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Monday, March 28, 2005
The peripatetic king of fairy tales turns 200

Hans Christian Andersen would be furious to know that the world remembers him best for a story about an ugly duckling. The intensely insecure Dane desired enduring fame-- but not as a children's author.

Born in 1805 in one of Denmark's poorest neighborhoods, Andersen rose to fortune and glory as a literary star.

He conceived his first international hit, the novel The Improvisatore, during a trip to Italy. Later journeys through Europe, Turkey, and Scandinavia inspired characters and plots in his novels, travel books, and plays.

Travel fueled Andersen's fame and sharpened his wit, but success never eased his restlessness or self doubt. Unlucky in love and painfully aware of his modest roots, he never stopped feeling like an outsider.

He sought solace in travel, wandering the world well into his old age. Andersen died in 1875, wealthy but alone. His work endured, however, and today his fairy tales "The Little Mermaid" are read in nearly 150 languages, from Abkhazian to Zulu. If he were alive, Andersen probably would'nt be satisfied. But for millions of readers, he has become what he most desire: a poet of the ages.

(abstracted from GEOGRAPHICA/by: Neil Shea)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:57 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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