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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Darwin

I recently purchased a couple of bound volumes of "The Review of Reviews"
The "review" was like a modern newspaper that was edited by W.T.Stead who many regard as the pioneer in investigative journalism.
He was regarded as a somewhat controversial figure and perished in the sinking of the Titanic.
The "Review" is none the less an amazing resource on the history of the 1890's and thereabouts.
I came across an article about a person who had spent some personal time with Hans Christian Andersen the famous storyteller from Denmark.
The columns mention Andersen's thoughts on Charles Darwin's theories which were very much in the news in those days as they still are.
According to what I have read Andersen was an Evangelical Lutheran Christian.
His thoughts I believe echo many of today's Christians regarding the Evolution v Creation debate.
I have transcribed part of the article below as it appears in the Review of Reviews 1892 Australasian Edition, January to December .

"Hans Christian Andersen.

In the Century Magazine for March(1892) H. H. Boyesen contributes  an interesting account of some conversations with Hans Christian Andersen in 1873.
At that time Boyesen was staying with a friend of Andersens, who was ill, and Andersen used to come to the house to see the invalid.
Boyesen made his acquaintance and subsequently meet him repeatedly.
They had a good deal of talk ,in the course of which Darwin''s name was mentioned.
Andersen regarded Darwin as an absurd and insignificant crank, and when Boyesen spoke of him with respect  as the greatest Naturalist of the age:-
"Oh it is very sad," he(Andersen) said with a naiveté  which laid bare his simple childlike soul,"that men cannot be  satisfied with what God has taught them,but must question His word as if they knew better than He.
Useful inventions which make life easier and happier,those I approve of with all my heart, and to them scientists ought to confine their labours.
But when they come to me and want to deprive me of my faith in God and His word, then I say to them,"Excuse me gentlemen,I know as much about this as you do,and cannot accept you as guides."

If you would like to read the whole of this original writing as it appeared in the Century Magazine then follow the link below.;cc=cent;rgn=full%20text;idno=cent0043-5;didno=cent0043-5;view=image;seq=795;node=cent0043-5%3A27;page=root;size=100

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