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


Visiting Dickens

8 May

HCA attends a dinner party given by the politician C.C. Hall. Amongst the guests is Grundtvig, a Danish priest, poet, writer and historian. As instigator of the movement for enlightenment by the people, which led to establishment of the Danish folk high-schools, Grundtvig is a significant figure in Danish history.

17th - 20th May

Visits the queen dowager at Sorgenfri Castle, where he reads aloud from his new novel. The queen is moved to tears by the ending.

20 May

Release of At være eller ikke at være (To Be or Not To Be). The novel is released in English and German at the same time. It is a 'Bildungsroman' (novel depicting personal development) and a religious novel of debate, dealing with the intensifying materialism (the philosophical materialism) of the day. The novel also relates the crisis concerning the philosophy of life to the national crisis (the three year war).

1857: Visiting Dickens

30 May

Departure from Copenhagen for the purpose of visiting Dickens, who has invited him to stay. 1 day at Sorø Academy, 3 at Basnæs Estate, then via Korsør to Kiel. From there to Altona, Harburg, Uelzen, Hannover, Hamn, Cologne, Aachen, Brussels, Calais and Dover, arriving on 11th in London. Goes immediately to Dicken's country home, Gads Hill at Higham.

11th June - 15 July

Staying with Dickens, partly at Gad's Hill, partly at Tavistock House in London. Hears Händel's Messias at Chrystal Palace. Spends quite some time with the publisher Bentley and his family, occasionally staying a day or two with them at St. John's Wood. Is very aware that his lengthy stay is not appreciated by the other members of Dicken's family, especially the children. Learns, by and by, to speak and read a certain amount of English .

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