Lars Bukdahls Blog, den frie version 2.0
The Danish author of fairytales such as The Ugly Duckling first visited England in June 1847. He was a guest of the Countess of Blessington, who attracted the cream of Europe's intelligentsia to her gatherings.It was at one of these assemblies that Andersen was introduced to Dickens, whom he worshipped, calling him "the greatest writer of our time".Dickens, who reciprocated the admiration, visiting him at his lodgings the following month. Discovering that Andersen was not in, he left him a parcel containing 12 presentation copies of his books, of which the Olympia example is one.A cordial correspondence developed between the two and Andersen returned to England for a fortnight as Dickens's guest at Gad's Hill in the summer of 1857. Before his arrival, Andersen had written to Dickens, promising: "I shall not inconvenience you too much." But it was an invitation that Dickens would soon regret.The Danish man of letters, a tall, gaunt and rather ungainly character stayed for five weeks.Dickens dropped polite hints that he should leave. After he finally left, Dickens wrote on the mirror in the guestroom: "Hans Andersen slept in this room for five weeks - which seemed to the family AGES!"To the Dickens family it was eternal torment. Dickens's daughter, Kate, would later recall that Andersen "was a bony bore, and stayed on and on".He was, she added, "a social blockhead. Andersen never quite understood why Dickens ceased to answer any of his letters".