Hans Christian Andersen
A DANISH author, whose fairy tales have been translated into more than 80 languages and have inspired plays, ballets, films, and works of sculpture and painting. Born in Odense, he suffered from poverty and neglect during his childhood, and when he was 14 years of age he ran away to Copenhagen. There he worked for Jonas Collin, director of the Royal Theater, until Collin raised money to provide him with an education.
Andersen had poetry and prose published and plays produced beginning in 1822. His first success was "A Walk from Holmen's Canal to the East Point of the Island of Amager in the Years 1828 and 1829" (1829), a fantastic tale imitative of the style of German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann. Andersen's first novel, The Improviser (1835; translated 1845), was well received by critics, and his first book of fairy tales was published the same year. Andersen traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Africa and continued to write novels, plays, and travel books, but it was his more than 150 stories for children that established him as one of the great figures of world literature.
Andersen's tales of fantasy, which include The Little Mermaid,
The Red Shoes,
The Snow Queen,
The Emperors New Suit and The Ugly Duckling have kept generations of children captivated and entertained.