears streamed down her cheeks. \" The internal conflict is becoming unbearable. But Sarah does not compromise her principles. In the next passage, an additional aspect appears - the theme of anti-Semitism. Andersen knew suffering: he was humiliated so often and much for his poor origin (his father was a semi-poor shoemaker, his mother was a washerwoman), for ugliness, for all sorts of oddities that we today consider virtues, for example, for the ability to talk with things and crickets, that he could not help but sympathize with others. The writer cites such an internal monologue of Sarah: "It is forbidden, for my girl to be baptized" (my mother's words before her death), and her whole being echoes the words "Honor your father and your mother." \"No, I never get baptized! When I stood in front of the entrance to the church, looking at the illuminated altar from a distance and listening to prayer singing, the son of our neighbors called out to me, and with such a mockery: “Jew!” Yes, it’s true, since the time when I was in school, and to this day, church singing and prayers excite me. They are the power of the sun. Even when I close my eyes, its rays penetrate my heart. But I will not betray you, mother, I will not deceive you. I will live according to the laws of my father's God. "Meanwhile, Sarah's masters have gone bankrupt and can no longer pay her a salary. She has nowhere to go, and she remains with them and continues to serve them faithfully, not receiving a penny for it. Time passes, she dies master of the house. At the request of his widow, now Sarah herself reads to her from "The Life of the Apostles". And the girl again embraces the forgotten excitement. The narrative ends in the spirit of a classic Christmas story, with a strong chord, but quite Andersen: "Mommy, your daughter was not baptized. For Christians, she was and remains a Jew. The promise given to you by your father in this world has not been broken. Everything is according to your will. Yes, but isn’t it more important to do the will of God? He visits the earth, turns it into a desert, and then turns it into a flowering garden ... After all, this is the work of Christ! all over her body, horror seized her and she fell face down, becoming paler than her sick mistress, for whom she had just read aloud ... "\" "Poor Sarah," said the people. She did not spare herself in caring for others. She was taken to a hospital for the poor, where she died. She was not buried in the consecrated part of the cemetery; there was no place for a Jewish girl there; she was given a grave outside the church cemetery, quite under the fence. \"But when the divine sunlight shines on Christian graves, it sends a ray on the lonely grave of Sarah, a poor Jewish girl\". Here is the strange story Andersen came up with. His young girlfriend's name was Sarah Hayman. Her fate was not very happy, perhaps when he wrote, he thought about her. Andersen, a believing Christian at heart, was far from the official church. This is not his only story related to the Jewish theme, but it especially tangible is the respect with which the great Hans-Christian Andersen treated the Jewish religion and the Jewish commitment to their tradition. Curious variations of this theme can be traced in the story "Only a violinist" and in two of his novels. One is called\"To be or not to be?\". It contains a whole series of theological dialogues between the restless, unstable in his faith Niels and the Jewess Esther, who not only accepts baptism herself, but also returns Nils himself to the bosom of his own religion. For us, the conflict between Esther’s grandfather and herself is instructive, as Andersen comprehends and describes it: “Grandfather cannot understand her feelings and is not able to talk with her on this topic. He hoped to heal her of the ideas that had brought disharmony into their family. He was proud of the people of Israel, who, despite centuries of persecution, remained a special people, chosen by the Almighty - great both in mercy and in anger \". In the novel \"Happy Peer \" his hero, like the heroes of many of Andersen's works, is endowed with autobiographical features of the author himself. A peer is a poor young man who, before becoming a famous opera singer, goes through many trials and humiliations. And in his life, as in the life of Andersen himself, a person appears who with delicacy supports him both morally and financially. Andersen's friend is discussed ahead, and Peer has a new music teacher. One day this teacher reveals a secret to the young man: he is a Jew! Of course, he could rise up the social ladder if he agreed to be baptized, but he refused this opportunity, and although he himself does not follow religious instructions, he is convinced that the religion of his ancestors is not changed. Now let's ask a question: What made Andersen so interested in Jews and the Jewish religion? Where? Why? Suppose he knew and loved the Bible since childhood. But this circumstance still does not explain anything. Known sympathy for all the unfortunate and persecuted? Undoubtedly. But, most likely, the secret lies in his biography. Throughout his life, most of those who extended a helping hand to him were Jews. The names of these people are known: Carstens, Collin, Henriks, Melchior. But if some of them are named in the literature in Russian, nowhere is it said that they are all Jews. Isn't it logical then to assume that the Jewish theme in his works is to some extent a grateful tribute to the Jewish families who supported the writer and helped him. Do you remember the book by Irina Muravyova\"Andersen\" in the series \"Life of Remarkable People\"? Probably, many of you still have it on your shelf today. It was first published in 1959 and quickly sold out, and has been reprinted many times since then. The author, Irina Ignatievna Muravyova, passed away in 1961, before the second edition was released, before reaching the age of forty. Muravyova knew not only German and French, but also Danish, was familiar with Andersen's letters and diaries, not to mention the works of researchers of the life and work of the writer, and her book is poetic and bright. One could say that it is both truthful and reliable, if not for one small circumstance. Here is one example: \"Summer passed, the storks flew across the sea to the pyramids, and a blizzard howled in the deserted fields. This winter, Hans-Christian ... went to school. When his mother brought him here for the first time, he was rather chickened out, because already knew which is not always good at school. He gained this sad experience while attending a small private school for girls, where the old widow of a glover taught to read in syllables with a rod ...\". since there were no places in the city school for the poor either, she took him to Mr. F. Carstens. This \"small circumstance \" is consistently omitted, thrown out of the text, and precisely because F. Carstens himself was a Jew, and his the school was Jewish. Yes, Hans-Christian Andersen studied at a Jewish school - here it is, the first secret, and I have no doubt that Irina Ignatievna knew it. However, I cannot suspect her of dislike for Jews: she herself was married twice Muravyova was more of a Judophile and certainly not a Judeophobe but in the 50s to write that the great Danish storyteller studied at a Jewish school, that among those who helped him all his life there were many Jews, she could not, her book, most likely, would not have seen the light of day ... Therefore, she had to be silent. The fact that young Andersen witnessed the Jewish pogrom in Copenhagen, Irina Muravyova could not have known. In Andersen's autobiography, published in English,2 the writer recalls his visit to Copenhagen. This was in 1819. He is fourteen. And he is alone in a strange city. Here is his entry in his diary: \"In the evening, on the eve of my arrival, there was a Jewish quarrel (Andersen did not know the word\"pogrom \"), which spread to many European countries. There are riots in the city, the streets are full of people. Noise, panic, commotion - it was much more than my imagination, talked to him and took him for walks with his sons. talked to him and took him for walks with his sons. Andersen greatly valued Carstens' sympathy for him, which he so needed. And in his mature years, Andersen did not forget his good friend. Having become famous, he continued to write letters to him, sent his books and visited him when he was in Odense, the city where the writer spent his childhood. From individual passages of his writings it is clear that Andersen understood Jewish customs, knew the laws of the Jewish religion. And although in his autobiography there is also a portrait of an unsympathetic Jew, an untidy-looking random fellow traveler who talks incessantly and sprinkles jokes, or a description of the atmosphere that horrified him in one of the Roman synagogues - instead of quiet religious ecstasy, he saw there gesticulating and talking loudly with each other people, \" but I sadly noted that I do not see here the sons of the people who gave us Mendelssohn, Halevi and Meyerbeer, whose brilliant musical compositions we listen to today. I did not meet a single Jew in the hall. When I expressed my bewilderment about this, then, to my shame - oh, if my ears deceived me! - I heard in response that Jews were not allowed to enter here. I was left with a heavy impression of the humiliation of a person by a person, of the horrific injustice that prevails in society, religion and art \". The sharpness of this reaction can be understood, remembering the cordial closeness and many years of friendship with Jewish families: he saw the problem as if from the inside. At first was F. Karstens.Then Edward and Jonas Collin appeared, they not only helped the young playwright get an education in Copenhagen, they got him a royal scholarship to study at the Latin School, but they also took on numerous troubles and expenses for arranging his life. Without the advice and help of the strict but caring Mr. Edward Collin, Hans-Christian did not make a single decision for many years, although he sometimes complained about the stiff atmosphere in the Collins' house and the cool attitude towards his work. But he always knew what he owed to this family. And then two new families entered his life - Hendrix and Melchior. He especially loved the hospitable home of the Melchiors. There was nothing to hide here, here they were sympathetic to his past, in which there were grief, and cold, and hunger. These noble people were able to appreciate his talent and fell in love with him as if they were their own. Representatives of this venerable family still live in Denmark. In the Brief Jewish Encyclopedia in Russian, I did not find a mention of the name Melchior, but in the 1987 Hebrew encyclopedia and in English \" Judaica\" I read: \"Melchior is a Jewish family in Denmark. The head of the family, Moshe Melchior, arrived from Hamburg in Copenhagen in 1750. He achieved success and fame in the leather and tobacco trade. His son Gershon and grandson Moritz expanded the firm, and Moritz became a member of the Danish Parliament. He was a friend of Hans-Christian Andersen. In 1852 he was elected head of the Jewish community in Denmark. He died in 1884. Nine years after Andersen's death. Another member of the Melchior family, Markus, was the chief rabbi of Denmark from 1947 to 19694). He also translated Sholom Aleichem into Danish. And his son Bent became a rabbi ... One of The offspring of this family, Michael Melchior, lives in Israel and takes part in political and public life.As Minister for Diaspora Affairs, he visited Russia and Ukraine. Now let's return from the twenty-first century to the nineteenth, to Andersen and Moritz Melchior. Moritz and his family surrounded Hans-Christian with such love and warmth of heart that he speaks about this more than once or twice in his diaries and letters. After the death of first Edward, then Jonas Collin, whose house was Andersen's for many years, almost from the day he arrived in Copenhagen, he awards the Melchior house with the definition \"Home of homes\" - the best of houses. In this house he spent the last years of his life and died here. From Andersen's autobiography: \"On my birthday, April 2 (year 1866, he is already 61 years old), my room is decorated with flowers, paintings, books. Music sounds and greetings sound in my honor. I am in the house of my friends - the Melchior family. The spring sun is shining outside, and I feel the same warmth in my heart. I comprehend the past and understand how great the happiness that I was awarded \". Almost until the end of his life, even when Andersen was already ill, he wrote his diary. And when he could not write, he began to dictate, and the mistress of the house, Dorothea Melchior, wrote down , or her two daughters. In the last week of his life, from July 28 to August 4, 1875, he could no longer dictate. Dorothea Melchior herself wrote: "Wednesday. August 4th. Andersen has been sleeping since ten at night. And now it's 10 o'clock in the morning. He is still dozing and I think he has a fever. At night, he coughed ... He did not have the strength to put the bowl with the rest of the porridge back in place, and the porridge spilled onto the blanket. Yesterday, after the departure of Dr. Meyer, Hans-Christian said to me: "The doctor is going to return in the evening - this is a bad omen." I reminded him that the doctor had been coming to him for two weeks in a row, twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. My words calmed him. And then the light went out. Death is like a gentle kiss! At 11:55, our dear friend sighed for the last time...\" (And on the Internet site peoples.ru I read:\"Andersen died all alone at his Villa Rolighead\"...) In his adolescence, Andersen promised his mother to become famous, and when he became one, he could not believe it. Once he was given a great honor: he was invited to the palace of the Duke of Weimar. From a letter to a friend Henrietta Wulf: "I was received very warmly. And then, on the train, the following happened. And this is not the first time. When people find out that I am a Dane, they immediately list my famous countrymen - Thorvaldsen the sculptor, Elenschleger the poet and Oersted the physicist ... And I sadly say: \"