The animator of worlds

The animator of worlds
[on Wullschlager’s biography of Hans Christian Andersen]
An unmarried man, without family of his own, he was dependent, emotionally and physically, on others until the day of his death, demanding assurance, consolation, praise and home comforts. In his sixties, he was described by an English visitor to one of his surrogate families as “a child … entirely egotistical, innocently vain, the centre of life, interest, concern and meaning to himself”. And after his death the great Danish critic, Georg Brandes, perhaps the first to appreciate quite how extraordinary and innovative his stories were, wrote that “Andersen’s mind was wholly filled by himself”.
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