Icons of Europe This fleur-de-lys represents the aims of Icons of Europe asbl.  The fleur-de-lys figure has been used as an ornament or emblem by almost all civilisations of the old and new worlds.
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) Toronto | WTBD 2005
The 200-year anniversary of the birthday of
Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish storyteller, is being celebrated all over the world.   He is famous for The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Nightingale, and many more stories.

The Nightingale
Hans Christian Andersen fell in love with Jenny Lind (1820-1887), the Swedish soprano.  He wrote The Nightingale as a tribute to her in 1843.  It led to her appellation, The Swedish Nightingale.  However, she did not return his feelings.  They remained good friends, and she was a particularly important source of inspiration for his work.*

As documented by the research findings of Icons of Europe in 2003, it is a deep irony that Jenny Lind in 1848-1849 lived through her own nightingale story with Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849).  He suffered from TB, and when she sang for him he felt better.  With the knowledge of Queen Victoria, Jenny Lind made in May 1849 an unsuccessful attempt to marry Chopin, who died five months later.


Musical drama
Chopin and Jenny Lind's relationship is enacted in the musical drama Chopin and The Nightingale (initially entitled Nightingale Opus 24).   The drama is set to original quotes of Chopin's letters that to surprising degree match quotes from Andersen's story The Nightingale.

>>  HCA biography | Translated titles | Official HCA2005 site

When the Chinese emperor saw "Death sitting on his chest", was it not tuberculosis?
>> Essay

Hans Christian Andersen's father had died of TB in 1816.  He could also have been inspired by John Keats' Ode to a Nightingale.  Keats died of TB in 1821 at only 26.


" … because she can never be mine …
though her voice stays
with me, forever,
in my story
The Nightingale":

DE | DK | FR | PL | UK


* Hans Christian Andersen says in The True Story of My Life (published in 1847, the same year he met her again in London):

"Through Jenny Lind I first became sensible of the holiness of Art.   Through her I learned that one must forget one's self in the service of the Supreme.  No books, no men, have had a more ennobling influence upon me as a poet than Jenny Lind".

Icons of Europe

 

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