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The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

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Danish poet and novelist Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) is best known for the dozens of fairy tales he wrote, including The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and The Snow Queen. Andersen's sense of fantasy, power of description, and acute sensitivity are strikingly evident in his autobiography. Andersen masterfully depicts the extreme poverty of his provincial childh Danish poet and novelist Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) is best known for the dozens of fairy tales he wrote, including The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and The Snow Queen. Andersen's sense of fantasy, power of description, and acute sensitivity are strikingly evident in his autobiography. Andersen masterfully depicts the extreme poverty of his provincial childhood and the international celebrity of his later years, and also provides insights into the sources of many of his most famous tales.


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Danish poet and novelist Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) is best known for the dozens of fairy tales he wrote, including The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and The Snow Queen. Andersen's sense of fantasy, power of description, and acute sensitivity are strikingly evident in his autobiography. Andersen masterfully depicts the extreme poverty of his provincial childh Danish poet and novelist Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) is best known for the dozens of fairy tales he wrote, including The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and The Snow Queen. Andersen's sense of fantasy, power of description, and acute sensitivity are strikingly evident in his autobiography. Andersen masterfully depicts the extreme poverty of his provincial childhood and the international celebrity of his later years, and also provides insights into the sources of many of his most famous tales.

30 review for The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mariangel

    Lovely memoir. Andersen met many famous people of his day. His descriptions of other countries make me want to read his travel books. My favorite part is the style, his wonder at life and childlike love and gratefulness towards all his friends and benefactors and towards God.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    As I taught a unit to third graders on folklore I decided to read Hans Christian Andersen's autobiography. I had read a children's version of his life in a reader at one time and wondered how much of it was true that he was a bit of an ugly duckling himself. While he didn't often fit in in his younger life he did travel extensively throughout Europe during his adulthood and much of his book explains that. He did have many friends but there did seem to be a sense of loneliness about him. It was fa As I taught a unit to third graders on folklore I decided to read Hans Christian Andersen's autobiography. I had read a children's version of his life in a reader at one time and wondered how much of it was true that he was a bit of an ugly duckling himself. While he didn't often fit in in his younger life he did travel extensively throughout Europe during his adulthood and much of his book explains that. He did have many friends but there did seem to be a sense of loneliness about him. It was fascinating to learn more about Europe at the time as he give insights into the cities he visits and the well-to-do people whose circles he traveled in. Interesting title - fairy tale of my life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Jarrett

    He writes better stories than he did his autobiography. It was interesting to read his conversations with people like Charles Dickens, Jenny Lind, his time with Mendelssohn and Strauss, but most of the book was traveling to a spot, being invited into a house of a locally known person and lots of lamenting about his reviews. I guess I was looking for more background on how he created the stories he's famous for, but he spent more time being sad over its reception and reviews of critics than how he He writes better stories than he did his autobiography. It was interesting to read his conversations with people like Charles Dickens, Jenny Lind, his time with Mendelssohn and Strauss, but most of the book was traveling to a spot, being invited into a house of a locally known person and lots of lamenting about his reviews. I guess I was looking for more background on how he created the stories he's famous for, but he spent more time being sad over its reception and reviews of critics than how he got the ideas. I will admit that I skipped a lot of the travel from city to city. It's a 589 ph book and that became tedious very quickly.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Woody

    An interesting tale about this iconic man who was the ultimate self-starter, rising up from a very humble origin to becoming one of Denmark's most famous authors. He was in many ways "The Ugly Duckling" in his fairy tales. In his early teens he headed to Copenhagen to try to become an actor. Anderson weathered years of criticism and difficulty achieving his dreams. He persisted though to the point where he became widely recognized and appreciated. The book starts in an interesting way, telling A An interesting tale about this iconic man who was the ultimate self-starter, rising up from a very humble origin to becoming one of Denmark's most famous authors. He was in many ways "The Ugly Duckling" in his fairy tales. In his early teens he headed to Copenhagen to try to become an actor. Anderson weathered years of criticism and difficulty achieving his dreams. He persisted though to the point where he became widely recognized and appreciated. The book starts in an interesting way, telling Anderson's amazing rags-to-riches story. It bogs down when he describes at length his many trips to visit nobility in surrounding European Countries. We learn that Anderson does not like excessive heat and that he is very sensitive to criticism. At the end, Anderson summarizes how his life has indeed been a fairy tale, and how we can all learn from the challenges we face. In his words "All the injustice I thought I suffered and every hand that clumsily interfered in my development brought good results after all."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve Shilstone

    Delightful visit with the highly sensitive passionate egotistical tale teller.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jose Sierras

    "Si de niño, cuando salí a recorrer el mundo, solo y pobre, me hubiese salido un hada prodigiosa que me hubiera dicho: escoge tu camino y tu meta, que yo te protegere y te guiare... no pudiera mi suerte haber sido más feliz." "Si de niño, cuando salí a recorrer el mundo, solo y pobre, me hubiese salido un hada prodigiosa que me hubiera dicho: escoge tu camino y tu meta, que yo te protegere y te guiare... no pudiera mi suerte haber sido más feliz."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Toktam

    He was wonderful and unique!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Kapasakalidi

    Andersen was amazing person and amazing writer !!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mailin

    (The version I read was a much shorter one. Read it for school.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    I'm on page 295, just so I remember when I get it back. This is an absolutely great tie-together between all the other books of this period I've read. And while Andersen wasn't perfect, and I hear he did things that offended polite society of that time, he and his life sound like me and mine in so many ways (and the results he got out of any given incident are very familiar). And I don't think that's a bad thing, mostly. Anyone who got to be Mendelssohn's friend is worth getting to know :) I'm on page 295, just so I remember when I get it back. This is an absolutely great tie-together between all the other books of this period I've read. And while Andersen wasn't perfect, and I hear he did things that offended polite society of that time, he and his life sound like me and mine in so many ways (and the results he got out of any given incident are very familiar). And I don't think that's a bad thing, mostly. Anyone who got to be Mendelssohn's friend is worth getting to know :)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tomàs

    No me ha entusiasmado, mucha información sobre personajes daneses de principios del siglo XIX que no aportan nada a un lector español del s. XXI.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  13. 4 out of 5

    Olga Weilert

  14. 4 out of 5

    Orvath

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lenka

  16. 5 out of 5

    The Literary Chick

  17. 4 out of 5

    Birthe

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ole

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mel

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lyazzat

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katheryne Larcher

  23. 5 out of 5

    M Lin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ana I

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carreen

  26. 5 out of 5

    patrick tan

  27. 4 out of 5

    David

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carla Andrea

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  30. 5 out of 5

    Iryna Gulin

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