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The Hans Christian Andersen Center

Brev fra Horace E. Scudder til H.C. Andersen 12. juni 1868

Hop forbi menu og nyheder

Dato: 12. juni 1868
Fra: Horace E. Scudder   Til: H.C. Andersen
Sprog: engelsk.

Riverside, Cambridge, Mass. 12 June 1868

To PROF. HANS CHR. ANDERSEN

Dear Sir:

I beg pardon for delaying so long an answer to your esteemed favour of the 21 April, but I have wished to be able first to write more definitely with regard to Messrs. Hurd and Houghton's proposition, and I have hoped also to receive the three stories which you have been so good as to send through Miss Raaslöff.

They have not yet arrived but we have no doubt they will soon be in our hands.

I cannot help thinking that a more full examination of the Riverside will show you that your tales would not be out of place. N o doubt a magazine for American children would differ somewhat in its character from one published in Denmark or in Germany or even in England. lt is our effort to adapt the magazine to the wants of children in a new country, where European civilization is found, modified by the circumstances of nature and government. But there is always place in such a magazine for your stories, because there is always room, in the varied little public which we regard, for your books and especially for any thing new. Indeed I thought there could scarcely be higher praise given to one story than that pronounced by one of the most eminent of our literary journals, when it said, "Good and Bad Apples" in the March number might almost be attributed to Hans Christian Andersen without fear of dispute," and other stories by the same writer have appeared from time to time.

However, let us pass this subject on which I think we shall not fail to agree, and come to the other, more important one of our correspondence, namely, the publication here of a complete and authorized edition of your works, both of those like the Improvisatore, distinctively for adult readers, and of those like the Märchen in which children have the first interest, while their elders do not fail to find something deeper and beyond. It is the wish of Messrs. Hurd and Houghton to publish such an edition of your works, and to this end they submit the following proposition.

l. That you should furnish a complete list of all your writings, dividing them into the two classes indicated above.

2. That you furnish your published autobiography with the proposed addition of the last thirteen years of your life and the account of the interesting Odense festival. This may be in Danish or in German. And here let me say that it will not be necessary to send the old portion of the autobiography li that agrees with the edition in English, translated by Mary Howitt and published in London in 1847: dated at Vernet, July 1846, as I have a copy of that complete.

3. That the list of writings be accompanied, if you think best, by such notes, dates of composition, occasion of composition &c &c as may seem to you likely to interest your readers here. These comments will help to distinguish this edition and make it pre-eminently the authors edition. It is important also that a preface be furnished.

4. It seems desirable in sending us occasional new tales for the magazine and for publication in book form, that these should be sent in advance of their publication in Denmark or Germany, say three months in advance, to enable us to bring them out simultaneously, as there is much delay necessary to publication even after the stories are in our hands, and if they were to come over shortly after in their German or Danish dress, newspapers and similar publications would be able to give them publicity and destroy their peculiar value to us.

In return, Messrs. Hurd and Houghton propose to manufacture and keep always on hand, in the best style of art, a complete and authentic edition of your works, many of which are not now in print here: to advertise and circulate them widely all over our great country and to use every means in their power to make this edition the prevailing one in the United States. They repeat their offer conveyed to you in my former letter of $500.00 for twelve stories, and the same rate for occasional contributions, and in addition invite you to share in the proceeds of the sale of the standard edition of your complete works. They will pay you 5 per centum on the retail price of every copy sold. If the whole matter is thrown, as I presume it will be, into two large volumes, the price of each volume will be $2.00 probably, and your return will be ten cents on every copy sold. Such an arrangement seems to me one most reasonable for both parties, since you have a direct interest in the sale of every copy, and they are able to advertise the books freely and to secure a large sale. It is proposed that this agreement shall hold for five years after the date of publication of your works.

It should be stated, as doubtless you already understand, that the prices named above are in American currency, and while this is a little depreciated, it is also true that the price set upon books is higher, so that the proportion is equalized.

I trust that we may hear from you at your early convenience upon these points and that it may be our pleasure and our honor to be your publishers in America. I ought to add that in all cases translation can speedily and accurately be made here.

With many thanks for your friendly letter and renewed assurances of my great respect, Believe me, dear Sir,

Truly yours

HORACE E. SCUDDER

The above proposition is made, agreeable to our wishes

New York June 15th 1868. HURD & HOUGHTON

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