In 1835 his breakthrough, a contemporary novel "The Improvisatore" (or Life in Italy), was published on April 9th in Denmark and in the same month, translated into German, "The Youth and Dreams of an Italian Poet". This modern genre of contemporary novel established HCA's reputation in Europe.

On May 8th his first fairy-tales were published: "Tales, told for children, First Booklet". This volume contains some well known tales, like "Princess on a Pea", "Little Ida's Flowers" and "The Tinder Box".
On December 16th the second volume was published: "Tales, told for children, Second Booklet", including "Thumbelina", "The Naughty Boy" and "The Travelling Companion". 
In 1836 his novel "O.T." was published. The O.T. here stands for Odense Tugthus (prison), but are also the initails of the novel's hero, Otto Thostrup.
On the 7th of April 1837 the "Tales, told for children, Third Booklet" was published, including "Little Mermaid" and "The Emperor's New Clothes".
The first release of his novel "Only a Fiddler" was on November 22nd 1837 and this will be the last in the contemporary novel genre. In 1838, on October 2nd, the "Tales, told for children, New Collection, First Booklet" was published, including "The Daisy", "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" and "The Wild Swans" and about a year later, on October 19th 1839,  the "Tales, told for children, New Collection, Second booklet" followed. Included are "The Garden of Paradise", "The Flying Trunk" and "The Storks".


Most of the designs in the first deck show a signature. It reads "Th J". The name of the artist is not mentioned anywhere in full.

In the second deck only the same signature is visible on the Ace of Spades and Clubs and partly on the Ace of Diamonds. It's to be the same "Th J". In the accompaning leaflet there's no mention of this artist.


The Ace of Diamonds doesn't show a scene from a fairy tale, but the house in Odense where HCA was born.

Hans Christian Andersen, settled as a writer now, begins a series of journeys with a first, short trip to Sweden in 1839, that lead to the publication of his journal "Picture Book without Pictures" on December 20th of that year.

In 1840 he leaves Denmark for almost a year. His journey takes him to Germany first. The stretch from Magdeburg to Leipzig was his first encounter with travelling by train and he was overwhelmed by the sensation. Then onward towards his favourite Rome and later Naples. Unlike 6 years before, he travels on this time.....by steamship.....to Malta, Syria, Athens and Constantinopel, where he arrives on April 25th 1841. The return, also mainly by boat, goes through Bulgaria, Romania to Budapest and from there on back to Copenhagen, where he returns on the 22nd of July.

He resumes his writing and on December 20th the "Tales, told for children, New Collection, Third Booklet" was released. It includes "Willie Winkie", "The Rose Alf", "The Swineherd" and "The Buckwheat".
Four months later he publishes "A Poet's Bazaar", in which he describes his great journey through Europe and the Orient.



Fortunately this second deck came with an explanatory leaflet:

The Ace of Spades represents a scene from "The Tinder Box".

The Ace of Hearts from "Little Willie Winkie".

The Ace of Clubs from "Clod Hopper"

The Ace of Diamonds shows "Thumbelina".

BUT......it gives no information about the Joker!
Maybe from "The Travelling Companion"?

It was brought to our attention that a game with the same designs also exists. It has no indices in the corners, but large white numbers against a black background in the corners.


Between August 9th and 20th 1843 a famous Swedish singer, Jenny Lind, visits Copenhagen. HCA spends time with her almost every day. When the Tivoli Gardens are opened on August 15th he has probably attended the occasion together with Jenny Lind. And....he falls in love with her. But just like his earlier infatuations, this love doesn't bring him the married life, that he so desperately seeks.......

An entry in HCA's diary from early August 1836, probably inspired by the forthcoming marriage of his friend Edvard Collin, reads:
"Almighty God, you're all I have, my fate is in your hands. I must put my faith in you! Grant me a livelyhood! Send me a bride! My blood craves love, as does my heart".

And in 1840, when he is awarded an annual grant of 400 rdl, he writes to a friend:
"And yet - it is not enough to be overjoyed, I need 1000 rdl. a year before I may permit myself to fall in love, and 1500 before I dare marry. And by the time this almost impossible wish becomes a reality, the young girl will be gone, swept away by someone else, and I'll be an old, dried up bachelor; such sad prospects [...] No, I'll never be rich, never satisfied and never - in love!"

In October 1843 he visits the Tivoli Gardens once more and greatly inspired he returns home to write "The Nightingale" in only two days. But did his inspiration come from the Chinese buildings there or was it the memory of the evening that he had spend there with Jenny Lind, a Swedish nightingale herself?

On November 11th the "New tales, 1st Collection" was published. It includes "The Angel", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Sweethearts" and "The Nightingale".


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