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  Linguistics, Languages, and LiteraturesDanish Literature
 
Hans Christian AndersenHans Christian Andersen

playwright, novelist, and collector of fairy tales

Hans Christian Andersen was born in the slums of Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805, the only child of a poor shoemaker and a washerwoman. Although his parents could not afford to send him to school, they encouraged his fertile imagination as best they could. His father loved literature, and often took him to the Odense playhouse. Because he was highly emotional, suffered from many phobias, was taller than his peers, and often appeared effeminate, he made few friends. These qualities also made him more creative, however, and he spend many hours writing plays and fairy tales and staging puppet shows for himself.

Forced to go to work after his father's death in 1816, Andersen was apprenticed to a weaver and tailor, but found that work unsatisfying. He was equally dissatisfied with his work at a tobacco factory. In 1819, he decided to go to Copenhagen, where he hoped to pursue an acting career at the Royal Theatre. After three years of disappointment, Andersen fell under the tutelage of the Royal's director, Jonas Collins, who sent him to schools at Slagelse and Elsinore (1822-1827). He also became friends with King Frederick VI, who helped him get into the University of Copenhagen in 1828.

Blessed with a beautiful soprano voice as a child and teenager, Andersen was forced to give up the stage when his voice began to change in his late teens. By then, however, he had begun his career as a writer, and it is this career for which he is remembered.

Andersen made his debut as a writer in 1822, with The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave. His first poem, "The Dying Child," was published in the Copenhagen Post in 1827, and his first play, Love in Saint Nicholas Church Tower, was published in 1829. Although his early works were not financially successful, they were enough to keep King Frederick IV interested in the young man, and he provided Andersen with a travel stipend that allowed him to travel throughout Europe. Those travels inspired many books, beginning with Shadow Pictures from a Journey to the Harz Mountains and Saxon Switzerland, which was published in 1831. In 1835, Andersen published his first novel, The Improvisatore, as well as his first collection of original fairy tales, Fairy Tales, Told for Children.

Although Andersen preferred writing plays and novels, his many collections of fairy tales are what he is best known for today. They also provided him with the most financial security, and allowed him to continue his travels around Europe. On January 6, 1846, he was honored with a Knighthood of the Red Eagle by King Friedrich Wilhem of Prussia. In 1859, he received the Maximillian Order of Art and Science from King Maximillian II of Bavaria, and on December 6, 1867, he was made an honorary citizen of Odense.

Hans Christian Andersen died in Copenhagen on August 4, 1875, and was buried in that city's Assistens Cemetery.

His Works

A Cheerful Temper (1852)
A Christmas Greeting to My English Friends
(1847)
A Great Grief
(1853)
A Leaf from Heaven
(1855)
A Poet's Bazaar (1842)
A Rose from Homer's Grave (1842)
A Story
(1851)
A Story from the Sand-Hills
(1860)
A String of Pearls (1857)
A Walking Tour from the Holmen Canal to the Eastern Point of the Amager (1829)
Agnate and the Merman
(1834)
Anne Lisbeth
(1859)
Aunty Toothache (1872)
Beauty of Form and Beauty of Mind
(1860)
By the Almshouse Window
(1847)
Children's Prattle
(1859)
Dance, Dance, Doll of Mine! (1871)
Danish Popular Legends
(1870)
Delaying Is Not Forgetting (1866)
Everything in the Right Place
(1853)
Fairy Tales, Told for Children (1835)
God Can Never Die
(1836)
Godfather's Picture Book (1868)
Grandmother
(1845)
Holger Danske
(1845)
Ib and Little Christina
(1855)
In a Thousand Years
(1852)
In the Nursery
(1865)
In the Uttermost Parts of the Sea
(1855)
Jack the Dullard
(1855)
Journey to Germany & Switzerland (1860)
Journeys to Italy, Greece and Constantinople
(1840)
Little Tuk (1847)
Love in Saint Nicholas Church Tower (1829)
Luck May Lie in a Pin (1869)
Lucky Peer
(1870)
Moving Day (1860)
New Tales and Stories
(1858-1859)
Ole-Luk-Oie, the Dream-God
(1842)
Ole the Tower-Keeper
(1859)
On Judgment Day (1852)
Only a Fiddler
(1837)
O.T.: Live in Denmark
(1836)
Our Aunt
(1866)
Peiter, Peter and Peer (1868)
Picture-Book without Pictures (1840)
Pictures of Sweden (1851)
Shadow Pictures from a Journey to the Harz Mountains and Saxon Switzerland
(1831)
She Was Good for Nothing
(1853)
Something
(1858)
Soup from a Sausage Skewer
(1858)
Sunshine Stories
(1869)
The A-B-C Book (1858)
The Angel
(1844)
The Beetle Who Went on His Travels
(1861)
The Bell
(1845)
The Bell-Deep
(1857)
The Bird of Popular Song
(1865)
The Bishop of Borglum and His Warriors
(1861)
The Bottle Neck
(1858)
The Brave Tin Soldier
(1838)
The Buckwheat
(1842)
The Butterfly
(1861)
The Candles
(1870)
The Child in the Grave
(1859)
The Comet (1869)
The Conceited Apple-Branch
(1852)
The Court Cards
(1869)
The Cripple
(1872)
The Daisy
(1838)
The Darning-Needle (1846)
The Days of the Week (1869)
The Drop of Water
(1848)
The Dryad
(1868)
The Dumb Book
(1851)
The Elf of the Rose
(1839)
The Elfin Hill (1845)
The Emperor's New Clothes (1836)
The Farm-Yard Cock and the Weather-Cock
(1860)
The Fir Tree
(1845)
The Flax
(1849)
The Flea and the Professor
(1873)
The Flying Trunk (1838)
The Galoshes of Fortune
(1838)
The Garden of Paradise
(1838)
The Gardener and the Manor
(1871)
The Gate Key (1872)
The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave
(1822)
The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf
(1859)
The Goblin and the Huckster
(1853)
The Goblin and the Woman (1868)
The Golden Treasure
(1865)
The Great Sea-Serpent
(1871)
The Happy Family
(1848)
The Ice Maiden
(1861)
The Improvisatore
(1835)
The Jewish Maiden
(1856)
The Jumper (1845)
The Last Dream of the Old Oak
(1858)
The Last Pearl
(1854)
The Little Elder-Tree Mother (1845)
The Little Green Ones (1868)
The Little Match-Seller
(1846)
The Little Mermaid (1836)
The Loveliest Rose in the World
(1852)
The Mail-Coach Passengers
(1861)
The Marsh King's Daughter
(1858)
The Metal Pig
(1842)
The Money-Box
(1855)
The Most Incredible Thing
(1870)
The Neighbouring Families (1847)
The New Century's Goddess (1861)
The Nightingale
(1844)
The Old Bachelor's Nightcap
(1858)
The Old Church Bell
(1861)
The Old Grave-Stone
(1852)
The Old House
(1848)
The Old Street Lamp
(1847)
The Pea Blossom
(1853)
The Pen and the Inkstand
(1860)
The Philosopher's Stone
(1859)
The Phoenix Bird
(1850)
The Pigs (1851)
The Porter's Son
(1866)
The Portuguese Duck
(1861)
Poultry Meg's Family
(1869)
The Psyche
(1861)
The Puppet-Show Man
(1851)
The Rags (1869)
The Red Shoes
(1845)
The Shadow
(1847)
The Shepherdess and the Sweep
(1845)
The Shepherd's Story of the Bond of Friendship
(1842)
The Shirt-Collar
(1848)
The Silver Shilling
(1862)
The Snail and the Rose-Tree
(1861)
The Snow Man (1861)
The Snow Queen (1845)
The Snowdrop
(1863)
The Storks
(1838)
The Storm Shakes the Shield
(1865)
The Story of a Mother
(1848)
The Story of the Wind (1859)
The Story of the Year
(1852)
The Sunbeam and the Captive
(1847)
The Swan's Nest
(1852)
The Swineherd (1842)
The Talisman
(1836)
The Teapot (1864)
The Thistle's Experiences
(1869)
The Thorny Road of Honor
(1856)
The Toad
(1866)
The Top and Ball
(1844)
The True Story of My Life (autobiography--1874)
The Two Baronesses
(1848)
The Ugly Duckling (1844)
The Wicked Prince
(1840)
There Is No Doubt About It (1852)
The Wild Swans (1838)
The Will-o-the Wisp Is in the Town, Says the Moor-Woman (1865)
The Windmill
(1865)
This Fable Is Intended for You
(1836)
To Be Or Not To Be? (1857)
Two Brothers
(1859)
Two Maidens
(1854)
Under the Willow-Tree
(1853)
Vænø and Glænø (1867)
What Old Johanne Told (1872)
What One Can Invent
(1869)
What the Moon Saw
(1840)
What the Old Man Does Is Always Right
(1861)
What the Whole Family Said (1870)
Which is the Happiest? (1868)
Youthful Attempts (1822)

Croak (1926)
Folks Say (1949)
The Penman (1926)
The Poor Woman and the Little Canary Bird (1949)
Urbanus (1949)


The Literature Network
www.online-literature.com/hans_christian_andersen
Notorious Names Database
www.nndb.com/people/018/000084763/

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  The Robinson Library > Linguistics, Languages, and Literatures > Danish Literature

This page was last updated on July 25, 2016.

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