Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, 1805, to his father, Hans, and his mother, Anne Marie. In 1819, when Andersen was 14, he made the move to the biggest city in Denmark to make it in the theater. In 1822, he submitted several plays to the Royal Theatre, but they were rejected, due to his lack of education and therefore lousy grammar and spelling. Jonas Collin, director of the Royal Theatre, noticed him and took an interest. He worked with the other directors of the Royal Theatre to pay for Andersen to be educated at a school in Slalgelse. Andersen entered the school, but because he had missed out on so much education, the other members of his class were significantly younger than him. He felt awkward and inferior, was teased by his classmates, and his teacher, Simon Meisling did nothing to help. He constantly humiliated Andersen and often called him stupid.
Andersen’s first book Improvisatoren (The Improvisatore in English), was published in 1835. Andersen began writing his fairy tales while the novel was being printed. He published his first book of fairy tales, called Eventyr, fortalte for Børn (Tales Told for Children), in 1835. It included the stories “The Tinderbox,” “Little Claus and Big Claus,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “Little Ida’s Flowers.” These tales were new and interesting; previously, tales for children weren’t exciting or fantastical. The tales became immensely popular, much to the delight of Andersen. His later stories, like “The Ice Maiden,” (1861), “The Psyche,” (1861) and “Aunty Toothache” (1872) were decidedly darker. When he became too ill to write anymore, he took to creating paper cuttings, which were like ornate, large, intricate snowflakes. When he turned 70 in 1875, it was obvious that this would be his last birthday, so it was celebrated both nationally and internationally.