Harold Bloom to be Given Hans Christian Andersen Award 2005

Distinguished Yale professor and celebrated literary critic Harold Bloom will receive the Hans Christian Andersen Award 2005 in Odense, Denmark, on April 2 in an event to launch a year–long 200th birthday celebration for the city’s most famous native son and the world’s most beloved story–teller.

The $60,000 award recognizes Bloom’s contribution to understanding the author of “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Little Match Girl,” and “The Little Mermaid” among dozens of fairy tales that have delighted children and adult readers for many generations.

In announcing the award at a press conference in New York last month, HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark credited Bloom for recognizing “the darker, disturbing and demanding aspects of Andersen’s authorship” and commended the critic for including Andersen’s “ The Red Shoes” in his anthology “Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages” (2002).

“By ranking Andersen among the literary geniuses of the 19th–century, such as Dickens and Tolstoy, Professor Bloom casts new light on Andersen’s modern relevance,” the Prince said, referring to the inclusion of a volume on Andersen in the series “Bloom’s Modern Critical Views.” Owing in part to the critical essays Bloom selected and his introduction to them, “the world will get to know the poet in full figure,” the Prince commented.

The Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale, Bloom is the author of more than two dozen books exploring topics from the poetry of Blake, Shelley and Yeats and the literary creative process to biblical interpretation and the nature of genius. His “Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, ” which was a 1998 National Book Award finalist, ranked Bloom beside Samuel Johnson as a high priest of the religion he has named Bardolatry.

Bloom has been a major voice in literary and academic circles for over three decades, ever since publication of his seminal book, “The Anxiety of Influence” (1973). In “The Western Canon” (1994), Bloom provocatively argued for a return of great authors and thinkers of the Western tradition to the college curriculum. The book caught the attention of general readers, challenged prevailing trends and assured Bloom a lasting place in public discourse. Since then the critic has written “How to Read and Why” (2000), “Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds” (2002), “Hamlet: Poem Unlimited”(2003) and “Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?” (2004).

In addition to books and articles, the prolific author has also edited numerous anthologies of poetry and critical essays. The series of which Anderson is the latest addition (published by Chelsea House), consists of close to 150 volumes, ranging alphabetically from “African American Poets” to “Emile Zola.”

Bloom is a MacArthur Prize fellow; a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and the recipient of many awards, including the Academy’s Gold Medal for Criticism. He holds honorary degrees from the universities of Rome and Bologna, and he received the Catalonia International Prize in 2002.

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Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345