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printImage of Devil mask, papercut by Andersen

Genius of Hans Christian Andersen

‘I have also written some fairy tales for children and Ørsted says that if The Improvisatore will make me famous, the fairy tales will make me immortal!’ Letter to Henriette Wulff

In May 1835, Andersen’s first four fairy tales were published under the title Eventyr, fortalte for Børn (Fairy Tales, Told for Children). The reception was mixed. Some saw their appeal immediately; others took longer to recognise their worth. Between 1835 and 1842, 15 further tales were published, many based on folk-tales which Andersen had heard as a child.

Enlarged image Image of Stage with ballerinas, papercut by Andersen Enlarged image
Image of Devil mask, papercut by Andersen   Image of Opening page of the manuscript of ‘The Little Match Girl’
Devil mask, papercut by Andersen
Copyright © Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Denmark)
  Opening page of the manuscript of 'The Little Match Girl', which Andersen wrote on 18 November 1845.
Copyright © Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Denmark)

For his second collection, Nye Eventyr (New Fairy Tales, 1843-48), Andersen wrote some of his most important and famous stories. He moved away from traditional folk material towards creating tales that came from his imagination. The words ‘told for children’ were omitted from the new title as Andersen sought to engage adults and children alike. He had found a genre in which he had a unique voice.

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Hans Christian Andersen's childhood in Odense
Hans Christian Andersen's childhood in Odense
Hans Christian Andersen, the outsider
Hans Christian Andersen, the outsider
Hans Christian Andersen, the struggle to belong
Hans Christian Andersen, the struggle to belong
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Hans Christian Andersen, the traveller
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Admiration for Hans Christian Andersen
Timeline of Hans Christian Andersen's life
Timeline of Hans Christian Andersen's life
'Hans Christian Andersen' by Jackie Wullschlager (PDF format) 169kb
'Hans Christian Andersen' by Jackie Wullschlager (PDF format) 169kb
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