Ugly Ducklings? is a study of the major English translations of Hans Christian Andersen’s Tales and Stories, and of the people who made them. The basic assumption is that the translations are coloured by the personality and background of individual translators, as well as by the general literary climate around them. Therefore, the moment Andersen came to be seen as a children’s writer pure and simple, important parts of his message and significant aspects of his style were ignored.
The author explores this process, at the same time demonstrating the interdependence of the English translations, many of which prove to have been made with little or no use of the original Danish text.