Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was born on 2nd April, 1805, in Odense, Denmark.
|Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)|
His father was a shoemaker and his mother a washerwoman. In an effort to escape his poor background, at the age of fourteen, he decided to try his luck in Copenhagen. For three years he lived in one of the cities most disreputable districts trying to become a singer, dancer or actor - bhe failed.
Andersen began his fairy-tale writing by retelling folk tales he'd heard as a child. It was his father's reading The Arabian Nights to him that had first sparked his interest in literature. Very soon, he began to create original stories. The first volumes in 1835-1837 contained nineteen tales and were called Fairy Tales Told for Children. Over the next few years, the title changed and more fairy tales were added. Among his most popular tales are: The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, and The Little Mermaid.
Although Hans Christian learned to read, he couldn't spell properly and his handwritten texts were full of mistakes. His publishers corrected his errors but left his unique style. As a result his work remains close to the spoken word and still sounds fresh today.
Many of his stories have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets and animated films...
... although Disney and Pixar versions might horrify kids of today if they kept to Andersen's original endings. The Little Mermaid committed suicide, the Little Match Girl froze to death and The Steadfast Tin Soldier melted.
|New York's Central Park is home to a statue of Hans Christian Andersen and The Ugly Duckling.|
Five interesting facts about Hans Christian Andersen:
1. International Children's Book Day is held on April 2nd each year in honour of his birth date.
2. There is a statue of him at Rosenborg Castle Gardens in Copenhagen.
3. An award is given in his name to an author and illustrator for their contributions to children's literature.
4. Several movies have been made about his life including The Daydreamer (1966) and Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairytale (2003)
5. When he visited his friend Charles Dickens at his home he outstayed his welcome and was asked to leave. This ended the friendship.