"THUMBELINA" /ˌθʌmbəˈliːnə/ (Danish : Tommelise) is a
literary fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen
first published by C. A. Reitzel on 16 December 1835 in
"Thumbelina" is chiefly Andersen's invention, though he did take
inspiration from tales of miniature people such as "
* 1 Plot * 2 Background * 3 Sources and inspiration * 4 Publication and critical reception * 5 English translations * 6 Commentaries
* 7 Adaptations
* 7.1 Animation * 7.2 Live action
* 8 Footnotes * 9 References * 10 External links
In the first English translation of 1847 by
Mary Howitt , the tale
opens with a beggar woman giving a peasant's wife a barleycorn in
exchange for food. Once planted, a tiny girl,
At the last minute,
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Andersen's father died in 1816, and from then on, Andersen was left
to his own devices. In order to escape his poor, illiterate mother, he
promoted his artistic inclinations and courted the cultured middle
class of Odense, singing and reciting in their drawing-rooms. On 4
September 1819, the fourteen-year-old Andersen left Odense for
After three years of rejections and disappointments, he finally found
a patron in Jonas Collin, the director of the Royal Theatre, who,
believing in the boy's potential, secured funds from the king to send
Andersen to a grammar school in Slagelse, a provincial town in west
Zealand, with the expectation that the boy would continue his
At Slagelse, Andersen fell under the tutelage of Simon Meisling, a
short, stout, balding thirty-five-year-old classicist and translator
Fairy tale and folklorists Iona and
Peter Opie have proposed the tale
as a "distant tribute" to Andersen's confidante, Henriette Wulff, the
small, frail, hunchbacked daughter of the Danish translator of
SOURCES AND INSPIRATION
“Thumbelina” is essentially Andersen’s invention but takes
inspiration from the traditional tale of "
PUBLICATION AND CRITICAL RECEPTION
Andersen published two installments of his first collection of Fairy Tales Told for Children in 1835, the first in May and the second in December. "Thumbelina" was first published in the December installment by C. A. Reitzel on 16 December 1835 in Copenhagen. "Thumbelina" was the first tale in the booklet which included two other tales: "The Naughty Boy" and "The Traveling Companion". The story was republished in collected editions of Andersen's works in 1850 and 1862.
The first reviews of the seven tales of 1835 did not appear until 1836 and the Danish critics were not enthusiastic. The informal, chatty style of the tales and their lack of morals were considered inappropriate in children’s literature. One critic however acknowledged "Thumbelina" to be “the most delightful fairy tale you could wish for.”
The critics offered Andersen no further encouragement. One literary
journal never mentioned the tales at all while another advised
Andersen not to waste his time writing fairy tales. One critic stated
that Andersen "lacked the usual form of that kind of poetry and would
not study models". Andersen felt he was working against their
preconceived notions of what a fairy tale should be, and returned to
novel-writing, believing it was his true calling. The critical
reaction to the 1835 tales was so harsh that he waited an entire year
before publishing "
The Little Mermaid
Mary Howitt, c. 1888
Mary Howitt was the first to translate "Tommelise" into English and published it as "Thumbelina" in Wonderful Stories for Children in 1846. However, she did not approve of the opening scene with the witch, and, instead, had the childless woman provide bread and milk to a hungry beggar woman who then rewarded her hostess with a barleycorn.
Charles Boner also translated the tale in 1846 as "Little Ellie" while Madame de Chatelain dubbed the child 'Little Totty' in her 1852 translation. The editor of The Child's Own Book (1853) called the child throughout, 'Little Maja'. H. W. Dulcken was probably the translator responsible for the name, 'Thumbelina'. His widely published volumes of Andersen's tales appeared in 1864 and 1866. Mrs. H.B. Paulli translated the name as 'Little Tiny' in the late-nineteenth century.
In the twentieth century, Erik Christian Haugaard translated the name as 'Inchelina' in 1974, and Jeffrey and Diane Crone Frank translated the name as 'Thumbelisa' in 2005. Modern English translations of "Thumbelina" are found in the six-volume complete edition of Andersen's tales from the 1940s by Jean Hersholt , and Erik Christian Haugaard’s translation of the complete tales in 1974.
For fairy tale researchers and folklorists Iona and Peter Opie,
"Thumbelina" is an adventure story from the feminine point of view
with its moral being people are happiest with their own kind. They
point out that
Maria Tatar sees “Thumbelina” as a runaway bride story
and notes that it has been viewed as an allegory about arranged
marriages, and a fable about being true to one’s heart that upholds
the traditional notion that the love of a prince is to be valued above
all else. She points out that in Hindu belief, a thumb-sized being
known as the innermost self or soul dwells in the heart of all beings,
human or animal, and that the concept may have migrated to European
folklore and taken form as
Andersen biographer Jackie Wullschlager indicates that “Thumbelina” was the first of Andersen's tales to dramatize the sufferings of one who is different, and, as a result of being different, becomes the object of mockery. It was also the first of Andersen's tales to incorporate the swallow as the symbol of the poetic soul and Andersen’s identification with the swallow as a migratory bird whose pattern of life his own traveling days were beginning to resemble.
Roger Sale believes Andersen expressed his feelings of social and
sexual inferiority by creating characters that are inferior to their
The Little Mermaid
Jacqueline Banerjee views the tale as a failure story. “Not
surprisingly,“ she writes, “”Thumbelina“ is now often read as
a story of specifically female empowerment.“ Susie Stephens
The earliest animated version of the tale is a silent, black-and-white release by director Herbert M. Dawley in 1924.
Lotte Reiniger released a 10-minute cinematic adaptation in 1954 featuring her "silhouette " puppets.
Dyuymovochka was a Russian popular animation version from 1964 of a
film studio "
In 1983, a Japanese version was released called Oyayubihime (Princess Thumb); 世界名作童話 おやゆび姫 (Sekai Meisaku Dōwa Oyayubi-hime; World Classic Fairytale Princess Thumb), a Toei Animation anime movie, with character designs by Tezuka Osamu from 1978.
An animated, Japanese series adapted the plot, Thumbelina: A Magical Story (1992) and made it into a movie, released in 1993.
The 2002 direct-to-DVD animated movie, The Adventures of Tom Thumb
In 2005, there was H.C. Andersens eventyrlige verden: Tommelise (2005).
The 2009 direct-to-DVD animated movie,
In 2015, a modernized version of
On June 11, 1985, a television dramatization of the tale was
broadcast as the 12th episode of the anthology series Faerie Tale
Theatre . The production starred
A version of the tale was filmed in 1970 as an advertisement for "Pirates World", a now-defunct Florida theme park. Directed by Barry Mahon and with Shay Garner in the title role, this version was reused in its entirety as filler material for "Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny", a rival to such films as "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and "Manos: the Hands of Fate" for the title of most inept film ever made.
* ^ Wullschlager 2002, p. 165
* ^ Opie 1992 , pp. 221–9
* ^ Wullschlager 2002 , p. 9
* ^ Wullschlager 2002 , p. 13
* ^ Wullschlager 2002 , pp. 25–26
* ^ Wullschlager 2002 , pp. 32–33
* ^ Wullschlager 2002 , pp. 60–61
* ^ Frank 2005 , p. 77
* ^ A B C Frank 2005 , p. 76
* ^ A B C D Opie 1974 , p. 219
* ^ Wullschlager 2000 , p. 162
* ^ Frank 2005 , pp. 75–76
* ^ "Hans Christian Andersen: Thumbelina". Hans Christian Andersen
Center. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
* ^ Wullschlager 2002 , p. 165
* ^ Andersen 2000 , p. 335
* ^ Eastman , p. 258
* ^ Haugaard 1983 , p. 29
* ^ Classe 2000 , p. 42
* ^ Tatar 2008 , pp. 193–194, 205
* ^ Wullschlager 2000 , p. 163
* ^ Sale 1978 , pp. 65–68
* ^ Banerjee, Jacqueline (2008). "The Power of "Faerie": Hans
Christian Andersen as a Children\'s Writer". The Victorian Web:
Literature, History, & Culture in the Age of Victoria. Retrieved
* ^ Stephens, Susie. "The Grotesque in Children’s Literature".
* ^ Siegel 1998 , pp. 123,126
* ^ "
* Andersen, Hans Christian (1983) . The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories. Erik Christian Haugaard (trans.). New York, NY: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-18951-6 . * Andersen, Hans Christian (2000) . The Fairy Tale of My Life. New York, NY: Cooper Square Press. ISBN 0-8154-1105-7 . * Classe, O. (ed.) (2000). Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English; v.2. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. ISBN 1-884964-36-2 . CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * Eastman, Mary Huse (ed.). Index to Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends. BiblioLife, LLC. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * Frank, Diane Crone; Jeffrey Frank (2005). The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen. Durham, NC and London, UK: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3693-6 . * Loesser, Susan (2000) . A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in his Life: A Portrait by his Daughter. New York, NY: Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0-634-00927-3 . * Opie, Iona ; Peter Opie (1974). The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-211559-6 . * Sale, Roger (1978). Fairy Tales and After: From Snow White to E.B. White. New Haven, CT: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-29157-3 . * Siegel, Elaine V. (ed.) (1992). Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Women. New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel, Inc. ISBN 0-87630-655-5 . CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * Wullschlager, Jackie (2002). Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-91747-9 .