Hans Christian Andersen

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Overview - Guide and Study

ANDERSEN, Hans Christian (1805-75) Danish writer of fairy-tales and novelist. Andersen is best known for his use of the fairy-tale form to express emotions both simple and very highly complex. He is a world-wide children's classic, and is read almost equally widely by adults. His six novels are hardly known, but have merit. The Improvisatore is an excellent romance, and O.T., his best novel, is a psychological study.

Selected Books & Recommended Reading
The Angel
The Bell
The Emperors New Clothes
The Fir Tree
The Happy Family
The Little Match Girl
The Little Mermaid
Little Tuk
The Nightingale
The Old House
Ole Lukoie
The Princess and the Pea
The Red Shoes
The Shadow
The Snow Queen
The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Hans Christian Andersen was raised in the very poor neighbourhood in Odense. His father, Hans Andersen, was something of an eccentric and worked as a cobbler, earning very little money. His mother, Anne Marie Andersdatter, worked as a domestic and did laundry, despite her lack of formal education she did plant the seed of fairy tales for her son. As a nod to this influence he later featured her in some of his stories. His mother's life descended into tragedy and due to excessive drinking she died in 1833 . His sister Karen Marie is believed to have been a 'lady of the night' for some time and barely kept contact with the family

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This page gives a brief overview and critical appraisal of the authors work.
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