Longfellow's Readers

Hans Christian Andersen. Letter to HWL, 24 March 1868.


Letters to Longfellow MS Am 1340.2 (140). Houghton Library.

Although they were enthusiastic about each other's work, Longfellow and the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) never met. In this letter, dated 24 March 1868, Andersen introduces his friend, the Copenhagen wholesaler Moses Melchior, to Longfellow and thanks Longfellow for having sent (decades earlier, in fact) a copy of Evangeline.

Andersen tells Longfellow that his "thoughts are often with you and my dear friends" and then goes on to praise America and specifically Longfellow:

"Were not the big ocean between us, then I would come to you, but the length of the sea voyage discourages me. Your country's rich literature becomes more and more known in Denmark; even the purely lyrical poets are also read here in my language, fairly well rendered. Thank you for the treasures which you have given us all, and keep in your kind memory one of your friends and admirers, Yours faithfully, H. C. Andersen" (translation by Solveig Brunholm, Hans Christian Andersen Center of the University of Southern Denmark).