Home / Famous people with dyslexia / Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen

What is Hans Christian Andersen loved for?

Hans Christian Andersen was a worldwide known story teller from Denmark. He is famous for the best fairytales we all have been told in our childhood – «The Snow Queen», «The Little Mermaid», «The Ugly Duckling» and many other ones. Hans was always honorably feted by royal families and loved by children across the world. Today, his books are being translated to more than a hundred languages all over the world, and the number of published copies of his works reaches millions of us. Hans brought happiness and joy to many generations so far. Andersen is best known as a writer of stories for kids. And there is no doubt he was an innocent and sensitive child himself. That is why some characters of his stories remind us of Hans so much! But what is undoubtedly special about his works is that he managed to express themes that transcend ages, cultures, and nationalities.

Christian’s life-path

Hans Christian Andersen was born on April, 2 in 1805. and was writing plays, travelogues, poems and novels during all the 70 years of his remarkable life. Hans wrote six novels, three autobiographies, five travels journals, and much more.

Hans Christian Andersen dyslexia

In his teenage years, Hans has tried his best as an actor and a singer, but failed. However, this made him known in southern part of Denmark, where he managed to make some good friends in Copenhagen instead. Later on his path, Christian gained national success, as well as his new friends’ loyalty and support in putting him back to school. Hans attended grammar school at Slagelse and then was admitted to Copenhagen University. His school years, according to Hans, were the most bitter and dark times he ever had.

Andersen’s contemporaries described him as quite ambitious, intelligent and sensitive writer with the painful past he was bearing for years. He was born in a poor family and remained poor during his life. His father was a shoemaker, and the family lived in Danish slums. When Hans was 11, his father died, so mother sent his son to work in order to support his family. Hans firstly worked at tobacco factory and then assisted the tailor, but was never happy about the jobs.

His infant school attendance was not promising anymore, mainly because of the amount of stress he experienced so far, and after the three years of struggle, Hans eventually left his home searching for a better life somewhere else. A young boy was wandering around Copenhagen watching people and studying the human nature on his own. He succeeded at his skillful learning of the societal processes and events, and of course that changed his mindset a lot. Andersen’s books are the perfect evidence of that. Hans loved so called “high society”, and was always honored by royal families, – in 1833 Hans received a traveling grant from the King, so he was able to experience his first journey through Europe.

By the time he died, Andersen was internationally known, and the Danish Government paid him an annual “national treasure” stipend, even though, Hans remained deadly poor during his whole life. He never looked royal – he had a long nose and his eyes were placed close to each other. Hans’ father always considered himself related to nobility with his mother telling him that their family had belonged to a higher social class in the past. Some theories also suggest that Andersen may have been an illegitimate son of King of Denmark, which is not proven to be true as well.

Dyslexia in Andersen’s life

According to many books of reputable writers, Andersen was dyslexic. One can also find a significant amount of proofs on the Internet, and read “Hans Christian Andersen’s spelling and syntax: Allegations of specific dyslexia are unfounded” article, or Corinne Roth Smith’s book “Learning Disabilities. The Interaction of Learner, Task, and Setting.”, that will tell us a lot about various views on the subject.

Andersen’s contemporaries claimed in their works that a storyteller has never succeeded mastering Danish language, and the study derived up to 4% of confirmed spelling mistakes out of Christian’s personal diaries and autobiographies. His early works give us a suggestion that Hans developed his learning and spelling style quite uniquely, but he had not that much of grammatical or syntactic errors. The personal diaries and letters of Hans had been studied by many researchers at the time, and still are now. However, there is no word said about his poems and plays. During his lifespan, Hans made lots of mistakes with different frequency and repetitions, and the figures of percentages of errors’ occurrence are not more that those of non-disabled objects of study, as long as much lower than those of dyslexics.

Nowadays, specialists would assume that all of the symptoms Hans had are to claim he was dyslexic, so there is no doubt he had the disability. Different studies conclude that Hans was a dyslexic, then they try to find some proofs as to that he wasn’t one. Anyways, the proportions of his errors match perfectly with those of people of normal spelling skills, not the dyslexics.

Either way, one has to take his/her time and read the original works of Andersen, because his stories written in the original language are very rich and sophisticated, full of uniqueness of the native Danish language, as well as full of the eternal values and ideas that came to us through the time and space and are still contemporary.

Check Also

Whoopi Goldberg’s dyslexia

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg’s dyslexia is an example of struggle with being labeled as “retarded” and not ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *