When Andersen wrote the story of his life, printed here in its original form, he had reached the height of international fame. He was surrounded by kind friends, welcomed by kings and princes, courted by poets and scholars. The struggles of his youth were behind him, but he had not travelled so far away from them that he had lost the warm glow of satisfaction in difficulties overcome. The shadows of old age were still distant. He had found the true medium of his genius in the fairy tales, and he was yet in the fullness of his creative power.
It was natural, therefore, that he should look back upon his life as "a lovely story, happy and full of incident", and that he should think it could not have been happier or better even if a kind fairy had given the poor, friendless boy the power to choose this own career. The sufferings of the boy and youth had sunk into the background of his consciousness, and yet we need only listen to the undertones of his story to feel how poignant they had been, and how they had influenced the whole bent of his mind.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition