31 May 2014

The Relationship of Andersen and Dickens

From Suzi Feay’s review of Hans Christian Andersen: European Witness in this weekend’s Guardian:
The relationship with Dickens was fraught; it began well, but after a lengthy visit, a note was placed on their mantelpiece: "Hans Andersen slept in this room for five weeks – which seemed to the family ages!" . . .

[Paul Binding] points out many links between Andersen's novel The Improvisatore and David Copperfield, explaining the weak, unconvincing endings of each book as being due to "the writer having no experience at all of sustained union with a woman (Andersen), or failing to feel for a wife (and even children) that committed devotion in which he professed to believe (Dickens)".
Of course, I’d find the Dickenses’ sign more amusing if I weren’t entering my second week as a house guest. (Heading home Monday.)

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