Hans Christian Andersen I Oxford Open Learning

    Hans Christian Andersen

    Hans Christian Andersen

    The Enduring Appeal Of Hans Christian Andersen

    You may well have heard of Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish writer who was born on 2nd April 1805. He was a prolific writer, one that we know – in particular – for writing many fairy tales. So why, over two hundred years after his birth, is he so well-remembered?

    A Prolific Career

    Hans Christian Andersen wrote 156 fairy tales (and more besides) – examples you will probably have heard of include ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’. Even today, in 2024, we know these stories. They are firmly ingrained in many people’s upbringings, whether through being read to as a child or through films we might have watched which are based on the stories. For many of us, our childhoods consisted of being read stories and we remember them well into adulthood.

    An Influential Master

    Interestingly, many more modern children’s stories may be based on, or influenced by, Hans Christian Andersen. The Wind in the Willows is one such example, the story of four riverbank friends beautifully told by Kenneth Grahame. Also, Winnie-the-Pooh, as well as stories by Beatrix Potter and Lewis Carroll, are said to have been inspired by Andersen’s work. What a lot of these have in common is talking animals – and bringing inanimate objects to life. Even very recent films like Toy Story, could be said to have been influenced by the Danish writer’s vivid imagination.

    The writer’s legacy lives on, from the statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen to another in New York’s Central Park – but this is of Andersen with the Ugly Duckling! Amazingly, in Shanghai, China, there is a $13 million theme park dedicated to his fairy tales. Andersen’s tales have been translated into more than 150 languages – so if this doesn’t make him a successful writer, I don’t know what does!

    So, on 2nd April 2024, just after the Easter weekend, if you are sat munching your way through Easter eggs, you might want to dip into Hans Christian Andersen’s fantastical worlds. You never know where this might take you!


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