N°80 H.C. AndersenNú Ninja Helga Mjöll
Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark on 2 April 1805. He was a writer, renowned for his fairy tales that are among the most frequently translated works in all literary history. You can say that he is the Charles Dickens of Scandinavia. In fact, they were familiar with each other’s work and became friends later in life.
Andersen was born to poor parents and needed to fight the class structure of his time throughout his life. He attended school for poor children early in his life and at the age of 14 he moved to Copenhagen to pursue an education as an actor at the Royal Danish Theatre. He wasn’t a good actor but focused rather on writing. The director of the drama school persuaded king Frederick VI to pay for Andersen’s tuition in grammar school, which partly he did. Later, Andersen got accepted into The University of Copenhagen and published what is considered his first important literary work “Fodrejse fra Holmens Canal til Østpynten af Amager i aarene 1828 og 1829” (A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager).
In 1835, at the age of 30, Andersen began writing series of fairy-tales. He published book after book of amazing work where he broke literary tradition in both style and content. Andersen was a real innovator in his method of telling tales because he used the constructions of the spoken language.
Indeed, one reason for Andersen’s great appeal to both children and adults is that he was not afraid of introducing feelings and ideas that were beyond a child’s immediate comprehension, yet he remained in touch with the child’s perspective. He combined his natural storytelling abilities with elements of folk legend to produce a body of fairy tales that relates to many cultures.
Some of his most iconic fairy-tales are The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Match Girl, The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor’s new clothes and many, many more! Less known fact about H. C. Andersen is also the author of plays, novels, poems, travel books, and several autobiographies.
In 1875, at the age of 70 Andersen died in his home in Copenhagen. His grave in the Assistens Cemetery is frequently visited by visitors from all over the world.
Between 1835 and 1872 he created over 150 fairy tales and stories, later translated into about 125 languages. In his honour a monument that became a symbol of Copenhagen – a bronze statue of the little mermaid, was erected.