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Author’s Note

Unless otherwise stated, biographical information in this book is drawn from the following source: C.F. Bricka, ed. Dansk Biografisk Lexikon, tillige omfattende Norge for Tidsrummet 1537–1814. 19 Vols. Copenhagen: Gyldendalske Boghandels Forlag, 1887–1905. In order to keep the number of footnotes to a minimum, I have chosen not to refer to this work every time I introduce an author.

In the few cases where it has been possible, I have used English editions when quoting from primary sources. Most of the primary sources used were only ever published in Danish, however, and translations in the following, from Danish as well as German, are all my own. I have sought to preserve the original idiomatic expression as much as possible, while occasionally changing punctuation and the structure of sentences for the sake of comprehension.

Given the topic of this book, it has at times been necessary to render certain historical concepts, such as odelsrett, bonde and styreshavn, in their original language in order to achieve precision. In such cases, an English explication of their content is given when they are introduced. Timely reminders of their meanings are then provided throughout the text. I have chosen to adjust the grammatical expression of these concepts in their original languages depending on the structure of the English sentence within which they are part, so that it makes grammatical sense for readers of the original language as well as English. The aforementioned Norwegian term odelsrett, for instance, is thus sometimes rendered odelsretten, which contains the Norwegian equivalent of a definite article, in this case the suffix -en. I would ask readers to keep in mind that odelsrett and odelsretten are used interchangeably.

Personal and place names in this book have, with a few exceptions, been standardized and modernized, so as to avoid the confusions which might arise from the various spellings used at the time. I have mostly chosen to retain them in their language of origin, rather than to anglicize them. Ludvig Holberg and Gerhard Schøning have not been turned into Louis Holberg and Gerard Schøning, although I have translated royal bynames and rendered the names of some of the more internationally well-known kings in English. Knud den Store has, for instance, become Cnut the Great. When possible, I have also used English place names, such as Copenhagen instead of København, Zealand instead of Sjælland.