“He will not write, he wants to talk” – With these words Georg Brandes concludes his postulation on Andersen's oral style seen as closely connected to the hypothesis that Andersen primarily wanted to write for children. “He wants to write like a school child – only avoiding speaking like a book”.
In critical distance to these remarks this article intends to draw attention to Andersen as an author who was both media and writing conscious – who took a keen interest in text layout, typography, book design, and the technical developments within book production. This interest is closely connected to esthetical reflexions on the relationship between the author and his writing tools (his medias), the connection between the typographic design and the meaning of the text as well as the relation between aesthetic and economic values (the book as a piece of art and the book as a commodity). In other words, Andersen was very aware of the fact that the conditions for writing were changing totally in the early 19th century. As a modern author, he never neglected the influence of the media. On the contrary he aimed at proving how the writing is influenced by the technical and economic revolution in his time.
This article concentrates on Andersen’s fairy tales, e.g. The Penman, Pen and Inkstand, The ABC-Book, The Silent Book, and The Goblin and the Grocer – but also travelogues and early prose texts are discussed. One of the main theses discusses the relationship between Andersen and Heiberg which is highlighted by concrete intertextual relations. Further to the mentioned esthetical observations the article intends to render Andersen's interest for the book as a craftsmanslike and technical product. In this way, the author hopes to have opened a perspective in the field of research dealing with Andersen's texts from a book historical point of view.