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Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a…

Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller (2000)

by Jackie Wullschlager

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I was enchanted in my childhood of Hans Christian anderson's the Little Match Girl, The Stead Tin Fast Soldier, the Tinder Box (and many more in comic form) that left a lasting impression on me. Reading this biography was a mind altering experience for me as it gave a face , personal traits and a detailed account of the intimate life of This giant of a personality that children as well as adults the world over have heard of . Also this book takes the reader in the social circles of Denmark, Paris , London In the 1920's and 30's that is a treat and an experience in itself . Hans was a son of a poor washing woman who came to Copenhagen to become famous as a writer, singer, actor and struggled for years to capture the attention of rich families who could help him socially and financially to be recognized. he is seen as a nuisance and a bother at times but slowly he kind of grew on me and I willingly went along with him through his life of hardship, fame, rejection in love, his travels , his solitary life and eventually to his death at the age of 67. my first biography of an artist was of Picasso and that led me to Hans Christian Anderson and I am on a roll now. ( )
1 vote sidiki | Jan 2, 2016 |
"He seemed ...to live in a world peculiarly his own, all his ideas, thoughts and actions differing from those around him", 20 December 2015

This review is from: Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Story Teller (Library Binding)
The reader comes away from this work with a vivid picture of the great Danish author. From his lowly birth, son of an illiterate washerwoman, his early love of music and theatre, his shyness yet profound self-belief which prompted him to leave home to make his fortune in Copenhagen aged only 14, Wullschlager conducts us through his life.
Despite his fairy tales and enjoyment of the company of children, Andersen was far from being merely the naive and child-like personality which some attributed to him. Using his diaries and accounts of those who knew him, the author shows his often depressive and difficult character, and his constant craving for approbation - "We are suffering a good deal from Andersen" wrote Charles Dickens when the latter came for a lengthy stay.
Andersen's work (not just fairy tales but novels, plays, travel works, poetry, and latterly tales aimed at a more adult audience) are shaped by events in his life, and in exerpts from his writings Wullschlager points out the parallels between them.
With a number of b/w photos of Andersen and important places and people in his life, this leaves the reader with a feeling that s/he knows and somewhat understands the writer. Most enjoyable and interesting. ( )
  starbox | Dec 20, 2015 |
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On 3 December 1867, a tall, lean, elderly man in an old-fashioned suit and a large coat arrived at Copenhagen station to travel, by train and steamship, to Odense, Denmark's saecond city, on the island of Funen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679455086, Hardcover)

Others before him collected and retold folk stories and fairy tales, but Hans Christian Andersen was the first to create them himself. The universal familiarity of such stories as “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes” shows how successful he was. By the time he reached middle age in the 1840s, in fact, he was probably the most famous writer in Europe, on familiar terms with kings and princes and eagerly read by a huge audience.
Yet the image of Andersen that has come down to us—that of the amiable, childlike storyteller—is bitterly at odds with the reality. In this groundbreaking biography, the first serious and comprehensive study of Andersen and his work to be undertaken in English, Jackie Wullschlager brings out the true nature of his life. Born the son of a dirt-poor cobbler and an illiterate washerwoman in a provincial Danish city, he indeed fought his way to fame in spite of his circumstances. But if his rise was astonishing, it was rarely happy. Lonely, sexually confused, vain, anxious and hypochondriacal, Andersen was driven by ambitions that, despite the power and brilliance of his work, prevented his ever being satisfied. A signal achievement of Wullschlager’s account is to show with great clarity how Andersen’s art—darker and more diverse than previously recognized—emerged directly from the complexities of his life.
Jackie Wullschlager has returned to all the original sources in Danish and German, and has followed Andersen’s footsteps across Europe. Her evocation of his world—Golden Age Copenhagen, the princely courts of Germany and the country villas of the Danish aristocracy, the languid warmth of southern Italy, which released his creativity—is unforgettable. She has recovered censored passages from his letters and journals that make plain how his deepest personal relationships, though often frustrated, were with other men. In her words, Andersen emerges in all his fascinating, cross-grained charm and gawkishness, his desperation and his occasional joy, as a writer—and a man—quite unlike any other.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:42 -0400)

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Chronicles the life of nineteenth-century Dutch author Hans Christian Andersen.

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