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Danish literature

The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Ludvig Holberg introduced the ideas of the Enlightenment in the 18th cent., and neoclassical poetry, the drama, and the essay flourished, following French and English models. German influence is seen in the verse of the leading poets of the late 18th cent., Johannes Ewald and Jens Baggesen.

It was maintained by the romantic school, fathered by Adam Oehlenschläger. A transcendent figure in Danish literary culture was N. F. S. Grundtvig; both he and Oehlenschläger influenced the poet and novelist Bernhard Ingemann. A more aesthetic ideal was promulgated by the dramatist and essayist J. L. Heiberg; two of his protégés were the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen, renowned for his fairy tales.

Although S. S. Blicher may have been the first Danish realist, the actual breakthrough to realism was inspired by the internationally influential critic Georg Brandes and was reflected in the novels of J. P. Jacobsen, H. J. Bang, Karl Gjellerup, and Hendrik Pontoppidan and in the early verse of H. H. Drachmann. The novelists Karin Michaëlis and Gyrithe Lemche were among the many women writers, mainly realists, active by the late 19th cent.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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