The eighth volume in the series derives from an MA course in Scandinavian literature entitled ‘Dem Polarlicht auf der Spur. Wissenschaftshistorische und kulturwissen­schaftliche Erkundigungen’, given by Marie-Theres Federhofer at Humboldt University Berlin in 2019. Course participants wrote content summaries of selected texts as part of their exam, some of which were selected for the Aurorae Borealis Studia Classica series. The first student text edited and adapted for publication in the series is by Franziska Runge. She has written about one of the most cherished fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, Sneedronningen (The Snow Queen), first published in 1844 and then reissued with illustrations by Thomas Vilhelm Pedersen in December 1849 (official year of publication: 1850). As demonstrated in Runge’s introduction, Andersen was well aware of the theories of electromagnetism promoted by the physicist Ørsted at precisely this time. Although a Romantic author, Andersen not only endows the aurora with a symbolic role in the narrative, he also alludes to contemporary scientific debates regarding the properties and origin of the phenomenon.

Published: 2020-01-24