Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Fairy Tale of Hans Christian Anderson

Time Line for Hans Christian Anderson
Frances DeRosa

Beloved author of fairytales also wrote poems, travel essays/ books, plays, stories all of which were published but he also wrote 3 autobiographies only one of which were published, one that provides us with a great deal of information today is the true story of my life gives us a window into his poor childhood and issues with social standing that plagued him even into his successes. It was the tragedies more than the pleasantries of his life from which he drew most of his stories, creating a fairytale version of his own life.

1805 Born in Odense Denmark to Hans Anderson a poor cobbler with a very basic education, and Anne Marie Andersdatter and uneducated washerwoman. His father used to read him from The Arabian tales of the thousand and one nights, one of the few books they possessed, which kick started his vivid imagination. He also learned Danish Folk tales in his youth from old women in the spinning room of the insane asylum where his grandmother worked.  Anderson only received a poor education. He was an awkward child tall and lanky that loved writing, singing and dancing and wanted to be an actor.

1816 At age 11 Andersen’s father passes away leaving his family more destitute than before and the boy was sent off to work in the factories where he only lasted a few days

1819 Determined to join the Royal theatre in Copenhagen at the age of 14, he leaves Odense and travels to Copenhagen, there he presents himself to the director, a famous critic, and a prima ballerina and in turn is rejected and told to “go home’. Getting desperate he finds himself on the doorstep of Giuseppe, the director of the Royal Choir School. A friend of the director, C.E.F Weyse a composer happened to be dining with him that day and it was Weyse who took pity on young Andersen who promptly raised enough funds to put him up in a cheap room and to study with the choir director and others connected to the royal theatre.

He was happy to be able to study but his living conditions were rotten, it was one of the city’s most squalid neighborhoods and he often went without meals spending his money on books. As a child in Odense he used to go to the homes of the wealthy and sing to entertain which he did but also at the expense of his awkward appearance, he started this up again in Copenhagen, which paid a little yet, he still often went hungry. The mixture of generosity of and condescension he received would help him later to rewrite the little mermaid. Regardless of his efforts at the age of 17 his voice changed and his gawky psyche proved unsuited to ballet and he was informed that he would have no future on the stage.

 So he focused on his writing but was once again rejected by the Royal theatre but Jonas Collin a court official realized what the others around him did, Andersen was hindered by his lack of education, and Collin decided to solve this problem arranging an educational fund paid by the King of Denmark

1822 Andersen is sent away to Grammar school in Slagelse, where he was six years older that his classmates and the headmaster taught by humiliation and bullying, he could have been straight out of a Dickens novel. He forebode him from creative writing. He endured this for four years and wrote letters to Collins whom had dismissed it as adolescent exaggeration,

1827 Andersen caused enough stir to get him back to Copenhagen, it was at that time that he defied the headmaster and wrote the poem “The Dying Child” it was a poem based on the common 19th century theme but what was striking and even haunting is that the poem is told from the point of view of the child.  This outburst of Andersen’s caused him more abuse and he was finally pulled from the school and brought back to the Collins where he had private tutors. After his return he was treated somewhat as part of the family however he was not fully accepted he was never allowed to forget that he was not a member of the same class.

1829 a year after returning he wrote his first book A walking tour from the Holmen Canal to the Eastern Point of Anger   This was a travel book was not picked up by any publishers so he decided to publish it himself by 29 and the book was a quick hit. It followed a young poet throughout the streets of Copenhagen over the course of a single night.
From this success he writes his first play Love at St Nicolas 'Tower which was also successful, and preformed at the Royal theatre

Though its seemed his goal of being successful for his writing was coming true, his early career was rocky ,
 he received very unsympathetic reviews from the Danish press but he was also getting attention from Germany whose critics seemed to take him seriously.
He was a man who was proud of his talents and raved over his own success, his personal ambition was seen negatively by his society.

1831 he travels to Germany and publishes about his journey and starts to travel in general

1832 he wrote his first autobiography “the book of my life” to show the Collins family but is not published

1833 he is truly orphaned at the age of 27 when his mother dies, His mother who partially inspires the story of the little match girl

 At the age of 29 his first novel The improvisatore is published, as well as the first volume of Eventyr fortalle for Born (fairy tales told for Children)
which included the tinder box, the princess and the pea, little claus and big claus, and  little Ida's flowers

Though his earliest tales were retelling of Danish folk tales these were original tales drawing inspiration from The thousand and one nights from his childhood. It’s impossible to describe the sensation on Andersen's tales that occurred during his time. In Europe children's fiction was in its early days dominated by dull pious tales intended to teach morals. Andersen's tales were written in familiar voice, they spoke warmly and familiarly, never preached, and created earthy tales. Unlike the Grimm's that happened “once upon a time” his tales were set in Copenhagen and other contemporary settings, and he invested magic into ordinary objects and toys giving them personalities an voices.

The stories spoke to children but also had more complex layers for the adults listening in to the tales. Readers were specially affected by the way his tales gave voice to the powerless- the young, the poor, and the very old- as well as imbuing wisdom and connections to the natural world. In the emperor’s new clothes a child displays more wisdom than a king

1837 Third volume of fairy tales is publish, containing “the little Mermaid” and “the Emperor’s new clothes”
Novel only a fiddler published
1838 By the age of 33 the Spector of poverty was gone from his life forever, he was presented with an award by the King of Denmark- an annual stipend for life of 400 rigsdaler about £ 4000 today . He concentrated on his fairy tale works rather that the novels which had supported him till this point. His tales traveled across Europe making him the best know Scandinavian writer of his age. Doors opened to him and he traveled extensively.
He was introduced to Jacob Grimm but ran away mortified when Grimm has said he had never hear of his stories. Wilhelm Grimm who had read them sought him out in Copenhagen and they became friends

Anderson was also friends with Charles Dickens for a short time, and stayed over at his home in 1847 though he spoke barley any English which proved him to be a needy guest. At the time dickens’ marriage was about to collapse which Andersen did not pick up on. This led Dickens to place a sign on the guest room after he left
 Hans Christian Anderson slept in this room for five weeks but
To the family it felt like ages.
Dickens sneered that in English he was the deaf and dumb this coupled with the fact that translations of his tales into English were poor since they had been translated in haste from German they were less sweet, simpler, less comic and ironic
The lack of sophistication lead him have a reputation of writing tales only for children in England. He was portrayed as naive like he is in the film by Danny Kaye, yet he himself railed against the notion that he wrote for children when they wanted to erect a statue of him surrounded by small children
“ I said loud an clear I was dissatisfied, my tales were just as much for older people as for children, who only understand the outer trappings and did not comprehend and take in the whole work until they mature- that naiveté was only part of my tales”

Anderson never married and only courted two women in his life one of them being a daughter of a school mate and the other Jenny Lind a singer
In 1843 he courts her to no success
 he publishes The New Fairy tales which includes “the ugly duckling, and the Nightingale

1846 he receives the Knighthood of the Red Eagle from King Friedrich Wilhelm 4 of Prussia

1855 He publishes the third autobiography he writes ‘ The fairy tale of my life,’

1859 awarded the Maximilian order or art an since from king Maximillian the second of Bavaria

1867 Anderson returns to Odense for a visit and is met with fanfare as well as being awarded the Freedom of the city of Odense

1872 His final volume of stories is published and suffers the first symptoms of liver cancer

Anderson dies in 1875 but his tales live on well into today inspiring the art and writing of countless others including the fairy tales of Oscar Wilde.

“My life is a lovely story, happy and full of incident. If, when I was a boy, and went forth into the world poor and friendless, a good fairy had met me and said, "Choose now thy own course through life, and the object for which thou wilt strive, and then, according to the development of thy mind, and as reason requires, I will guide and defend thee to its attainment," my fate could not, even then, have been directed more happily, more prudently, or better.”
The True Story of my Life
Hans Christian Andersen

For further information on Hans Christian Anderson and Fairy tales, I suggest essays by Terri Windling

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ruskin: “ The artist is uniquely qualified to fulfill the prophetic role since the imagination, using allegory and symbolism based on a painstaking study of nature, could offer profound insights into the nature of God.”  Hidden Burne-Jones, 10.
Ruskin encouraged Medievalism—design and Nature. 12.Ru
Ruskin, “constant art” that moves and uplifts by means of symbolism and beautiful and serene forms” 15.

Tate Introductions: Pre-Raphaelites, Jason Rosenfeld.
Group of seven young men who first formed the PRB in September of 1848. John Everett Millais (star student at RA), aspiring painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Stephens, James Collinson, and eventually Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris.
PR refers to an interest in European art dating to before the “Raphaelites” or followers of the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael (1480-1520). Interest in the work of medieval frescos, Hans Holbein, Jan van Eyck , and Fra Angelico, none of whom were favored by the RA. RA emphasized study of classical works from  Ancient Greece and Rome, Raphael, Michelangelo, and later Baroque masters.
PR represented an early avant-garde English art group and came from working middle class families. The expanding Victorian middle class, esp the upwardly mobile in the industrial and commercial circles,  it’s interest in literature and art, and the rise of a national critical press that made art reviews widely accessible offered the PR a previously unheard of opportunity for exposure and patronage.

10: Early PR works such as Millais, “Isabellas,” and Rosetti’s “Girlhood of Mary Virgin,” emphasize PR attention to medieval aesthetics: “sharpness of the forms, emphasis on building composition through planes parallel to the surface of the picture, sense of measured movement and intimate glances….period costume and minute details.” They lack the deep shading and careful modeling of light to dark typical since the Baroque era.
Contrast John Roger Herbert’s Our Savior Subject to His Parents at Nazareth (1847) with Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents. Charles Dickens objected to the ugly naturalistic realism. John Ruskin wrote in the PR defense, celebrating their defiance of pictorial conventions, their embrace of Nature, and their historic details. (13, 14).

Millais’s Ophelia and Hunt’s  The Hireling Shepherd demonstrate PR interest in painting out of doors, directly from Nature.
Acted on Ruskin’s advice in Modern Painters: “Go to nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having no other thoughts but how best to penetrate her meaning, and remembering her instruction; rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning nothing.”

PR dissolved in 1853 and their work was widely accepted by 1860s. The individual artists went on to pursue their own distinctive style and subjects. Shift in the 1860s from social, moral, and religious problems, and increased focused on the senses, exploring the possibilities  of color, texture, and design. (23). The idea of “Art for Art’s Sake” became the new focus and the heart of the PR consisted of Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, and William and Jane Morris. Sensuous flesh, fabric, and sex appeal become dominant themes. (23).  Further personal development of idiosyncratic interests and techniques. Much of what is though of as PR in the popular imagination actually dates from this later period and not from the initial founding principals of the PRB.
Beata Beatrix—1864-1870, Rossetti, Astarte Syriaca, 1877
Autum Leaves, Millais
Burne-Jones, The Golden Stairs, 1880, The Doom Fulfilled, 1888.
Morris, 1890, News from Nowhere

English Serial Killers of the 19th Century

English Serial Killers of the 19th Century

A serial killer is a person who has killed three or more people over a period of more than a month. Usually a serial killer's motive for taking multiple lives lies in psychological, sexual or ritualistic gratification. The killer usually targets victims with at least one similar characteristic, whether it be their occupation, race, gender or appearance. Psychoanalysts and fore sic specialists have identified common characteristics among serial killers such as low IQ, inability to maintain a job, abusive history from family members and more. However, these observations are far too general and there are frequent exceptions. Society's inability to successfully categorize serial killer personalities has allowed these horror stories to reoccur time and time again. Serial killers have fascinated as well as terrorized society throughout human history. Some of the most prolific and notorious serial killers were found in England during the 19th century. 
Possibly the most infamous serial killer of the 19th century is the killer who became known as Jack the Ripper. Jack the Ripper's murders took place in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. There is an unusually large amount of speculation concerning the number of victims who were actually killed by The Ripper. Many murders in the same area were assumed to be by the hand of Jack the Ripper, but it cannot be proven. There are five known victims known today as "the canonical five". Their names were Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. These five murders were undoubtedly committed by the same hand. The women all worked the streets of London as prostitutes. Each woman had deep gashes in their throats and deep, violent abdominal punctures and slashes. The media sensationalism surrounding the events only creating more panic among the citizens of Whitechapel. A series of letters were sent to government officials and journalists claiming to have been written by the killer who identified himself as "Jack the Ripper". There is a great deal of skepticism surrounding these letters. Some academics and various serial killer enthusiasts proposed that the letters were a haux put on by pranksters or journalists themselves in hopes to sell more news papers. Some of these letters however, such as the "From Hell Letter" were accompanied by organs belonging to the victims, which to some, authenticated the legitimacy of the letters. The identity of the killer has yet to be discovered which only adds to the sensation of his (or her) crimes. In addition to the killer's anonymity, the gruesome nature of his murders continues to shock and interest society today. 
There were literally hundreds of suspects in the case of Jack The Ripper. Any petty thief or sexual deviant was under scrutiny by the authorities and the media. Other suspects were convicted murders of separate, but equally serious crimes; one of these suspects being George Chapman. Chapman was a serial killer who became known as the Borough Poisoner after poisoning at least three women using an acid called tartar-emetic which ensured that his victims face a painful death. His three known victims were named Mary Spink, Bessie Taylor and Maud Marsh. They were all murdered between 1897 and 1902. What is unusual about his crime is the lack of motive. He did not gain anything from taking the lives of these three women so it is assumed his motives were psychological and not financial. 
Another suspect in the case of Jack the Ripper is Thomas Neill Cream. Similarly to Chapman, he poisoned his victims.He has ten known victims. His first victim was his mistress who he had convoked to chance her will in his favor. He was convicted and sentenced to life in jail, but his brother was able to bail him out. After that he fled to Chicago where he performed alleyway abortions and other illegal operations that claimed the lives of four more individuals and he went on to poison five prostitutes. After trying to frame two reputable local doctors for his crimes, he was eventually found out and sentenced to hanging. His last words before being hung were "I am Jack the…." It is unknown whether his confession was truthful or an attempt for fame after his death. 
Although most serial killers are men, female serial killers have proven to be equally as notorious and disturbing as their male counterparts. Case studies of female serial killers have evidence that suggest that women are more likely to kill people who are close tho them in an emotional rage or for marital gain, unlike male serial killers who are known to kill strangers for more psychological reasons. Female serial killers during the victorian era often earned the title of a "Black Widow" in reference to the spider's tendency to kill their mates.
One notable female serial killer of the 19th century was Mary Ann Cotton. Cotton poisoned at least 18 individuals by poisoning them with arsenic between 1852 and 1870. She poisoned all 12 of her children, three of her husbands, a lover, a friend and her mother. She claimed that they all died of gastric fever and she would relocate all around England to avoid suspicion. She would collect the insurance money from her husbands which added up to about half a year's earnings for each husband. She settled in Southern England with her one surviving son, Charles where she works as a nurse. She raised the suspicion of her boss when she asked him to give her son a job to keep him occupied and out of the way, when he denied her request she responded "I won’t be troubled long. He’ll go like all the rest of the Cottons." When Charles died of a "stomach fever" just days later, Cotton's boss alerted authorities. After an investigation of Cotton's background and discovering seventeen additional cases of spontaneous gastric fever, Mary Ann Cotton was arrested and sentenced to death. During her execution, onlookers sang a nursery rhyme named after Mary Ann Cotton.
One of the most prolific serial killers of the 19th century happened to be a woman. Her name was Amelia Dyer. Amelia took advantage of the trend "baby farming" to try and scheme mothers out of their money. Baby farming was an adoption-like process that was frequently practiced by prostitutes or mistresses who wanted their pregnancies and children to be a secret. They would pay a nominal fee to essential abandon their child in the hands of a stranger in exchange for secrecy. Amelia Dyer would accept these children and assure their safety to their mothers, but then would go on to neglect the children until they died. In order to get more children and more money, Amelia Dyer decided that it would be more efficient to murder the children instead of allowing them to die of neglect. Amelia was discovered when the body of a baby was found in a river wrapped in packaging that geared her address. She was executed for her crimes in 1896. Some even suspect that Amelia Dyer may have been Jack the Ripper but to her size and sociopathic tendencies. 
With the rise of violent crime and sensationalism in the media it was clear that forensic science and investigative techniques needed to evolve. Alphonse Bertillon developed anthropometry with was a method of documenting and organizing files of criminals. Anthropometry called for the measurements of criminals such as arm span and shoe size. This information was particularly helpful in identifying repeat offenders. A version of his methods is still used today. In addition to his invention of anthropometry, he also invented the classic mugshot to help further identify criminals and repeat offenders and provide justice for victims and their loved ones.