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Hans Christian Andersen - A Succesful Author

In 1829, Andersen finally received some hard earned success when he published a short story, a comedy and a variety of poems. Although it took Andersen a considerable amount of time before he followed up these works with something noteworthy.

In 1833, H. C. Andersen received a grant by the King for travel expenses, and he then spent the next 16 months travelling through Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Hans Christian was very fond of Italy. This trip would mark the beginning of a life long affair with travel. During his lifetime he would go on extended journeys 30 times, and he would end up spending almost 15 years of his life in other countries. One of Hans Christian Andersen’s most famous quotes is, ”to travel is to live...”, and aside from his fairy tales Hans Christian is also well known for his travel stories. During Andersen’s travels he kept a residence in the famous Nyhavn in Copenhagen.  

In 1835 published his first novel ’The Improvisatore’ (Improvisatoren) which was an instant success. Also in this year he published a fairy tale book which received some praise. It was the first time that he had received much praise for his ‘fairy tales’. The book contained 4 short stories which he wrote to a little girl named Ide Thiele, who was the daughter of an Art Academy secretary. Hans Christian Andersen would go on to publish over 160 fairy tales. It is curious that a man who never married and who never had any children of his own managed to write stories which were so well suited to a child’s psyche.

In the early 1840’s Hans Christian Andersen started to receive some foreign success, and in visits to Germany in 1846 and England in 1847 he was hailed as a famous dignitary. In England he was invited many social gatherings for the upper class, and at one such gathering he met Charles Dickens. Hans Christian’s foreign success would continue to escalate, and being treated like a pillar of society would become commonplace wherever he would travel. However, at home in Denmark Andersen had many staunch opponents who did not feel he deserved the praise he was receiving.

Hans Christian’s stories would go on to be translated into an unprecedented number of languages. His fame grew to the point where shortly before his death he was honoured as the greatest living author by England.

Hans Christian’s sexuality has often come into question. There is no doubt that he craved the affections of women. In fact he was notorious for falling in love with unattainable women, and his private writings greatly reflect his despair and loneliness with regards to women. His personal writings also reveal that he was horribly shy and awkward around women; which is something that filled him with dismay. However, his private writings also reveal that he may have had a relationship with the Danish ballet dancer Harald Scharff which was more than a traditional male friendship. Onlookers are also known to have made suggestive comments about their relationship. However, it can still not be said for sure that Hans Christian Andersen was bisexual, and it is very unlikely that we will ever know. He was a mysterious, unique man whose personal thoughts and feelings are and were shrouded in mystery. 

People who are familiar with the works of Hans Christian Andersen in English would be surprised to know that his fairy tales were not translated exactly as they were first written in Danish. Andersen’s original fairy tales are filled with brutality, misery and even death. The reason for this is that his fairy tales were first translated during Queen Victoria’s reign of Britain (the Victorian Era) (1837-1901). Queen Victorian was a staunch puritan, and her reign was marked with very strict ideals of morality. It simply isn’t possible that H. C. Andersen’s stories could be accepted in their original form. The true translations are available today, yet the majority of translations date back to the Victorian Era. 

In 1872 Hans Christian was injured when fell out of bed, and he never truly recovered from his injuries. Hans Christian Andersen passed away on the 4th of August 1875 in Copenhagen (København). His passing was acknowledged throughout many countries. Hans Christian Andersen will always live on through his stories. He was a gifted story teller with a lively imagination and a fine sense of observation. It is no wonder why he is Denmark’s pride and joy.

Hans Christian Andersen's Childhood and Early Years

LastUpdate: 2016-06-17 12:51:59