From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:
1835The First Novel
The First Collection of Fairy-Tales
In a letter (dated 16th) to Henriette Wulff, HCA mentions that he has just written some fairy-tales, and that H.C. Ørsted has told him:
"that if The Improvisatore brings me fame, then the fairy-tales will immortalise me. Of all my writing, they are the most accomplished, but I do not agree".
Improvisatoren (The Improvisatore, or: Life in Italy) is published by C.A. Reitzel, HCA's usual Danish publisher. With this and the three following novels HCA places himself at the forefront of the new, modern genre, namely the novel, in fact the contemporary novel. As far as the Danish scene is concerned, HCA thus paths the way in literature, where otherwise only Ingemann had written novels, and these were historical. It was indeed the novels which initially won HCA fame in Europe.
The novel is also the culmination of HCA's efforts, during the 1830s, to write in a picturesque style (see also Skyggebilleder (Rambles in...) and fairy-tales such as "De vilde Svaner"(The Wild Swans). In a letter dated 16th March, he tells Henriette Wulff that his translator:
"Professor Kruse [...] says that I am the greatest painter and Ørsted says that I should have the brush as well as the pen".
Concerning the influence of the novel, HCA informs Henriette Wulff in a letter dated 29th April:
"Never before have so many people been so fascinated by a work of mine", and: "I am "on a wave"; but my heart is filled with gratefulness to the good Lord; I feel that all is a gift from him, a favour he has let flow in my soul".
HCA had demanded 200 rdl. in royalties for The Improvisatore, 100 in advance. Furthermore, he had wished for the book to be printed in the same format and with the same typesetting as the novels by Ingemann - i.e. he was aiming at the same type of broad, popular success that Ingemann had achieved with his historical novels.
Reitzel had received the manuscript early enough to make publication possible in February. However, as HCA could only provide 18 subscribers, rather than the 100 which were a precondition for the 200 rdl. in royalties, the actual release was delayed.
Release of Laurids Kruse's German translation of The Improvisatore: Jugenleben und Träume eines italienischen Dichters (The Youth and Dreams Of An Italian Poet) (also including a forword by Kruse), published by August Campes, Hamburg.
The publication must have been prepared at the same time as the planning of the Danish version.
Release of Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Første Hefte (Tales, Told for Children. First Booklet) including "Fyrtøjet" (The Tinder Box), "Lille Claus og store Claus" (Lille Claus og store Claus), "Princessen paa Aærten" (The Princess on the Pea), "Den lille Idas Blomster" (Little Ida's Flowers). The booklet cost 24 "skilling" (1/4 rbdl., i.e. equivalent of 25 Dkr. or approx. 5 USD today) and was, as such, what Edvard Collin later referred to as a "good deal edition". 2nd edition in 1842, 3rd edition in 1845.
With reference to the fairy-tales, HCA writes to Ingemann in a letter dated 10th February:
"I have included a couple of those fairy-tales which I myself enjoyed so much as a child, and which I believe are not well known; I have simply written them the way I would tell them to a child".
In his "Remarks"to the tales (in the edition illustrated by Vilh. Pedersen, volume 2, 1863), HCA says of these first tales:
"The style should be such that one hears the narrator. Therefore, the language had to be similar to the spoken word; the stories are for children, but adults too should be able to listen in. The first three fairy-tales are ones I heard during childhood, in the spinning room and during the harvesting of the hops; "Little Ida's Flowers"on the other hand, came into being one day while visiting the poet Thiele, when I was telling his daughter Ida about the flowers at the botanical gardens; I kept and adapted a few of the child's remarks when I later wrote the fairy-tale down".
June - August
Summer journey to Lykkesholm Estate, Odense and Sorø. At Lykkesholm he stays in a haunted tower room. On this matter he writes to Edvard Collin on 5th July:
"If ghosts do exist, then I hope they are bestowed, in the next world, with enough sense to avoid making appearances in front of persons with such a lively imagination that an event like that could be the death of them".
HCA also informs Collin of the young ladies who, all having read about Lara and Flaminia in The Improvisatore, "crowded around the poet".
Release of Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Andet Hefte (Tales, Told for Children. Second Booklet), including: "Tommelise"(Thumbelina), "Den uartige Dreng"(The Naughty Boy), "Reisekammaraten"(The Travelling Companion). 2nd edition, 1843.