In her unique dual biography, Kate Ashton delineates the parallel lives of Hans Christian Anderson and Søren Kierkegaard, their personal relationship, literary careers, and lasting cultural influence on the western and wider world. These two towering literary geniuses followed radically divergent paths, and yet each read and reacted to the immense power and depth of the other’s growing oeuvre as it refracted their own. Against the backdrop of the end of Golden Age Denmark within a warring Europe, and the spiritual and sexual repression of Reformed Christianity, each suffered the fate of the prophet unhonoured in his hometown of Copenhagen.
Tracing their lives from childhood trauma to tragic love affairs and anguished isolation, Ashton illuminates counteractive response to experience: one an inward search for truth and self-knowledge, the other flight into distraction and fantasy. Mirrored Minds offers the reader an opportunity to explore each author and his legacy within the context of the other, just as their long-standing association held up a mirror for Anderson and Kierkegaard themselves.