From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:
1869A tribute on the 50th anniversary
An Extended Journey in Europe
Is back in Copenhagen. Moves in with the Melchior family at their home 'Rolighed'.
11 July 1869
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".
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.
Part 2 of Georg Brande's thesis on HCA's adventures is released.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
HCA visits the queen dowager at Sorgenfri Castle.
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.
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.
Departure from Glorup Estate, travelling via Strib-Fredericia to Altona/Hamburg. From Hamburg via Braunschweig and Leipzig to Dresden (arrival 2nd October).