Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rumour has it that Hans Christian Andersen was a real grump. And a real prince!

The principal contributors to Danish literature are undoubtedly 
fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875),
philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855),
storyteller Karen Blixen (1885–1962),
playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754).

Theories that Andersen (better known in Scandinavia as H. C. Andersen) may have been an illegitimate son of King Christian VII persist. 

Nevertheless, King Frederick VI took a personal interest in him 
and paid for a part of his education.

King Christian VII

Hans Christian Anderson
Andersen's father, who had received an elementary education, introduced Andersen to literature, reading him Arabian Nights. Andersen's mother, Anne Marie Andersdatter, was uneducated and worked as a washerwoman.

It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first instalment of his immortal Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr; lit. "fantastic tales"). More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The collection consists of nine tales that includes The Tinderbox, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, and The Emperor's New Clothes. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly at first. 

However, soon the fairy tales have been translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West's collective consciousness, inspired plays, ballets, and both live-action and animated films.

A reading of the Emperor's new clothes