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Ludvig Holberg is the most important man of letters in eighteenth-century Denmark-Norway and is often referred to as the father of Danish and Norwegian Literature, the Molière of the North, the founder of Scandinavian drama, or even as the first Scandinavian feminist. In all his writings - apart from being a dramatist in his own right - he excelled as a satirist, historian and essayist, Holberg is a true child of the Enlightenment advocating tolerance and moderation. At the same time, however, he transgressed its parameters. He introduced a series of classical genres but also violated their rules; he generally supported absolute monarchy but criticized its deficiencies, sometimes with subtlety, sometimes openly and relentlessly when, for instance, aiming his satire at the outdated educational system.
Above all, Holberg was a towering cosmopolitan figure in eighteenth-century intellectual life, extremely well-read not only in the classics but also in contemporary literature. Furthermore, he was one of the most avid travelers of his time. He saw himself foremost as a European writer, attacking provincialism and narrow-mindedness wherever he encountered it. Holberg was strongly influenced by the European intellectual tradition and, in return also impacted literary trends abroad. This volume, written by experts from various countries, attempts to place Holberg in this international context. It highlights both the European influence on him and the influence he exerted in his own time as well as the fascination he holds to this very day because of his probing, critical mind, complex personality and, above all, because of the purely artistic quality and modernity found particularly in his immortal comedies.
Hans Christian Andersen is indisputably the best known of all Scandinavian writers, his tales and stories having been translated probably into more languages than any other work except the Bible. He is also one of the greatest travelers of nineteenth-century belles lettres and few were the major European cities, capitals, and countries he did not visit, many of them several times: Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Weimar, Paris, and London. He met and became friends with some of the most outstanding representatives of the European artistic community: Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas père, Franz Grillparzer, Heinrich Heine, the Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm von Kaulbach, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Clara and Robert Schumann, to mention a few.
Andersen was the first notable Danish writer of proletarian origin, and even though he was never able to overcome his personal traumas, he became extremely successful in climbing the social ladder receiving invitations wherever he went from nobility and royalty and being showered with recognition and decorations. He read aloud to and was feted by Maximilian II of Bavaria, Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, Grand Duchess Sophia of Austria, and Friedrich August II of Saxony. Even though he also was a frequent visitor at the Danish court Andersen always felt more appreciated abroad.
In spite of Andersen's status as a world-renowned writer, no critical treatment has thus far discussed him as a key figure in European contemporary culture and a cosmopolitan personality. The contributors to the present volume — all of whom are acclaimed Andersen scholars — have made extensive use of the vast material available in Andersen's diaries, almanacs, autobiographies, and letters. Most of this material, now made available in English for the first time, allows a new Andersen to emerge, different from the traditional portrayal of him as a content and happy storyteller — a myth indeed! To the contrary, all contributors of this volume discuss his complexity, the traumas and disillusionments of a professional artist constantly struggling to maintain his position and incessantly worried about running out of inspiration.
This volume — besides presenting biographical information in an international perspective — focuses on Andersen's fascinating psychological make-up, his taste in music, literature, and the pictorial arts, the contemporary critical reception of his work, and explores his creative universe in a more general sense including his poetry, novels, plays, and travelogues. Andersen's overall artistic achievements are viewed in the context of world literature.
The subject of Images of America in Scandinavia, the first comprehensive study of its kind, is as multifaceted, complex, and overwhelming as America or the United States, itself. It concerns the nature and function, reality and fiction of such images in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden past and present. The book is intended to be a source of solid information as well as a starting point for further inquiries into its cultural territory.
Part of its focus is on images of America rooted in printed sources, but, in addition, general surveys of other cultural signs of America in the Scandinavian countries present a broader picture and provide some of the background for the predominantly literary images. Issues such as government and politics, popular and vanguard music and art, and socio-cultural institutions intermittently come to the fore.
Framing the volume's three pairs of national surveys is an introductory chapter, which addresses the entire subject from a bird's-eye view, and a concluding chapter, which, by contrast, delves into the cross-fire of sentiments defining people whose images of America, are both American and Scandinavian. The discussion of America as perceived in Scandinavia sheds new light on intriguing inter-Scandinavian cultural distinctions and borderlines.
Countless books and articles, methods and theories, have been devoted to the study of national and cultural identity. Still, the exchanges between such identities and the images they engender - so indispensable for the participants in a global culture - remain clouded by many misconceptions. Images of America in Scandinavia whose editors and authors all have Scandinavian backgrounds, will contribute an improved understanding of the cultural interplay between Scandinavia and the United States of America.
Documentary literature became an international phenomenon on the cultural and political scene in the 1960s and 1970s. From the American New Journalism in works by such writers as Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe to the German Industriereportagen by Günther Wallraff and others, documentarism presented a variety of controversial interplays between facts and fiction labeled as ‘faction,' ‘fables of fact' or the like.
Scandinavian literature made important and unique contributions to this international movement, and Documentarism in Scandinavian Literature is the first comprehensive volume ever published on the historical significance and future implications of these Nordic dimensions of documentarism and their international context. The volume is centered on Swedish documentary literature in the 1960s and 1970s — and on such major writers as Per Olov Enquist, Sven Lindqvist, Sara Lidman, and Per Olov Sundman — but the powerful voices of Danish writer Thorkild Hansen and Norwegian novelist Dag Solstad are also heard in its critical concert.
The diversity of Documentarism in Scandinavian Literature is further enhanced by surveys and analyses of the historical background for more recent works and activities, and by theoretical inquiries into the epistemological status of documentarism, its theoretical, narrative, and theatrical devices, its predominant genres and links to other modes of mass communication, and its political affiliations and implications.
For readers already familiar with its subject matter Documentarism in Scandinavian Literature offers an opportunity to revisit and recontextualize a crucial moment in their recent cultural past. For readers who have yet to be exposed to documentary works of fiction, the volume presents a timely theoretical, historical, and critical introduction to the key problematics and potentials of their novel field of interest. Whether viewed as part of the past or part of the present, documentarism remains an intellectual challenge, which this volume is aimed at addressing.
Documentarism in Scandinavian Literature is edited by two Scandinavian scholars living abroad, and its essays are written by senior and junior scholars and critics from Scandinavia, Europe, and America; an interview with Per Olov Enquist and an autobio-graphical piece by Sven Lindqvist complete the volume.
The recent sesquicentennial of August Strindberg's (1849-1912) birth was an appropriate occasion for investigating the role of this towering figure in Nordic literature. By Eugene O'Neill once labeled the most modern of moderns, Strindberg the playwright has commanded a prophetic influence on 20th century drama and theater, and his voluminous production in several other genres continues to constitute a watershed and some of the highpoints in Swedish letters.
Yet, Strindberg remains as controversial today as he was in his lifetime. The nature and degree of his modernity are still under discussion, and so is the impact of his remarkable genre-proliferation and border-transgressing Swedishness. Once considered too unruly for the pillars of society and too pious for the radicals, his artistic and existential points of gravity remain in critical dispute. Generally subjected to traditional modes of inquiry, Strindberg's complexity calls for new critical approaches.
Strindberg and the Other brings together scholars, younger and older, from Scandinavia and abroad, who either venture such new approaches or engage their practitioners in fruitful dialogue. Especially promising among the volume's methodological and theoretical propositions is the notion of the 'other' and 'otherness.' Indeed, the image of August Strindberg himself is quite an-other at this millennium than it was just half a century ago.
This volume on anthropology and authority in the writings of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) offers its reader nineteen timely discussions of two fundamental categories pertaining to the literary, philosophical, and theological production of this prominent 19th century Danish thinker, whose vast influence upon 20th century intellectual life continues to grow as the new millennium approaches.
The volume's nineteen contributors - from Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, Holland, Hungary, Italy, and the United States - inquire into such complex problematics in Kierkegaard's oeuvre as the interrelationship between the human, the divine, and the spiritual; between the secular and the Christian; between human and Christian love; between state and church institutions and the single individual of faith; and between this individual's concern for quality in civic and religious life and the quantitative forces of modern society's masses and crowds. Special attention is given to the indisputable authority of God, Christ, and the apostles as opposed to the debatable authority, or non-authority, of the author. Of particular interest is the nexus between Kierkegaard's existential and religious concerns, on the one hand, and his intricate textual conceptions, multifarious poetic strategies, and various means of pseudonymous and indirect communication, on the other.
Between the covers of Anthropology and Authority some chapters seek to refine received knowledge of Kierkegaard in such disciplines as theology and moral philosophy. Conversely, other chapters submit rather postmodern critiques of the author's stylistic and rhetorical devices. A summary assessment of the nineteen contributions would fail to recognize this considerable methodological and theoretical diversity. Instead, the reader's access to the smorgasbord of insights has been facilitated by an introduction in which one of the American editors briefly outline the individual contributions on a general historical and intellectual background.
Altogether, the probing insights of Anthropology and Authority go to the core of Søren Kierkegaard's authorship. Individual chapters either update previous responses to the many challenges presented by this work, or the chapters face new challenges and/or present critical challenges on their own.