Bredsdorff, Elias Lunn 1912-2002

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BREDSDORFF, Elias Lunn 1912-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 15, 1912, in Roskilde, Denmark; died August 8, 2002, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Educator and author. Bredsdorff is best remembered for his efforts to make more readers aware that Hans Christian Andersen's works should be read by adults as well as by children. Educated at University College, London and Copenhagen University, where he studied English, Bredsdorff opposed the Nazis and was an avid communist until Russia invaded Finland in 1939, whereupon he renounced communism. From 1939 until 1943 he taught English and literature at Vordingborg Training College in Denmark, leaving to join the underground resistance movement and to publish anti-Nazi leaflets during World War II. When the war was over, he returned to academia, lecturing in Danish at University College during the late 1940s and then joining Cambridge University in 1949. He remained at Cambridge, where he became head of the Scandinavian department, until his retirement in 1979. During his career and after, Bredsdorff published numerous books that covered subjects ranging from literary studies and grammar textbooks to biography, and autobiography. The most well known of these is his highly influential biography Hans Christian Andersen: The Story of His Life and Work, 1805-1975. Bredsdorff also published other works on Andersen, including Hans Christian Andersen: An Introduction to His Life and Works (1987), and penned biographies of other Danish authors and on Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, and John Steinbeck. He also wrote the autobiographical Min egen kurs: erindringer, 1912-1946 and Mit engelske liv: erindringer, 1946-1979. Bredsdorff's respected textbook Danish: An Elementary Grammar and Reader (1956) continued to be available in print in 2000.



Writers Directory, 16th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.


Chicago Tribune, August 20, 2002, section 2, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2002, p. B11.

New York Times, August 19, 2002, p. A5.

Times (London, England), August 16, 2002.

Washington Post, August 21, 2002, p. B6.