From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:


Attempts during Youth
1822: To The "Latin School" in Slagelse

1822: Attempts during Youth


HCA submits to the theatre a "tragedy of the fatherland", titled Røverne i Vissenberg (The Vissenberg Robbers). It is turned down on 16th June with a comment regarding lacking abilities "even as far as skills in the mother-tongue", but with mention of an "unmistakable aptitude for writing". A scene from the tragedy was printed in Liunges periodical, Harpen, on 9th August. This was the first time HCA had his name printed as an author.
But even before he learned of the theatre's opinion of The Vissenberg Robbers, he had written Alfsol, another tragedy in 5 acts (with subject-matter from Nordic Short Stories (Nordiske Noveller) by the 18th century writer and historian, P.F. Suhm). Rural Dean C. Gutfeldt, at the Church of the Royal Dockyards (the Navy) - yet another of the influential men HCA had sought out and gotten to sympathise with his well-being - encouraged HCA to submit Alfsol to the theatre.

April - October

HCA moves, with his landlady Madame Henckel, to Dybensgade 167 (later no. 20). Once more he was given a room with no windows, but was granted

" - unlimited access to the family's living room amongst the many (three) children". (Levnedsbogen (The Biography))

June: (advance publicity in the newspaper "Dagen" on the 12th)

Aided by an actor who puts him in touch with a typesetter at a printers in Copenhagen, HCA has his first book published; Ungdomsforsøg (Attempts during Youth), using the nom de plume Villiam Christian Walter (after Shakespeare, himself and Walter Scott). The book includes an autobiographical prologue, Alfsol, as well as a Walter Scott plagiarism, "Genfærdet ved Palnatokes grav" (The Ghost of Palnatoke's Grave) (a story about the woman "crazy Stine", inspired by Scott's The Heart of the Midlothian). The book did not sell. The printers disposed of the whole edition to a bookseller who attempted to sell it equipped with a new title page in 1827, but to no avail. The greater part of the edition was then destroyed. Only a few copies of the book now exist.
It was during this time that HCA first made contact with the Shakespeare translator, Captain P.F. Wulff, who later became a rear-admiral.

1822: 1822: To The "Latin School" in Slagelse

9 August

A scene from "The Vissenberg Robbers on Funen; a dramatic poem" is printed in the aesthetic periodical Harpen, published by A.P. Liunge.

3 September

Alfsol is deemed unsuitable for the theatre. But the rebuff includes a recommendation that HCA be sent to a "Latin school", the equivalent of a grammar school today, for basic education. This recommendation is repeated at a meeting of the theatre's board of directors on 6th September.

13 September

HCA is called to a board meeting, where the offer is put to him. He accepts gratefully. It is left to Jonas Collin to organise the matter. The money is granted from the trust fund; ad usus publicos, which is situated directly under the king and for which Jonas Collin is secretary. In his application to the trust, Collin states that the purpose of HCA's education is that he "become a useful citizen". This is repeated in the board members' recommendation to the directors, Prime Minister Schimmelmann and Møsting, the minister of finance

"As the said Andersen, who is completely without means, and lives entirely at the mercy of private benefactors, procured via his good-natured character, would become miserable and disappear from civil society, if he thus continued a languishing existence (pursuing a career in the theatre to no avail), and as there is in fact reason to believe that he, scientifically trained, could become a useful citizen, the board of directors (for the theatre) clarified for him the mistaken literary road upon which he had embarked, and promised him that it would, most humbly, recommend that he be granted humble support for the purpose of studying, on the condition that he solely devote his time and diligence to the necessary scholastic sciences".

400 rbdlr "notes" were sought for his annual expenses and education for three years, but the grant was set at 350 rbdlr. for three years. By ordinance on 19th August 1826, the allowance was extended by 2 years as a result of an application from Jonas Collin, and on 15th November 1828, by yet another year. It was decided that HCA be sent to the prestigious "Latin School" in Slagelse (equivalent to a grammar school) where the poets Jens Baggesen and B.S. Ingemann had previously been students. (Regarding Ingemann's impressions of the school, see his memoirs Levnedsbogen (The Autobiography), published posthumously in 1862). The philologist Simon Meisling, who was considered an authority in teaching methods, had recently been made principle at the Latin School. Shortly before his departure, HCA visits Collin at his private home. Collin was to be his guardian and HCA promises to write to him regularly.

26 October

HCA arrives in Slagelse. Because he lacks skills in most subjects, the school places him in the 2nd grade amongst boys aged 11-12. He lodges with Madame Henneberg, widow of the inferior court judge.

This year

In the same year, Ingemann - just married to Lucie Mandix - is employed as lecturer at Sorø Academy, now rebuilt and reopened and which in the following years becomes an significant center for Danish cultural life, especially regarding the development of romanticism (the critic Peder Hjort, the poets Ingemann and Hauch, later also the composer Peter Heise).
Although the period of schooling under Meisling turns out to be catastrophic, the close contact with Sorø and Ingemann are of immeasurable importance for HCA during his years at Slagelse.

Christmas break

Accompanies Meisling to Copenhagen during the Christmas break, where he visits Collin at his home.

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