Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen sadly passed away on 4th August 1875 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was born April 2, 1805 and is best remembered for his fairy tales, a literary genre he so mastered that he himself has become as mythical as the tales he wrote. Although he was also z prolific writer of plays, travelogues and novels. Andersen’s popularity is not limited to children either; his stories—called eventyr, or “fantastic tales”—express themes that transcend age and nationality. very early fairy tale by Andersen called The Tallow Candle (Danish: Tællelyset) is about a candle who did not feel appreciated. In 1829, Andersen enjoyed considerable success with a short story titled A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager. In the book, the protagonist meets characters ranging from Saint Peter to a talking cat. He followed this success with a theatrical piece, Love on St. Nicholas Church Tower and a short volume of poems. At Jura, near Le Locle, Switzerland, he wrote the story, Agnete and the Merman. He spent an evening in the Italian seaside village of Sestri Levante the same year, inspiring the name, The Bay of Fables. It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first installment 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 the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels, O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler (1837); the latter was reviewed by the young Søren Kierkegaard. in July 1839 during a visit to the island of Funen that Andersen first wrote the text of his poem, Jeg er en Skandinav (I am a Scandinavian). Andersen returned to the fairy tale genre in 1838 with another collection, Fairy Tales Told for Children (1838) (Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Ny Samling.), which consists of The Daisy, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and The Wild Swans. 1845 heralded a breakthrough for Andersen with the publication of four different translations of his fairy tales. The Little Mermaid appeared in the popular periodical Bentley’s Miscellany. It was followed by a second volume, Wonderful Stories for Children. Two other volumes enthusiastically received were A Danish Story Book and Danish Fairy Tales and Legends.Andersen would continue to write fairy tales until 1872.
Some of his most famous fairy tales include: The Angel, The Bell,The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Galoshes of Fortune, The Fir Tree, The Happy Family, The Ice-Maiden “, It’s Quite True! The Little Match Girl, The Little Mermaid, Little Tuck, The Nightingale, The Old House, Sandman, The Princess and the Pea, Several Things, The Red Shoes,The Shadow, The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, The Snow Queen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Story of a Mother, The Swineherd, Thumbelina, The Tinderbox, The Ugly Duckling, The Wild Swans
During his lifetime Andersen delighted children worldwide and was feted by royalty. Andersen’s fairy tales have been translated into more than 125 languages and are culturally embedded in the West’s collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. His stories laid the groundwork for other children’s classics, such as Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. The technique of making inanimate objects, such as toys, come to life (Little Ida’s Flowers) would later be used by Lewis Carroll and Beatrix Potter. In the English-speaking world, his fairy tales remain immensely popular and are widely read. The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling have both become household words. Many of his story’s have also inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films