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Brev fra H.C. Andersen til Richard Bentley 10. december 1846

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Dato: 10. december 1846
Fra: H.C. Andersen   Til: Richard Bentley
Sprog: dansk, engelsk.

[Latinske bogstaver, det hele skrevet af HCA.]

Hotel du Nord - Copenhagen

10 December 1846

Dear Sir!

The friendly and flattering reception that my writings have met with in England, and of which I have been informed through the medium of different English journals that have noticed them - has pleased me extremely; I am thereby strengthened in the wish that more of my works might appear for those in England who like me as an author, and in as good translations as possible. I do not doubt that the previous translations have been correct, though that is a matter of which I myself am not able to judge, from my not knowing the English language, but I have been told - and it is also probable, on account of the Danish language being so little extended - that the English editions are translated from the german translations. But that a work with such a transposition from one language to another must loose something of its originality, must be apparent to every one, even with the greatest respect for the parties concerned int the translation.

I have read, and have also been told that the Mrs Mary Howitt's translation of the "Improvisatore" is translated most kindly, and with that taste one might expect from that richly gifted lady. If I lived in London, I should in union with her, be able to produce a translation quite like the original; - now I live in Copenhagen, - but here also I can contribute to the publication of my works in true and correct translations from the original language. Mr. C. Beckwith who has translated the "poet's Bazaar" also lives here, and I schould therefore, in union with him - under my superentendence and explations be able to do something.

Although several of my largest prose works have already appeared in England, yet I have thought that for a solid bookseller, it might be of particular interest to publish those and others of my works as the only editions translated under the authors superintendence and co-operation. Under this supposition I take the liberty of adressing myself to your respectable house with the following inquiries.

If you wish to undertake the publication of a selction of my collected works, and on what conditions on your part, if I deliver the English manuscripts. Such an edition would commence with my Biographical memoirs - as is the case at present in Germany with an edition of my complete works. To give the Biography exactly like that written for Germany would not be the case, as I would re write it for English readers, and extend it with several traits and declinations of public characters that I have met with, so that it would not be a direct repetition of the sketch I have given but a changed work, some few sheets larger than thte German edition which consists of - as far as I know - ten ordinary sheets. I would then, if the conditions, as I hope, be acceptable, engage myself, every time I write - a new work that may be suitable for translation into English, to transmit the translated English manuscript in such seasonable time that the book might appear in England and Denmark simultaneously. In case that your may be disposed to enterinto such an arrangement and honor me with your anser - I beg that you will state the renumeration per sheet of sicteen pages, to give me an inventive view thereof by referring to some printed English book that may be had. With the greatest respect, I am, Dear Sir Yours truly

H. C. Andersen

To Richard Bentley Esqre.

P.S. Having finished this letter, I received your very fine printed edition of a "Poet's Bazaar", and the impressions of my picture, which in some parts resemble the Danish one, but however is no likeness of myself, I hasten to give you my most hearty and sincere thanks. It is a singular feeling to see the children of my soul and spirit in such a richly garb though in a language I don't understand. I have a sensation very like the hen going to brood swans and afterwards not able to follow them - but I will and must! In a few days I begin to learn english and when I next year visit England, I hope my dear Sir to express to you in english my thanks and affections - you have indeed given my great pleasure, would to God I soon may be able to return it. Yours truly H. C. Andersen

Tekst fra: Solveig Brunholm

[ Hotel du Nord, Copenhagen 10. December 1846.]

Dear Sir!

Den venlige og smigrende Modtagelse, som mine Skrifter have fundet i Engeland og hvorom jeg er blevet underrettet ved de i forskjellige engelske Tidsskrifter meddeelte Anmeldelser af samme, har glædet mig inderligt; jeg er tillige derved blevet bestyrket i det Ønske at flere af mine Skrifter kunde fremtræde for dem som i Engeland ynde mig, som Forfatter, og i saa god Oversættelse, som mueligt. Jeg har ingen Tvivl om at de tidligere Oversættelser ere vellykkede, noget, som jeg forøvrigt ikke er istand til at bedømme, formedelst min Ukyndighed i det engelske Sprog; men det er sagt mig - og det er ogsaa rimeligt, paa Grund af det danske Sprogs ringe Udbredthed - at de engelske Udgaver ere oversatte efter de tydske Oversættelser; men at et Arbeide ved en saadan Transponering fra eet Sprog til et andet, maa tabe noget af sin Eiendommelighed, vil man, selv med den største Agtelse for de vedkommende Oversættere, vistnok indrømme. /

Jeg har læst og man har sagt mig at Mary Howitts Oversættelse af Improvisatoren var behandlet med Kjærlighed og med den Smag, som man kan vente sig af denne rigt begavede Dame; levede jeg i London vilde jeg i Forening med hende, kunde bringe en Oversættelse istand, ganske liig med Originalen; jeg lever nu i Kjøbenhavn; men ogsaa her kan jeg virke for at mine Arbeider komme ud i tro Oversættelse efter Originalsproget. - Hr. Beckwith, som har oversat Bazaren boer ogsaa her, og jeg vilde derfor forene mig med ham; under mit Tilsyn, med mine Forklaringer, kunde saaledes Noget bringes istand. Uagtet flere af mine betydeligste Arbeider alt ere udkomne i Engeland, har jeg dog troet at det for en solid Boghandel kunde have en særlig Interesse at udgive disse og andre Arbeider af mig, som den eneste under Forfatterens Medarbeide udkomne Oversættelse; og det er under denne Forudsætning at jeg herved tillader mig at henvende mig til det ansete Firma Richard Bentley med følgende Forespørgsel. Om De ønsker at lade udkomme paa Deres Forlag et Udvalg / af mine samlede Skrifter og da paa hvilke Betingelser fra Deres Side, naar jeg leverer det engelske Manuskript. En saadan Udgave vilde da begynde med min Levnetsbeskrivelse, saaledes som nu Tilfældet er i Tydskland med en Udgave af mine samlede Skrifter. Ganske give den for Tydskland skrevne Biographie, vilde ikke blive Tilfældet, jeg vilde for engelske Læsere omarbeide samme, forøge den med flere Træk og Skildringer af offentlig Characterer, jeg er kommet i Berørelse med, saa at det ikke blev nogen ligefrem Gjengivelse af den Skizze jeg har leveret, men et forandret Arbeide; [overstr: der troer jeg, kan læses, som en Histoire uden just at] nogle Ark større end det tydske, der saavidt jeg veed er 10 almindelige Ark.

Jeg vilde dernæst, naar Betingelserne, som jeg haaber, blive antagelige, forpligte mig til, hver Gang jeg udgav et nyt Arbeide, der kunde egne sig til Oversættelse for Engeland, at afsende det oversatte engelske Manuskript saa betimeligt, at Bogen kunde udkomme i Engeland og Danmark omtrent samtidig./

Saa fremt De vil gaa ind herpaa og beære mig med Svar, (Hotel du Nord i Kjøbenhavn) beder jeg Dem ved Opgivelse af Honoraret per Ark af 16 Sider, at gjøre Beregningen anskuelig for mig ved at henvise til en eller anden trykt engelsk Bog, som kan faaes.

med udmærket Høiagtelse, Deres hengivne H. C. Andersen.

Tekst fra: Solveig Brunholm (microfilmscan, 13, 101-04)