Dickens and Andersen: A True Tale of Admiration and Intolerance

Authors Charles Dickens and Hans Christian Andersen were mutual admirers of each other’s writings. In 1847, the two authors had a chance to meet while Andersen was visiting England. Andersen wrote several dedications to Charles Dickens and was overly enthusiastic when Dickens invited him to stay at his home known as Gad’s Hill Place. After visiting the famous British author’s family, Andersen wrote a favorable memoir entitled “A Visit to Charles Dickens.”

Although Andersen was thrilled at the chance of spending time with Charles Dickens, the Dickens family had an entirely different attitude. Evidently, Andersen overstayed his visit. Dickens wrote a derogatory statement on the mirror of the guest room where Andersen had slept expressing the family’s sentiment that Andersen had been living in the Dickens residence for a period that was, to say the least, too long for comfort.

However, it was not entirely the fairy tale writer’s fault that he stayed with the family for approximately five weeks instead of the originally agreed upon one to two weeks. Charles Dickens actually invited Andersen to extend his stay without realizing that Andersen would take advantage of the offer. In looking at this historical meeting of the minds, it is possible that Dickens was overly critical of a naive Hans Christian Andersen. The fairy-tale writer was a lonely soul. He never married and did not have many friends.

Andersen continued to praise Dickens even after he wrote Dickens several unanswered letters. When looking back on historical figures, it is important to look at their personal lives and their literary efforts. Dickens was to live with a mistress shortly after Andersen left the British author’s so-called happy home. Andersen lived a relatively innocent lifestyle suitable to the character of a relatively uneducated genius with an extraordinary knack for inventing enchanting tales.
Source: theguardian.com