I.Q. of Famous People

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Hans Christian Andersen

Born: 1805
Died: 1875
Nationality: Denmark
Description: writer / poet
IQ: 145
Hans Christian Andersen, (April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark - August 4, 1875) was a Danish author and poet, famous for his short stories and his "fairy tales".

He was the son of a young sick shoemaker and his older wife. The family lived in a small room. Hans Christian showed an early developed imagination, which was encouraged by the indulgence of his parents and the superstition of his mother. His father died in 1816 and Christian was entirely left to himself. He stopped going to school. He built himself a small toy theater and stayed home to make clothes for his puppets, and reading all the works he could borrow, including those of Ludvig Holberg and William Shakespeare. He wrote The Little Match Girl, remembering the unhappy childhood of his mother in a poor family. Wishing to become an opera singer, he went to Copenhagen in September 1819. There he was taken for a fool, rejected from theatres and almost reduced to hunger, but he was taken into friendship by the musicians Christoph Weyse and Siboni, and later by the poet Frederik Hoegh Guldberg (1771-1852). His voice wasn’t good, but he was admitted as an apprentice dancer at the Royal Theatre. By doing nothing, he lost the favors of Guldberg, but found a new boss in the person of Jonas Collin, who became a friend for life.

The King Frederik VI, interested in this strange boy, took over and sent him for a few years at the grammar school of Slagelse. He published his first volume, The Phantom of the tomb of Palnatoke (1822), before having begun his studies. Very mediocre student and poorly disciplined, he remained in Slagelse in another school in Elsinore until 1827; those years, he said, were the darkest and most bitter of his life. Collin finally consented to consider him as educated and sent him to Copenhagen.

In 1829 he obtained considerable success with a novel entitled A fantastic journey on foot from the canal Holmen to the point of Amager, and he published in the same season a farce and a collection of poems. He began to have some notoriety when his friends began to despair that nothing good ever would come out if his eccentricity and his early vivacity. In 1833, he received a small viaticum of the king, and made his first long trip to Europe. In Locle, Switzerland, he wrote Agnes and Triton (Agnete Havmanden og), and in October 1834, he arrived in Rome.

In 1835 his first novel L'Improvisateur, went out and got a real success. The same year, in 1835, the first episodes of the immortal "Tales" (in Danish: Eventyr) were published. Other parts, completing the first volume appeared in 1836 and 1837. The value of these stories was not immediately charged, and they did not sell very well. A novel, "O.T." (1836), and a volume of sketches "In Sweden", saw more success, and in 1837 he produced the best in his new, "Seulement un bonimenteur."

He turned to the theatre where he only knew an ephemeral success, but showed his true genius in the charming entertainment in 1840, "Album without image."

Andersen was a great traveler. The longest of his travels in 1840-1841, took him through Germany (where he took for the first time the train), Italy, Malta and Greece to Constantinople. The trip back was made by the Black Sea up the Danube. The story of this experience is "Bazar of a poet" (1842), generally regarded as the best of his books of travel.

However, the reputation of his "Tales" had increased; a second series began in 1838, a third in 1845. It should be pointed out that they were not intended to youth, but later they were perceived as such. Indeed, despite his extreme sensitivity Hans Christian Andersen has never had the ambition to write for children.

Andersen was now famous throughout Europe, although he did not enjoy an equal reputation in his own country. In June 1847 he went for the first time in England, there knowing a triumph. Charles Dickens himself accompanied him fir his departure. Shortly after, Dickens published "David Copperfield" in which one sees in his character Uriah Heep a portrait of Andersen.

He continued to publish, wishing to establish himself as a novelist and playwright, abandoning the "Tales" in the composition of which really flourishes his genius, therefore he continued to write new ones. In 1847, then in 1848, two new volumes appeared. After a long silence, he published in 1857 another short storie, "To be or not to be." In 1863 after another trip, he published another of his "travel books": "In Spain".

His "Tales" continued to appear in episodes until 1872. At Christmas that year, his last stories were published. The following spring, Andersen was seriously injured after falling from his bed. He did not recover and died quietly in his house Rolighed, near Copenhagen on August 4, 1875. He is buried at the Assistens cemetery in Copenhagen.

Hans Christian Andersen is also known for his cut-paper, whose motives extremely refined and fanciful are often taken in Denmark, especially for Christmas decorations. He also drew, thus reflecting what he saw during his travels. But the main ambition of Hans Christian Andersen was to be "Digter" (ie "poet" in Danish). H. C. Andersen was also amazed by the technological innovations of his time, often giving them an important role in his stories. The railway, public lighting, or telegraphy often appears at the bend of his texts.

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