Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2 - Hans Christian Andersen

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805, in Odense, Denmark. He wrote plays, travelogues, novels and poems, but he is best known for his fairy tales (or “eventyr”), a genre with which he is virtually synonymous. His first four tales appeared in 1835 as Eventyr, fortalte for Børn (Fairy Tales, Told for Children). More stories were published through 1848, including “The Tinderbox,” “The Princess and the Pea,” Thumbelina,” The Little Mermaid,” “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Emperor's New Clothes.” Many were inspired by old folk tales he had heard as a child, others sprang from his imagination. He later dropped the title phrase “told for children” as he focused on presenting both adults and children with lessons of virtue and resilience amid adversity. His tales were revolutionary and magical because his voice spoke colloquially and conspiratorially to children, in contemporary terms, rather than preaching to them.

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