Alice Munro on Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”

This was a few weeks ago, but I am still adding in things I missed while on vacation. From Maria Tatar's Blog, Breezes in Wonderland, just in case you missed this:

Here’s Alice Munro on H.C. Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” In The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, I referred to Claire Bloom’s memoir, Leaving a Doll’s House. There, Bloom confesses that she gave in to the Little Mermaid complex, embracing the view that love meant pain and suffering: “I believe that the stories my mother quite innocently passed on to me, The Snow Queen and The Little Mermaid, so innocently read to me years ago in a sunlit garden, stories of one young girl after another who had sacrificed herself at the altar of romantic love . . . had given me an extremely distorted image of sexual relationships between men and women.”

Alice Munro tells a different story. She read “The Little Mermaid” and was “appalled”: “She didn’t have to be changed to foam on the sea.” And so, Munro made up her own happy ending, because she had to “do something” about what she had found.

I loved hearing that. She is a kindred spirit.



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