Fun Facts Friday: Hans Christian Andersen

April 2, 2021

Hans Christian Andersen (2 April, 1805 – 4 August, 1875) was an author, playwright, and poet from Denmark. He is probably the best known fairy-tale author in the world.

Fun Facts Friday: Hans Christian AndersenBooks by, or about, Hans Christian Andersen*

  1. Hans Christian Andersen was an only child, born in Odense, Denmark. His father said he was descended from nobility, but it was never proven. It was also said that Hans Christian Andersen himself was the illegitimate child of King Christian VIII, but that was never proven either.
  2. The author’s father died when he was 11 years old. Mr. Andersen had to work to support his mother. He was also teased at school about his looks and high voice. These experiences made it into his stories such as The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid.
  3. Mr. Andersen was dyslexic and struggled with spelling throughout his life.
  4. He had a bunch of phobias including constant fear of being buried alive, carrying a note saying “I only appear to be dead”, dogs, and always carried a rope in case he had to escape a fire.
  5. Charles Dickens invited Mr. Andersen to be his guest, for up to two weeks – Andersen stayed for five. He was not a good house guest, throwing tantrums and insisting that a family member would shave him. After he left Dickens stopped writing him.
  6. According to UNESCO, the writings of Hans Christian Andersen were translated to over 125 languages. The translations, however, were not as faithful as one might think and Anderson got the reputation of a charming children’s author instead of the literary genius he was.
  7. The author loved to travel and published several travelogues from Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland.
  8. At the age of 69 the author was diagnosed with liver cancer. The Swedish government declared him a national treasure and started to commemorate his life and work, including a statue in King’s Garden in Copenhagen. Mr. Andersen lived to see the statue completed, but died four months later, at the age of 70.
  9. There is a well-known statue of The Little Mermaid in Langelinje Pier in Copenhagen, as well as a statue of Andersen and the Ugly Duckling in New York’s Central Park. His childhood home in Odense is now a museum.
  10. The author’s birthday is now is observed as International Children’s Book Day.Mr. Anderson would have been very happy to have witnessed this since he was trolled for writing children stories, which were deemed unimportant.

Books by, or about, Hans Christian Andersen*

Zohar – Man of la Book
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Fun Facts Friday: Hans Christian Andersen
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Hans Christian Andersen (2 April, 1805 – 4 August, 1875) was an author, playwright, and poet from Denmark. He is probably the best known fairy-tale author in the world.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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