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7 things you might not know about our classic authors

With all three Acts busy working on the Classic Novels season, here are seven fascinating facts you might not know about the original authors.

Did you know that The Little Mermaid is based on a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen? The animated Disney adaptation is about to celebrate it’s 30th birthday – it originally hit cinemas on 17 November 1989.

Although he’s most famous for his society plays, and the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde wrote children’s stories too. The Happy Prince and Other Tales is a collection of fairytales, published in 1888.

Did you know that Charles Dickens had a pseudonym that sounds slightly ahead of its time? In August 1834, his short story The Boarding House, was published in a magazine under the name, Boz.

Two of our classic authors were once friends: Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Dickens. The pair first met in the summer of 1847 at a posh party. The friendship was going great guns until Hans rocked up to stay with Charles – for five whole weeks. Apparently, Hans wasn’t the best house guest and the friendship fizzled out soon after Dickens got his spare room back.

Oscar Wilde passed away in Paris in 1900 after suffering from meningitis – the same infection that took the life of his only sibling, Isola, when she was just 9-years-old.

Perhaps an active imagination is essential for a great storyteller – but it caused Hans Christian Andersen some trouble too. He had many phobias – and one was of being buried alive. It troubled him so much that he used to leave a note on his bed to confirm he was only asleep – not dead – just in case.

And did you know that Charles Dickens was a real life hero? In 1865, the train he was on derailed while crossing a bridge near the town of Staplehurst in Kent. After helping his companions to escape, Dickens set about helping other survivors, tending to the injured for hours.