From very humble beginnings , Hans Christian Andersen became one of the world’s best loved story tellers. “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Thumbelina”, and “The Ugly Ducking” are the titles of children’s stories that should ring a bell with all of us. No matter how old we are, we are probably familiar with these titles and many more from the pen of Andersen. Even now, over a century and a half after his death, his stories are being told and re-told all over the world. In fact, the year 2010 marks his 205th birthday!
Andersen was born in a one-room house in Odense , Denmark on April 2, 1805. His father was a shoemaker and his mother had been a washerwoman in the large houses of the rich before she married Andersen’s father. In his stories you will find many themes of the differences between the poor and wealthy classes. You will also find the occasional shoemaker.
His father died when Andersen was only eleven years old. Young Andersen was wasting his time in school, daydreaming about the theater and the stories he would imagine. His mother sent him to work in a tailor’s shop and later a tobacco factory to help support the family. Even as a child he always loved the arts. Unhappy with these jobs, he left home at the age of fourteen to seek his fortune in Copenhagen. He nearly starved to death trying to earn a living as an artist, actor, dancer and singer. Jonas Collin, a director of the Royal Theater, noticed Andersen when he was 17. Collin had read one of Andersen’s plays and saw that the young man had talent. Collin was able to obtain money from the king for Andersen’s education. He sent him to a school near Copenhagen where his teacher treated him harshly and teased him about his desire to become a writer. Collin eventually took Andersen out of the school and arranged private tutoring in Copenhagen.
In 1828, at age 23, Andersen entered university in Copenhagen. Andersen began to be published in Denmark in 1829. Andersen was first known as a poet, and his poetry won him many patrons . In 1833 the king gave him travel money and he spent 16 months travelling through Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy. As Andersen traveled he wrote many books about his experiences. Andersen wrote plays, novels, poems and travel books. Some of his plays were big hits in Denmark and Danish children still sing some of his poems set to music.
His first book of fairy tales was published in 1835, included “The Princess on the Pea” and “The Tinderbox”. These short stories were written for little Ida Thiele, the daughter of the secretary of the Academy of Art. The public, both adults and children, wanted more. Andersen quickly created a series of Romantic heroes. It was the series of fairy tales published after 1835 which set him on the path to fame. He was surprised that his fairy tales were so popular at home and even abroad. The book was a success. A second was published shortly afterwards, including “Thumbelina”, and a third followed in 1837, with “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Little Mermaid”. His best known stories were published between 1835 and 1850. Some are his own creations and others are his re-telling of previously known Danish folk tales.
Andersen considered himself ugly all his life. He was tall and thin with a long nose. It was this self-view that inspired “The Ugly Duckling”. Andersen proposed to several women during his life and was rejected by all of them. His stories show compassion for those who are outcast and suffering. They also make fun of the spoiled and conceited. His stories teach us that appearances can be deceiving, and that there is a magical beauty even within the most unlikely characters. In spite of his lonely life he was able to create some of the most wonderful stories ever written. Andersen died on Aug. 4, 1875.
Two hundred and five years after his birth, in 2010, Google celebrates the 205th anniversary of Andersen’s birth with a series of images on its homepage, telling the story of “Thumbelina”.
And one of the highest prizes in children’s literature is the Hans Christian Andersen Award, presented to only one author and one illustrator every two years. It is presided over by Queen of Denmark.
Because of his wonderful fairy tales, Andersen became known as the greatest writer in Denmark, and one of the most beloved children’s authors in the world. In his lifetime, he wrote more than one hundred and fifty fairy tales, and his stories have been translated into over 100 languages!
2010-12-07 14:05 编辑：kuaileyingyu