Hans Christian Andersen Quotes

Ankana Dey Choudhury May 6, 2019
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This write-up is an attempt to cruise through the life of a great artist, to have a better understanding of who he really was. Here are some of the best quotes by Hans Christian Andersen, in order to go a little beyond and peek into the psyche of a man who continuous to delight young minds even after 125 years of his demise.
In his lifetime, Hans Christian Andersen had a lot of patrons who helped him greatly in his early years of struggle. Jonas Collin, a director of the Royal Theater, sent Andersen to a Slagelse grammar school, which unfortunately turned out to be a harrowing experience for the author, as he was immensely discouraged and tortuously disciplined.
However, in spite of all this, Andersen wrote "The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave", "A Journey on Foot from Holmen's Canal to the East Point of Amager", a comic play along with an assortment of poems within 1822 to 1829.
It was probably this unconditional aid from philanthropic people that kept him going and helped him to draw little consolations with thoughts like,
"Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale."
In 1833, a small monetary reward from the monarch allowed Andersen to do what he loved most―travel around in Europe for the very first time. He craved to...
"To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote: To travel is to live." as he wrote in "The Fairy Tale of My Life".
And probably therefore, he frequently set out in his European sojourns after that, like he described his visits to Italy, Greece, and Constantinople in the poesy 'the Poet's Bazaar' much later, along with visits to places in Asia Minor and Africa.
With growing up came falling in love, and so the young Andersen fell madly for Ribort Voigt, whom he lovingly reminisced as...
"She has a lovely, pious face, quite child-like, but her eyes looked clever and thoughtful, they were brown and very vivid" ―The Book of My Life".
However, Riborg was clandestinely in love with a Poul, a local chemist's son, who she went on to espouse in 1831. Andersen never really got over his love for her, and a rather treasured missive, enpouched in leather, was found with the author at the occasion of his demise.
He did go on to harbor romantic feeling for another lady called Jenny Lind, a Swedish opera soprano, who further broke his heart by clearly etching out in a leaving letter to him, that all she saw in him was a brother.
After that, the craving soul of Andersen also turned the man to quench his thirst for being loved. He wrote to Edvard Collin, the son of Jonas Collin, proclaiming...
"I languish for you as for a pretty Calabrian wench... my sentiments for you are those of a woman. The femininity of my nature and our friendship must remain a mystery."
After that, Andersen's intimate affairs with Henrik Stampe, a Danish aristocrat, Carl Alexander, the patrimonial Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and Harald Scharff, a dancer at the Royal Theater also remained unyielding of any concrete results.
He also tried his luck with other women including Jonas Collin's youngest daughter Louise Collin, and another dame by the name of Sophie Ørsted, but failed as well.
Maybe this was the reason for the author, who kept detailed journals of his life, to note down at a juncture,
"Almighty God, thee only have I; thou steerest my fate, I must give myself up to thee! Give me a livelihood! Give me a bride! My blood wants love, as my heart does!"
He sought refuge in brothels for some companionship, which otherwise seamed to elude him. But at least the author's wish to be entombed beside Edvard Collin was granted, after the latter died and was buried beside the late author. Togetherness in another world was what Andersen perhaps sought.
His inner thoughts were fraught with convoluted thought processes which manifested itself by breeding fears of abstract kinds.
A harrowing tale about Andersen says that the author was so petrified of the thought that people will take him to be dead when he slept, and bury him while he was still breathing, that he left a handwritten note on his bedside table every night, saying...
"I only appear to be dead."
But even after all this, the author penned gratefully in his autobiographical writings,
"To be of use to the world is the only way to be happy."
He observed that...
"My life is a lovely story, happy and full of incident. If, when I was a
boy, and went forth into the world poor and friendless, a good fairy
had met me and said, "Choose now thy own course through life, and the...
...object for which thou wilt strive, and then, according to the
development of thy mind, and as reason requires, I will guide and
defend thee to its attainment," my fate could not, even then, have been
directed more happily, more prudently, or better.
" in "The True Story Of My Life".
He remained ever grateful to the Almighty...
"The history of my life will say to the world what it says to me - There is a loving God, who directs all things for the best."
He loved the all embalming effects of music as reflected in the following famous quote...
"Where words fail, music speaks."
And so, circa 1875, when he already knew his demise was near, post a fall from the bed in 1872 from which his body never recuperated, he approached a musician to design a melody for his funeral, which was in keeping with...
"Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with little steps."
Hans Christian Andersen's death is also believed to be cancer induced, as in 1872, the author had also been detected with the earliest symptoms of hepatic cancer.
Latter studies have led to deductions by academicians, by the likes of Jackie Wullschlager, a renowned journalist, who firmly believe that most of Andersen's tales were outcomes of his troubled life, and the author tried to depict his dismal situation in real life through the tumultuous and disconsolate twists that fate inflicted on his fictional characters.
For instance, when Edvard Collin couldn't reciprocate Andersen's love on the genuine account of being straight, Andersen's 'The Little Mermaid' echoed with the grieve of a mermaid who was separated from her beloved for reasons she couldn't help...
"She knew this was the last evening she would ever see him for whom she had forsaken her kindred and her home, given up her lovely voice, and daily suffered unending torment - and he had no idea of it...
...This was the last night she would breathe the same air as he, or look upon the deep sea and the starry blue sky; an everlasting night without thoughts or dreams waited her, for she had no soul and could not gain one."
And word's of Andersen himself, merely mouthed by the mermaid:
"If you looked down to the bottom of my soul, you would understand fully the source of my longing and - pity me. Even the open, transparent lake has its unknown depths, which no divers know."
Then again, in the tale 'The Ugly Duckling, one particular line was...
"I never dreamt of so much happiness when I was the ugly duckling!"
This was Andersen's way of expressing how he had never dreamed of rising from being a poor cobbler's son, subject to many untoward happenings initially, to become the Danish 'national treasure' with a regular stipend from the king himself.
Even in the story 'The Emperor's New Suit', the child's naive observation of the truth was Andersen's way of not only attacking the cliquish hypocrisy that had engulfed the Danish society at that point of time, but also a blatant pointing out of the fact that children were undoubtedly more morally endowed than all adults in the world, put together...
"But he has nothing on at all," said a little child at last. "Good heavens! listen to the voice of an innocent child," said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said. "But he has nothing on at all," cried at last the whole people.
That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, "Now I must bear up to the end." And the chamberlains walked with still greater dignity, as if they carried train which did not exist."
Hope you enjoyed these as much as you as you enjoyed reading tales called 'Thumbelina', 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier', 'The Red Shoes', 'The Fir Tree', and 'The Snow Queen'. May he live on in our memories forever, loved most ardently by the most innocent minds through his work.