Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hans Christian Andersen: An Outsider's Tale

Found a nice article about HCA which draws primarily from the biography Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller by Jackie Wullschlager. (And in building this link I discovered that the paperback is currently 58% off cover price at $8.90 on Amazon. Don't know for how long, but that's a great price on a new book.)

Read the entire article at: Hans Christian Andersen: An outsider's tale by Bruce Emond.

The world's most famous storyteller - his fascinating tales were favorite bedtime reading for the children of his era in the 19th century, and more recently have been given the Disney treatment for millions more around the world - lived a life that was not so much a fairy-tale, replete with a neat, all-ends-tied-up ending, but a saga of struggles, loneliness and the quest to find himself.

Most of those who read his stories know little about Andersen the man, save for him being Danish (there was a schmaltzy Hollywood biopic many years ago starring Danny Kaye) or, perhaps, for the younger generation, the oft-repeated intriguing rumor that he had homosexual tendencies in a time when it was still a love that dared not speak its name.

There have been few biographies of Andersen written in English, the most comprehensive written by journalist Jackie Wullschlager in 2000. Drawing on Andersen's own memoirs, his personal papers and contemporary accounts from his lifetime, Wullschlager portrays a brilliant man who was driven to succeed despite being riddled by neurosis and a complicated array of emotions - oversensitive, proud and quick to take offense - that sometimes worked against him.

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