The Hans Christian Andersen Center

Spelling difficulties

- Because of the many gross misspellings, particularly in Andersen's diaries and almanac notes, but also to some extent in his manuscripts, it has often been suggested that he could be dyslexic. Recent linguistic investigations (see for example Preben Kihl et.al.: "Hans Christian Andersen's spelling and syntax: Allegations of specific dyslexia are unfounded" in Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33, 2000) do not confirm this assertion. Andersen's spelling problems - which are most marked in private jottings, where he did not take pains! - are probably particularly due to the fact that his childhood school attendance was too haphazard and that only at a very late age (as a 17-year-old) did he receive systematic instruction (in the grammar school).