By Corrie Glanville
Born to a poor cobbler in the slums of Odense, Denmark in 1805, Hans Christian Andersen became one of the most popular authors of his time. While his first ambition was to act, Andersen struggled in the theatre. He began writing in his 20s, but did not achieve success with his beloved fairy tales until his 40s. Many critics cite Andersen as a true innovator; he broke with literary tradition by utilizing the idioms and construction of less formal spoken language. Unlike the Grimm’s tales, set once upon a time in faraway places, Andersen grounded his stories in Copenhagen and other contemporary settings, mixing the fantastical with the ordinary. And while children everywhere still love his tales of Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid, Andersen himself never married nor had children.
To celebrate the arrival of Robert Lepage’s visionary The Andersen Project, take our quiz and see how much you know about the famed Danish storyteller and his timeless tales…
1. What famous character from an Andersen fairy tale is depicted in a sculpture by the Copenhagen harbor?
b. The Little Mermaid
c. The Ugly Duckling
2. What tale did Andersen write for renowned soprano Jenny Lind?
a. The Little Match Girl
b. The Wild Swans
c. The Nightingale
3. What film adaptation of an Andersen tale was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture?
a. The Little Mermaid
b. The Red Shoes
c. The Snow Queen