Hans Christian Andersen – the Father of Fairy Tales
In Denmark, Hans Christian Andersen is considered the creator of Danish realistic prose. His works have been translated into more than 80 languages and were inspiring to create many theater pieces, ballet performances, films, sculptures and paintings.
Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805 as a son of a poor carpenter. After his fathers death, his mother had to work as a laundry lady.
At the age of fourteen, Andersen went to Copenhagen, without any formal education to study a ballet and singing. But soon he was dismissed as completely untalented. With the help of the sponsor, the director of the Royal Theater, Jonas Collin (for whom he worked while studying) managed to complete his studies and studies at the university.
At first he writes prose and poetry works, and later he begins his famous journeys. First within Denmark, and then abroad, almost all European countries, especially Italy, France and Germany. Andersen also traveled throughout Asia and Africa all the time creating new works.
After traveling to Italy, Andersen wrote Improvisatoren (Improviser, 1835), depicting in it a young author fighting desperately for affirmation, with rich descriptions of Italian folk life provoking admiration and was immediately translated into several foreign languages.
However, when his famous fairy tales were published, the audience and the criticism paid little attention to it. Although they are the best of what Andersen wrote and why he entered among the most favorite names of world literature. Like his romantic novels, neither his dramatic works nor their expressiveness nor their greater value.
Andersen’s stories or fairy tales were initially lively and appealing to the conviction of what he had heard in childhood, and later he created them himself. In them fantastic, legendary and mythical mingles with the direct, real world. On the one hand, there is artistic fantasy under the influence of E.T.A. Hoffman, and on the other irresistible naivety and freshness of folk art.
All these moments, even the humorous language, are able to penetrate through the translations, through which his stories expanded rapidly, supported by the illustrations of the best masters of that time. Although the motifs and themes of Andersen’s fairy tales originate from the common circle of folklore literature (for example, various forms of superstition, stories of villas, dwarves, beggars, kings, princes and animals), not only their expression but inner development is also original.
The basic lack of these effective prose is when the most rigorous trials, vague exclusiveness and sentimentality. However, Anderson can be redeemed with a mild irony.
Almost two hundred of his stories (originating from Danish folklore, antique world or general European tradition) represent the universe of fairy tales that abandons an abstract, logical principle, as well as life itself. They are written as much for adults as for children.
Andersen’s fairy tales have been translated into over forty different languages. He wrote more than 150 stories for children, which have labeled him one of the greatest figures in world literature. The entire work of H. C. Andersen was first published in Copenhagen, 1854 – 1879.
After a lifetime filled with rich literary work and travel, Andersen died on August 4, 1875, in Copenhagen, as an honorary professor and honorary citizen of Odense.
Most famous tales by Hans Christian Andersen
- 1844 The Nightingale
- 1844 The Ugly Duckling
- 1836 The Little Mermaid
- 1837 The Emperor’s New Suit
- 1845 The Snow Queen
- 1845 The Little Elder-Tree Mother
- 1845 The Elfin Hill
- 1845 The Red Shoes
- 1858 The Last Dream of the Old Oak
- 1865 The Storm Shakes the Shield