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


Lectures by Rasmus Nielsen
Georg Brande's Dissertation
A tribute on the 50th anniversary
An Extended Journey in Europe

1869: Lectures by Rasmus Nielsen

In this year

Release of the second edition of En Nat i Roskilde (One Night in Roskilde).

18 January

Receives from ten Kate a versified translation (Dutch) of the fairy-tales.


HCA's contributions to The Riverside Magazine are translated by Anna Raasløff, daughter of Waldemar Raasløff, the former envoi in Washington. A total of 12 of HCA's little stories are thus released in America before they are available in Denmark.

3 February

Reads aloud at a concert for ladies and gentlemen at the Students' Association.

10 February

Harald Scharff, who HCA had, of late, once again socialized with quite a bit, announces that he is to be engaged to Camilla Pedersen, daughter of the grocer Søren Pedersen.

"I feel this young friend is lost now"
(the diary, same day).

Abandons the idea of taking Scharff with him to Vienna during the up-coming Summer. Suddenly feels cut off from youth and is saddened by the thought of old age.

"I feel very disturbed, quite nervous and have a feeling in my legs as though I were walking on stilts and about to fall"
(the diary, 12th).

19 February

At the university HCA hears Professor Rasmus Nielsen lecture on the fairy-tales.

20 February

Attends the engagement party for Scharff.

Hears on the same day that Caroline David (Georg Brande's lover) has left her husband and is staying with the Collin family for a few days.

HCA later sees her and her children (on 3rd May) at a dinner held by the Collins.

2 March

Reads aloud at The Danish Society.

3 March

Reads aloud at the society 'Det Gode Minde' (The Good Memory) at Vaisenhuset.

7 March

Hears that Clemens Petersen, one of the most prestigious critics, whose reviews of the fairy- tales HCA had read with great interest, had been banished from the country two days earlier by the police. The next day he hears more:

"Apparently he was involved with the boys at the school where he teaches, or so they say. If only it were lies all of it! What will become of the poor man, without money, in foreign countries"
(the diary, 8th).

After speaking with Mrs Drewsen and Mrs Heiberg about Clemens Petersen, HCA notes in the diary on 15th:

"feel he has sinned, but that the punishment is unforgivably harsh".

30 March

Carl Bloch begins painting a portrait of HCA.

2 April

After a great deal of recognition on his birthday (receiving, amongst other items, an embroidered pillow from his friend Anna Bjerring), HCA is invited by Anton Rubinstein to his debut concert. Later, HCA sees Rubinstein privately, and is also invited to his next concert on 6th at Casino:

"Rubinstein played wonderfully [...] I felt filled with the genius, taste and strength that is his"
(the diary, 6th).

Also attends Rubenstein's final concert on 16th.

30 April

Attends a lecture by Professor Rasmus Nielsen on the topic: folktales/literary versions of these, where HCA's story "Hvad Fatter gjør" (What the Old Man Does) is used as subject matter.

16 May

Takes part in an outing to the country home of the Henriques family, at Klampenborg.

1869: Georg Brande's Dissertation

25 May

Final sitting with Bloch.

"The portrait does not show the expression that I had wished . The hair has also been made more grey. Moreover, he has painted a grease stain on my clothing"
(diary, same day).

Henriques buys the painting for 200 rdl.

3 June

Receives a visit from Georg Brandes.

8th - 10th June

Visits the Henriques family at Petershøj, Klampenborg.

14th - 16th June

Moves out of his lodgings at Miss Hallager's.

16th June - 6th July

At Basnæs. Here he sees, for the first time, the obelisk which the people belonging to the estate had raised in May 1868, in honour of Jacob Brønnum Scavenius. HCA had written the text for it.

6 July

Is back in Copenhagen. Moves in with the Melchior family at their home 'Rolighed'.

11 July

The magazine Illustreret Tidende brings the first part of an article by Georg Brandes on HCA's fairy-tales. In a letter to HCA concerning this article, dated 10th, Brandes comments:

"Of all writers, you in particular have proved the critics wrong, provided substance to all the vulgar prejudice against their work, brought scorn upon it and discredit".
(the diary, 12th).

HCA is most indignant at this "falsification", but counters Brandes in a letter which is also very compliant and praises his article:

"With sagacity and with the fervour of youth, you have managed to disclose the very heart and soul of the children who are mine in spirit"
(letter dated 13th July).

But Brandes will not be swayed in what he feels is the crux of the matter. In a reply dated 19th, he continues the attack:

"You have greatly damaged the position of critics in this so little developed country, difficult enough as it was. Your contribution has helped to spread the opinion that enmity is his inspiration and that he marches with a bodybelt of snakes".

HCA rounds the discussion off with a reply dated 21st, in which he withholds his right to expel the harsh criticism from the temple. But at the same time he praises Brandes for seeing "with the eyes of the heart and the intellect" and for being "like a good doctor for many". However, HCA also begrudges the fact that Brandes had not found it necessary to mention in his dissertation some of the stories which HCA himself feels are relevant, e.g. "Dryaden" (the Wood Nymph) (which HCA had, after all, read aloud for Brandes). HCA feels that this work draws out "the poetry in all the material which characterises our age". He also feels that ""Vinden fortæller" (The Wind Tells...) is important because of its language and as it reflects the essence of that which is Danish".

14 July

While HCA applies the finishing touches to the story "Hønse-Grethes Familie" (Chicken Grethe's Family), whilst staying with the Melchiors at "Rolighed", Moritz Melchior reads aloud from the newly discovered and just released memoirs of Leonora Christina, Jammersminde . HCA had in fact heard of the manuscript's existence as early as his stay in Vienna in March 1846.

18 July

Part 2 of Georg Brande's thesis on HCA's adventures is released.

25 July

The final part of Brande's thesis is printed in a supplement to the magazine Illustreret Tidende. HCA comments on this;

"It is written sagaciously and well-meant, but not quite complete enough"
(the diary, same day).

HCA's opinion of Brande's article did not, however, prevent him from using it to promote himself with regards to his American publishing contact, Horace E. Scudder (in a letter dated 12th July).


Outings to Klampenborg and in to town, e.g. to see the arrival in Copenhagen of the newly married crown prince (the later Frederik VIII) and his wife (the Swedish Princess Louise). The Brandt family, with whom HCA had stayed in Amsterdam, also arrive for a visit to Rolighed. HCA is also sought out whilst here by an American who is trying to raise money to start a university in Texas. HCA refuses to contribute on the grounds that he has no capital (!), but promises to donate books or a manuscript. Also Carlos O'Neill pays a visit at Rolighed.

16 August

Goes to the Henriques family at Petershøj. Visits the composer Asger Hammerich, who returns to see HCA on many occasions in the following period of time.

25 August

HCA moves in at Hotel d'Angleterre, on the 2nd floor, facing the square. In the following week there is an outing to the Collins' in Hellebæk.

31st August - 2nd September

Sits for Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, who once again paints his portrait.

1869: A tribute on the 50th anniversary


The "Author's Edition" of HCA's works, consisting of 10 volumes, organised by Scudder, is released gradually in America (Boston / New York). A similar collected edition had not been released in England. In the autumn of 1869, the first two volumes appear: Improvisatoren (The Improvisatore) and De to Baronesser (The Two Baronesses) . The third volume is to be Wonder Tales . Scudder devotes one volume to the fairy-tales and one to the stories (volumes 3 & 8 of the edition), the fairy-tales being intended for children, the stories for adults! Scudder wishes to print Billedbog uden Billeder (Picture Book without Pictures) together with the fairy-tales, as this combination has previously been available in America (in Denmark they are usually kept separate!). The Story of My Life appears in vol. 7.
The whole edition is concluded in 1871. Further volumes, which had been intended, had to be abandoned due to dwindling interest from the public for the edition.

4 September

The 50th anniversary HCA's departure from Odense town as a child. The event is celebrated first by the Hartmanns, who arrange a dinner. Later, he reads aloud at the Students' Association and is cheered there. In honour of this red-letter day, the executive committee of the association has erected a bust of HCA in the hall. As mentioned in the diary on the same day, it is placed; "amongst their famous men" (that is, in the reading room, near the busts of Ingemann and Wessel, and just across from that of Heiberg, Hauch and Baggesen).

6 September

On this the 50th anniversary of his arrival in Copenhagen, HCA is celebrated first by the hotel. Then Natalie Zahle arrives with two students and some teachers (one of the students remembers it - as told to Sven Alkærsig during a radio programme in 1950 concerning memories of HCA (cf. voice archives at Radio Denmark) - as though it were two of the oldest and two of the youngest students, and that there was another man present [it was Adolph Drewsen] and that HCA behaved rather oddly, swinging his leg - dressed in bell-bottomed trousers - right over the head of one of the little girls).
The delegation brings with them:

"in a basket of flowers a silver dock leaf with a snail on it, an allusion to "The Happy Family"" (den lykkelige Familie)
(the diary, same day).

A banquet is held at Vincents restaurant. On this day he is appointed commander of The Order of Dannebrog (2nd grade).
He is inundated with letters from the poor requesting money.

8 September

Is received in audience by the king and queen at Bernstorff Castle, then by the crown prince and his wife, and is thus able to express thanks for the order.

9 September

HCA visits the queen dowager at Sorgenfri Castle.

10 September

Off to Basnæs Estate, where the celebrations continue; there is a port of honour, with flags and coloured lamps, a great display of fireworks in the garden with HCA's name lighting up the sky, in colour. Present are also the families from Borreby and Holsteinborg, and Count Ludvig Holstein makes a speech in honour of HCA.

1869: An Extended Journey in Europe

22 September

Departure from Basnæs. HCA now commences a journey in Europe which will last almost 5 1/2 months (before leaving Copenhagen, HCA had fortified himself with 800 rdl., as well as letters of credit to the value of 3,600 francs. Earlier, he had planned on a budget of 2,200 rdl. for 9 months of travel, of which 300 were for the actual transportation costs). Overnights in Korsør and arrives at Glorup Estate on 23rd.

26 September

Departure from Glorup Estate, travelling via Strib-Fredericia to Altona/Hamburg. From Hamburg via Braunschweig and Leipzig to Dresden (arrival 2nd October).

3rd - 11th October

Guest at Maxen, the estate, with Mrs Serre. Clara Heinke and her sister are here at this time. Sees his fir tree and his oak tree once again (the latter is in the garden). Clara Heinke has hung wreaths of flowers on both trees.

13 October

Departure from Dresden to Prague. Continues on via Pardubitz and Brünn (where he makes enquiries about the home of some friends, the Neruda family, who are musicians).

17 October

Arrival in Vienna

"Vienna has for me always been a town marked by a high degree of police restrictions [...] In the old part of the town with the narrow, windy streets, I am in the Vienna I know, but if I wander outside, the ramparts within the suburbs have been removed, magnificent buildings have arisen, I am, I feel, in Petersburg, in Paris"
(the diary, 19th)
"The opera house, it is probably, with the exception of the opera in Barcelona, the most splendid theatre I have seen",
(the diary, 20th)

Whilst here, HCA meets Theophilus Hansen, the architect.

"he seems very ill-bred, but apparently a clever character"
(the diary, 31st).

Feels lonely at the hotel in the evenings,

"battles with sensuality, the Lord is my helper, certainly not myself"
(the diary, 31st).

4 November

From Vienna, via Linz and Salzburg (where he sees Paracelsus' and Mozart's houses) to Munich.

8th - 16th November

In Munich. Visits the painter Wilhelm von Kaulbach, who tells him that he still receives orders for the picture used to illustrate "Engelen" (The Angel). Kaulbach:

"said that the art-dealer in Vienna had become a wealthy man from this one picture"
(the diary, 9th).

Almost daily visits to the Kaulbach family. The painter Kaulbach calls him the King of Fairy-tales and wishes to create another picture based on HCA's fairy-tales. Visits the Queen Dowager Maria Hedewig of Bavaria.

16 November

Hears that Scharff's engagement has been broken off. Departure from Munich. Travels via Kempten to Zürich, making a short stop in Bern (where he meets the Danish vicar Carl Baggesen), then on through Geneva, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille and Toulon to Nice.

30th November - 31st January 1870

In Nice. On Christmas Eve, a tribute is made to him at the hotel. He reads aloud for the guests on Christmas Day and New Years Eve. Writes home to Edvard Collin, offering to pay 600 rdl. for Jonas, if he will travel down and join HCA for two months of the journey.

15 December

Outing to Monaco, but does not, however, go right in to the town itself.

17 December

Release of Tre nye Eventyr og Historier (Three New Tales and Stories) , including: ("Hønse- Grethes Familie" (Chicken Grethe's Family), "Hvad Tidselen oplevede" (What Happened to the Thistle) and "Hvad man kan hitte på" (What One Can Invent)).

31 December

HCA's assets are calculated to the amount of 15,288 rdl. Interest earned during the year amounts to 670 rdl., and 96 rdl. in tax have been paid. The loan to Henrik Stampe seems to have been paid off.

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