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Delight, depression, binge: how the writer Andersen visited the writer Dickens
Delight, depression, binge: how the writer Andersen visited the writer Dickens
Anonim
As a writer I went to visit a writer
As a writer I went to visit a writer

Reading books by famous writers or poets of the past, sometimes you fantasize - if they all met each other, what would they talk about? How wise and interesting their conversation would be, I guess! But some creators of the past did meet in life, such as the advocate of poor children Charles Dickens and the famous storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. And out of this, I must say, the most unpleasant story.

Two top children's writers - two big child-lovers

Due to the fact that the character of "Oliver Twist" was a boy, and the novel ended very instructively - all the bad were waiting for reckoning, and all the good ones received an award - it instantly became a popular children's novel. Parents appreciated morality in him, children - adventure. The success of Oliver Twist made Dickens one of England's premier children's writers, although most of his work, if portrayed as a child, was only to grow up in hardship.

Poor but honest boy Oliver Twist Dickens wrote from himself
Poor but honest boy Oliver Twist Dickens wrote from himself

Dickens himself also tasted hardship as a child. He was born into the family of an official. But his father ended up in a debt prison, and the eleven-year-old boy had to support himself and his family, working from Monday to Saturday in a wax factory. He spent Sundays with his family in prison. Fortunately, a few years later, one of Charles's elderly relatives died. Father paid off his debts and found a place for himself. But his mother insisted that the boy continue to work at the factory - apparently, she did not believe that her husband would be able to stay afloat for a long time.

Fortunately, time has shown that Dickens Sr. is doing quite well with the service. Charles was taken from the factory and sent to study. He studied quite a bit: at the age of 15 he was hired to work in a law office as a junior clerk, but after a year, having independently studied the art of stenography, he managed to get a job as a reporter. He quickly became popular in this profession, and as a writer, he got married and had a bunch of kids. But with the children, bad luck was revealed. He liked them only while they were charming toddlers. As soon as they began to approach adolescence, Charles cooled down to the children. This story repeated itself over and over again with all nine of his (surviving) legitimate children.

Dickens became famous in his youth
Dickens became famous in his youth

If Dickens was from a decent (despite the history of debt) bourgeois family, then Andersen, on the contrary, was the child of typical marginalized of his time. When his parents got married, the bride's belly, as they say, was already on his nose. In addition, over time, Hans Christian's mother drank harder and harder. His father was a shoemaker who loved to fantasize about his aristocratic origin. The future writer had a lot of illegitimate brothers and sisters - one of the sisters worked as a prostitute. My aunt just kept a brothel in Copenhagen. Grandmother, meanwhile, was in prison for fornication - more precisely, for having children out of wedlock, and grandfather was famous as a city madman.

Hans Christian himself was obsessed with the idea that he would one day become famous. Now it may seem that he clearly understood his talent and his fate, but his contemporaries saw in front of them a very awkward, nervous guy with a huge nose and tiny eyes, as ugly as those around him found Dickens cute with his thick brown curls and expressive black eyes.

The portrait painters tried to embellish Andersen, and still it is noticeable from the portraits that he was unprepossessing in appearance
The portrait painters tried to embellish Andersen, and still it is noticeable from the portraits that he was unprepossessing in appearance

Andersen was not only ugly, but also amazingly uneducated. In addition, he believed that his main talent was in poetry. Arriving in Copenhagen and settling in aunt's brothel, he knocked down the doorstep, trying to attach poetry. The problem with poetry was that he sincerely rewrote strangers in his own way. Naturally, the lines of classics and celebrities served as models. When the publishers pointed out this fact, the young man was sincerely surprised: would he lose money from them, or what?

One of the patrons, the financial director of the Royal Theater Colleen, believing in the young man's talent, sent him to finish his studies at school, arranging for him a royal scholarship. But at school, classmates openly mocked the over-aged student, and the director insulted and forbade him to engage in creativity. Andersen suffered and wrote desperate letters to the philanthropist; he was implacable, believing that the young man was simply too selfish. Finally, the director, having discovered Andersen's poem "Dying Child" (by the way, which soon became very popular) subjected the guy to such humiliation that a teacher was asked for the young poet. Colleen took Andersen back to Copenhagen and found private teachers for him.

The buildings in Copenhagen under Andersen looked the same as they do now
The buildings in Copenhagen under Andersen looked the same as they do now

The life of a young talent improved. The income was modest, but the works were taken for publication, the plays were staged at the Royal Theater (the same one where later worked as an artist, the famous illustrator of Andersen Kai Nielsen), the writer was willingly received by many wealthy citizens. And at the age of 33, the king of Denmark generally appointed him a lifetime scholarship for his contribution to the country's culture! But the memories of four terrible years at Andersen's school did not leave, and now he did not love children with all his heart.

Like Dickens, despite all the diversity of his work, many people perceived Andersen as a children's storyteller. His books were readily translated in England, adding to the already cute sentimental syrup plots just from himself. Dickens, himself a very sentimental man, read them with great pleasure and considered Andersen a genius of children's literature.

Travels of the great storyteller

Andersen loved visiting famous people of his time. So, once he showed up on the doorstep of Victor Hugo in Paris, and at the same time made acquaintance with Balzac and both Dumas. For the sake of meeting Jacob Grimm, he came to Germany, but was seriously disappointed in him when he learned that Grimm had not read the tales of his Danish colleague. Later, the second of the Grimm brothers, Wilhelm, just a great admirer of Andersen, purposely came to Copenhagen to apologize for Jacob. The Dane got acquainted with Heinrich Heine (and did not like him very much), and with King Maximillian of Bavaria.

One of the brothers Grimm adored Andersen's tales, the other did not even read them
One of the brothers Grimm adored Andersen's tales, the other did not even read them

It is not surprising that, having received a letter from Dickens with compliments to his talent and an invitation, on occasion, for a week or two to live in the Dickens country house, Andersen immediately packed up and left. He was not even embarrassed by his complete ignorance of the English language. To be honest, Dickens' letter was not so unexpected. Andersen adored his work and, making a nodding acquaintance with a colleague at a reception in London, bombarded him with letters for eight years - he really wanted to be friends. Dickens rarely answered, but nevertheless, apparently, decided that it was worth getting to know each other better.

I must say, the moment for the Andersen phenomenon was so-so. First, Dickens had financial problems: he was terribly careless in his business. Secondly, the wife found out about the existence of a parallel concubine, and the atmosphere in the house was still the same. Andersen, however, did not notice any tension and generally considered that he was very welcome. If so, why not stay for five weeks instead of two?

After the first week, Dickens fled to London, leaving his family to somehow deal with the guest themselves. The guest, meanwhile, did not get tired of striking the imagination of the hostess and the children. He literally rolled around the lawn sobbing because some newspaper published a negative review of his story. Before the two-hour cab ride, he carefully hid money and a watch from the cabman thief in his boots, as well as, according to Dickens, a notebook, scissors, letters of recommendation and whatnot. As a result, he rubbed his legs, sitting in the cab, bleeding and sobbing again.

As a guest, Andersen puzzled Dickens
As a guest, Andersen puzzled Dickens

During the five weeks of his stay, Andersen managed to enter into: delight from English hospitality, depression from incomprehensibility, binge and, finally, a state of falling in love with Mrs Dickens, who, in the meantime, did not know how to hint that it was time to and an honor to know.

Finally, Dickens returned from London to personally, at dawn, collect the guest's things, put him in a carriage, which Dickens also drove personally, and take him to the station. Forgiveness, the Englishman handed the Dane a detailed plan of how to get from London to Copenhagen. After the guest left, Dickens hung up a handwritten tablet in one of the rooms, which said that Andersen himself lived here for a month and a half, and this time seemed to the owners of the house an eternity.

But Andersen spoke very warmly about his visit to the Dickens' house. I admired the mutual love of the owners, their hospitality and, separately, as the highest manifestation of care - throwing him with things at dawn into the carriage and the handed departure plan.

On the books of Andersen, I must say, I grew up "Fairy King" Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was declared insane for his hobbies … But this is a separate and very sad story.

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