With the Late Grand-Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Charles Dickens and others. With Portraits and Memoir.
The fairy tales for which Andersen is now famous comprise only a small part of his lifework. Born in Odense, the son of a poor shoemaker, Andersen worked in a factory after his father's death. However, he soon displayed a talent for poetry and went to Copenhagen to pursue other outlets. Andersen's first collection of poems was published in 1830 and a second in 1831. Andersen complained bitterly about the lack of encouragement for his first volume of stories, Fairy Tales, Told for Children (1835). In 1843, he began the series called New Adventures, the title no longer addressing itself exclusively to children. His contemporaries received his novels and travel books enthusiastically. In his old age, Andersen said, "My fairy tales are written as much for adults as for children. Children understand only the trimmings, and not until they mature will they see and comprehend the whole." During his lifetime his talent was more esteemed more generally in other countries than in his native Denmark. Charles Dickens, for example, called the Dane "a great writer." Andersen died in Copenhagen in 1875 after a long battle with cancer.