A Great Dane: Hans Christian Andersen

black and white abstract

Portrait of Hans Christian Andersen, painted by Christian Albrecht Jensen, 1836<br />

Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen photograph with his 4 children

Hans Christian Andersen and his four children

"Life itself," wrote Hans Christian Andersen, the first great modern fantasist for children, "is the most wonderful fairy tale." Like his own Ugly Duckling, the hopelessly gawky Danish storyteller underwent an extraordinary transformation: from poor provincial lad to globetrotting celebrity.

Inspired in part by the traditional "wonder tales" collected by the Brothers Grimm, Andersen boldly fashioned new stories that reclaimed a place for the magical in a world that increasingly prized science and reason as the measure of all things.

Where, according to Andersen, might magic lie? In the ocean's depths, where humans dared not venture ("The Little Mermaid"); at home, late at night, when toys were free to act out their destinies ("The Steadfast Tin Soldier"); and in overlooked nooks and crannies ("Thumbelina").

A Romantic to the core, Andersen believed that children, with their wide-eyed receptivity to life, were the likeliest to recognize the wonder that was, in fact, everywhere around us.


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The Nightingale and Other Stories by Hans Christian Andersen cover, gold writing on brown book board

Cover of The Nighingale and Other Stories

By Hans Christian Andersen, Hodder and Stoughton, 1910

The Nightingale and Other Stories

Written by Hans Christian Andersen

Illustrated by Edmund Dulac

1910-14

The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales by Elinor Mordaunt cover, a small village settled by the sea

Cover of The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales

By Elinor Mordaunt, Random House, 1971

The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales

(The Prince and the Goose Girl)

Written by Elinor Mordaunt

Illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen

1971

The Steadfast Tin Soldier illustrated by Fred Marcellino cover, a small toy soldier stands under a large christmas tree

Cover of The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Illustrated by Fred Marcellino, Harper Collins, 1992

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Written by Hans Christian Andersen

Adapted by Tor Seidler

Illustrated by Fred Marcellino

1992

The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen by Beth Wagner Brust cover, black cover with white paper cuttings

Cover of The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen

By Beth Wagner Brust, Ticknor and Fields, 1994

The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen

Written by Beth Wagner Brust

1994

The Little Mermaid illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger cover, a beautiful mermaid is saving a prince from the sea

Cover of The Little Mermaid

Illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, Penguin, 2004

The Little Mermaid

Written by Hans Christian Andersen

Translated by Anthea Bell

Illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger

2004

Visions of Childhood
A Great Dane: Hans Christian Andersen