Andersen's 200 years birthday - H.C. Andersen's birthday
father of the Ugly Duckling story died 200 years ago today.
Danish fairytale teller or storyteller Hans Christian Andersen,
or Hans Christian Anderson, or, as we say in Denmark H. C. Andersen
was born 200 years ago the 2. April 1805 in Odense, Denmark.
showed a great social engagement, based on his own very poor childhood,
and he wanted to be famous. In many ways he was a special character
with a great drive to overcome all his limitations heredited from
his origin and social cirdumstances.
managed to write a lot of now famous stories equally relevant for
children and adults. Most of them are touching and generate strong
emotional social feelings.
Christian Andersen is celebrated all over the World for his outstanding
contribution to storytelling, social realism and imagination.
2. April 2005
statue of the storyteller Hans Christian Andersen at the Townhall
Square of Copenhagen, Denmark (H.C. Andersen statuen på Rådhuspladsen,
København). You can use this picture for commercial purpose
by clicking on it and see the conditions.
Find more pictures
from Denmark at A-Z Fotos
is an extract from Wikipedia,
the Free Encyclopedia about
Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805. He was the
son of a sickly young shoemaker of twenty-two, who believed he might
be of aristocratic origin, and his several years older wife who
worked as a laundress. The whole family lived and slept in one little
showed imagination early, which was fostered by the indulgence of
his parents and by his mother's superstition. He built himself a
little toy-theatre and sat at home making clothes for his puppets,
and reading all the plays that he could borrow; among them were
those of Ludvig Holberg and William Shakespeare. Andersen, throughout
his childhood, had a passionate love for literature. He was known
to memorize entire Shakespeare plays and recite them using his wooden
dolls as the characters.
In 1816, the
shoemaker died and the child was forced to go to work. He apprenticed
variously as a weaver and tailor, and worked in a cigarette factory
where co-workers had a bet that he was actually a girl and pulled
his pants down to see. At age 14, Andersen moved to Copenhagen to
look for work in show business. He had a pleasant soprano voice
and succeeded in getting into the Royal Danish Theatre but had to
leave when his voice changed. A co-worker at the theatre referred
to him as a poet, and he took it very seriously and began to focus
VI became interested in the strange boy after a chance meeting and
sent him for some years, free of charge, to the grammar-school at
Slagelse. Before he started for school, Andersen published his first
volume, The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave (1822). Andersen, a very
backward and unwilling pupil, actually remained at Slagelse and
at another school in Elsinore until 1827. These years, he says,
were the darkest and bitterest in his life. He lived in the home
of the schoolmaster, who abused him to "harden his character".
He felt out of place among the other students, who were mostly much
younger than he.
Some hold that
his works express the sorrow of being different. One of the most
telling stories in that respect is the tale of the Little Mermaid,
who takes her own life since she cannot be loved by her beautiful
prince. It is thought to exemplify his love for the young Edward
Collin, to whom he wrote: I languish for you as for a pretty Calabrian
wench . . . my sentiments for you are those of a woman. The femininity
of my nature and our friendship must remain a mystery. Collin, who
was not erotically attracted to men, wrote in his own Memoirs: I
found myself unable to respond to this love, and this caused the
author much suffering. Likewise, the infatuations of the author
for the Danish dancer Harlod Scharf and the young duke of Weimar
probably remained on a Platonic level. Andersen's private journal
records his refusal to have sexual relations with either men or
women and his release through masturbation. Today he would have
been considered asexual.
the spring of 1872, Andersen fell out of bed and severely hurt himself.
He was never again quite well, but he lived until the August 4,
1875, when he died very peacefully in the house called Rolighed,
near Copenhagen. He is buried in the Assistens Cemetery, in Copenhagen,
Life as an author
In 1829, Andersen had considerable success with a fantastic volume
entitled A Journey on Foot from Holmen's Canal to the East Point
of Amager, and he published in the same season a farce and a book
of poems. Thus, he suddenly came into request at the moment when
his friends had decided that no good thing would ever come out of
his early eccentricity and vivacity. He made little further progress,
however, until 1833, when he received a small travelling stipend
from the King, and made the first of his long European journeys.
At Le Locle, in the Jura, he wrote Agnete and the Merman; and in
October 1834 he arrived in Rome.
Early in 1835,
Andersen's first novel, The Improvisatore, appeared, and achieved
real success. The poet's troubles were at an end at last. In the
same year, Andersen published the earliest installment of his immortal
Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr). Other parts, completing the first
volume, appeared in 1836 and 1837. The value of these stories was
not at first perceived, and they sold slowly. Andersen was more
successful for the time being with other novels:O.T. (1836) and
Only a Fiddler (1837).
In 1851 he published
to wide acclaim In Sweden, a volume of travel sketches. A keen traveller,
Andersen published several other long travelogues: Shadow Pictures
of a Journey to the Harz, Swiss Saxony, etc. etc. in the Summer
of 1831 (1831), A Poet's Bazaar (1842), In Spain (1863), and A Visit
to Portugal in 1866 (1868). In his travelogues Andersen took heed
of some of the contemporary conventions about travel writing, but
he also always developed the genre to suit his own purposes: Each
of his travelogues combines documentary, descriptive accounts of
what he saw while abroad with more philosophical excurses on topics
such as authorship, immortality, and the nature of fiction in the
literary travel report. Some of the travelogues, such as In Sweden,
even contain fairy-tales.
In the 1840s
Andersen turned his attention, with but ephemeral success, to the
theatre, but was recalled to his true genius in the charming miscellany
of 1840, the Picture-Book without Pictures. The fame of his Fairy
Tales had been steadily rising; a second series began in 1838; a
third in 1845.
now celebrated throughout Europe, although in his native Denmark
there was still some resistance to his pretensions. In June 1847,
he paid his first visit to England and enjoyed a triumphal social
success. When he left, Charles Dickens saw him off from Ramsgate
pier (Shortly thereafter Dickens published David Copperfield, in
which the character Uriah Heep is said to have been modelled on
Andersen—a left-handed compliment, to say the least).
to publish much, as he still desired to excel as a novelist and
a dramatist, which he could not do. He disdained the enchanting
Fairy Tales, in the composition of which his unique genius lay.
Nevertheless, he continued to write them, and in 1847 and 1848 two
fresh volumes appeared. After a long silence, Andersen published
another novel in 1857, To be or not to be. His Fairy Tales continued
to appear, in installments, until 1872, when, at Christmas, the
last stories were published.
In the English-speaking
world, the stories of The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes,
and The Princess and the Pea, are cultural universals; everyone
knows them, though few could tell you their author. They have become
part of the common heritage, and, like the tales of Charles Perrault,
are not distinguished from actual folk-tales such as those of the
Brothers Grimm. Andersen himself was highly inspired by Arabian
Nights. A few of his stories such as "Wild Swans" and
The Rose-Elf (http://www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/cgi/aesop1.cgi?hca&a24)
are retellings of older folktales.
The Six Swans
(http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~wbarker/fairies/grimm/049.html) as recorded
by J. and W. Grimm. The story probably originated in Ireland. The
Wild Swans (http://www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/cgi/aesop1.cgi?hca&a126)
as retold by Andersen
often thought of as a children's writer. However, he did not like
to be stereotyped. The overall character of Andersen's stories is
dark, even cruel, and redemption often comes at a high price.
more about Hans Christian Andersen at http://hca.gilead.org.il/www.html
- An annotated Andersen web-o-graphy