Hans Christian Andersen Biography

Hans Christian Andersen (2 April 1805 – 4 August 1875) (Odense, Denmark).

Writer, Storyteller and Novelist of Danish origin, recognized for being the author of the most universal and traditional children’s stories, among which are The Lead Soldier, The Little Mermaid or The Ugly Duckling, among others along with those that make up the main classics Children’s Literature.

His work has been translated into several languages, as well as adapted to theatre, ballet, and more recently to television and film. Similarly, Andersen wrote novels, plays and poetry, which however did not achieve as much success as his short stories.

Early life

Hans Christian Andersen was born on 2 April 1805, in Odense, Denmark, into a very poor family, which was bordered by the limit of destitution. His father was a twenty-two-year-old, freethinker, sickly in nature. Her mother, much older than her father, was a laundyman, who was suffering from alcoholism.

Even with all the circumstances against it, Andersen attended the School from an early age, at which time he already showed a great imagination. However, in 1816, his father passed away, which brought even more hardship to the family.

Andersen had to drop out of school, but he did his best to read all the books he could get, reading at the time William Shakespeare, Goete, Ludwig Holberg, E.T.A Hoffmann and Shiller.

Arrival in Copenhaugue

In 1819, at the age of fourteen, he left for Copenhagen determined to be an opera singer, however his voice failed him.

With the weight of defeat and no money to survive, luck led him to meet the poet Frederik Hoegh Guldberg, who would help him enter the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, as a ballet student, a trade in which he also did not prosper, and where rather he was characterized by s or lazy character, which is why Guldberg walked away, withdrawing his support.

However, he would also meet Jonas Collin, director of the Teatro Real, whom he would be friends with forever and who would help him.

However, the great blow of fortune would come from Frederick VI, King of Denmark, who became interested in the strange boy, deciding to give him his support. The King then sent Andersen to study at the school of Slagelse and Elsinor, where despite his discomfort, he remained until 1827.

Once in Copenhagen, he turned all his creativity to Scripture. In the same year of his return he wrote and published, in the most prestigious magazine of the time, his first poem, The Dying Child. At that time he also began writing travel stories, which he published in some local newspapers. In 1831 he published his first poem Fantasies and Sketches.

Travel and sentimental life

Two years later, in 1833, the King again favored him, awarding him a travel scholarship, thanks to which he was able to visit several European countries. In this way, Andersen managed to visit Italy, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain, Constantinople and England, where he would meet Charles Dickens, with whom he struck up a great friendship.

As for his personal life, despite having had good friends in life, Andersen had a sentimental life full of unrequited loves, marked by infatuations towards inaccessible women such as the soprano Jenny Lind, nicknamed “the nightingale of the north”, or Riborg Voigt.

He also fell in love with several men who didn´t respond to his feelings, such as Edvard Collin.

Likewise, the few sentimental relationships he had with other men also did not transcend time, such as his affair with the Duchy heir of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, Carlos Alejandro, or the dancer Harald Sharff. He never managed to have the couple and the love he coffers greatly, according to what was collected in his personal diaries.

Final years

Andersen managed to become a well-known writer in Europe, where his children’s stories began to become popular, even though in his native Denmark very few knew this or recognized his talent.

Finally, in the spring of 1872, Hans Christian Andersen, 60-seven, suffered a heavy fall from his bed, which left him quite affected. Unable to fully recover, he lived after years more, until August 4, 1875, when he died in his own house, located in the vicinity of Copenhagen, where his remains also rest.

Major works

Among the main works of Hans Christian Andersen are: The Dying Child (1827, Poem); Poems (1831, compilation of verses); Fantasy and Sketches (1831, Poemario); Twelve months of the year (1831, Poemario); The Book of Life (1833, autobiography); The Improviser (1835, Novel); Lammermor’s Bride (1835, Opera); O.T (1837, Novel); Just a violinist (1837, novel); El mulato (1840, play of play); The two males (1848); Bazaar of a Poet (1842, Travel Stories); The Tale of My Life (1846, autobiography); In Sweden (1851, travel stories); Being or not being (1857, novel); Spain (1963, travel stories); Visit to Portugal (1866, travel stories); Pedro the Lucky (1870, novel).

Despite her desire to become a great novelist or playwright, what earned her worldwide fame was her children’s stories, in which ironically – as noted by critics – she wasn´t interested.

His first children’s short story book was named Tales to Tell Children and was published in 1835, followed by new children’s storybooks, which were published consecutively in 1843, 1847, 1852 and 1872, which came out for Christmas that year.

In total he became the author of a hundred and sixty-eight stories, among which are: The Little and the Great Claus, Thumb, The Link, The Wild Swans, The Little Mermaid, The Slug, Ole Lukje, the Elf Hill, The Ugly Duckling, the New Em Dress Giver, The Lead Soldier, The Mockingbird, The Fir, The Windmill, The Brave Tailor, The Daisy.

Image source: mans.photomaps.ru

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Bibliography ►

phoneia.com (August 14, 2019). Hans Christian Andersen Biography. Bogotá: E-Cultura Group. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/education/hans-christian-andersen-biography/