Charles Darwin’s theories were already introduced in Scandinavia in the early 1860s, whereas his two major works, On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871), were translated by Danish writer J.P. Jacobsen in the 1870s. Jacobsen acts as an important intermediary both as a scientist and, probably, the first Danish writer whose work is influenced by Darwin’s thoughts. But also in the writings of other authors of the time, e.g. Herman Bang, at least the name “Darwin” infrequently occurs as is also the case with the symbolist writers of the 1890s, e.g. Viggo Stuckenberg and Sophus Claussen. However, not until after 1900 does Darwin serve as an artistic inspiration and a positive role model. This happens in an overpowering manner in the fictional and essayist works of the Danish Nobel Prizewinner Johannes V. Jensen. Jensen’s Darwinism was not countered until the so-called “livsanskuelsesdebat” - a philosophical debate - during the 1920s with the eloquent poet and dramatist Helge Rode as his acute opponent. Hereafter, Darwin’s role in Danish literature decreases significantly unless one wishes to see Peter Høeg’s novel from 1996, Kvinden og aben (The Man and the Ape) as the last example of a Darwin-influence on a literary text.
In Poland, the name Dagny is well-known because of the sad life and tragic death of the Norwegian wife of the famous and scandalising Polish-German fin de siécle writer Przybyszewski. But not many people know that she was a writer and poet herself, even if not a very prolific one. Her ouevre consists of four short plays, five poems in prose and a handful of poetry. The aim of this article is to analyse her plays and prose in respect of the relations between a man and a woman. Especially, I enquire if Juels work is only an expression of the literary conventions of her epoch, or if she gives her texts an unique (feminine) touch. I attempt to demonstrate that the latter is the case in her dramatic work and especially in her prose poetry.
Einige Bemerkungen zum Finnischen Roman Fegefeuer von Sofi Oksanen
The article is devoted to Sofi Oksanen, one of the most recognizable Finnish authors of the young generation whose literary production has been an unbroken streak of success for the last ten years. It addresses in particular her groundbreaking novel Purge (Puhdistus). In the analysis, the article focuses first and foremost on the aspect of a woman’s corporeality as well as shame and exclusion resulting from sexual abuse. It is one of the central motifs in Osanen’s production. On the example of Aliide the writer depicts, from the feminist point of view, the effects of physical violence towards women used as an element of humiliation and oppression of a conquered nation. The metaphor of a woman’s body as an occupied country gives the novel a universal character and draws attention to the fact that destroying womanhood is a subtle and slow way to the fall of societies. Therefore the deeds of both women are not unambiguously condemned in the novel.
This contribution is to commemorate Erich von Mendelssohn (1887-1913), a gifted author and a translator of medieval and modern Scandinavian, especially Danish literature, who lamentably passed away at a very young age. It contains a short biography of von Mendelssohn and deals with his poetic (including a so far unknown poem) and prosaic works (Phantasten, Die Heimkehr, Nacht und Tag, Juliana) on one hand and his translations from Danish (works from J. P. Jacobsen, Thit Jensen, and Svend Fleuron) and Old (several sagas) and New Icelandic (Einar H. Kvaran) on the other.
In the 1930s, one of several small anti-parliamentarian, more or less authoritarian movements in Denmark was “Dansk Samling” (Danish Unity, see note 3), by its critics labeled as fascist or even nazi, in its self-understanding above all Christian and national and thus strongly opposed to any import of German ideology. In 1938, some of its members attended a meeting in Lübeck, and later that same year the movement’s periodical published “greetings to Germany” - a rather naive attempt at reaching a dialogue, but still without giving in on crucial matters.
Moderne skandinavisk kortprosa over for Franz Kafkas roman processen
The novel The trial, telling the story of the groundless arrest and prosecution of the bank clerk Josef K., remains one of the bestknown and most influential works written by Franz Kafka. Depicting the pointless struggle of a man placed at the mercy of a remote, inaccessible authority, it gives a symbolic account of the human condition in the modern era, characterised by the lack of universal truth, estrangement, confusion and existential impotence. Grasping the very idea of existential modernity, the novel provides ongoing inspiration for a great number of modernist and postmodernist writers all over the world, including Scandinavia. In the article presented below, The trial is examined as an intertext within the genre of the Scandinavian short prose, as it unfolds at breakthrough of modernism and postmodernism. Starting with the literary and critical works of the Danish modernist Villy Sørensen, and moving forward throughout the Danish and Norwegian minimalism of the 1990's, the paper discusses a range of different aspects of The trial, as they reappear in the short stories written by some of the main representatives of the Scandinavian short story. In this way, the article elucidates the relevance of Kafka's novel as an intertext for contemporary Scandinavian short fiction, as well as draws attention to the dialogical dimension of the genre.
Critics have interpreted Tarjei Vesaas’s novel The Ice Palace (1963) in psychological terms as a kind of rite-of-passage fable of two eleven-year-old girls, Siss and Unn. The latter dies in a magic Ice Palace short after their first meeting in Unn’s house. The novel’s plot is about how Siss is dealing with the loss. Other scholars put the emphasis on the folkloristic elements or read the text as an allegorical one, as a piece of art dealing with art.
In the following article I would like to read The Ice Palace as a poetic treatise on the relationship between mourning, melancholy on the one hand and commemoration, memorialization on the other.
The article attempts to analyze the reaction to the debut of the Danish poet of Palestinian descent Yahya Hassan (Yahya Hassan. Digte, 2013) among literary reviewers as well as in the Danish society. The impulse to write on this topic came after the nomination of Yahya Hassan for the Polish literary prize European Poet of Freedom 2016. The main aim is to explain the extraordinary fame as a writer and as a public person he gained already in the month of his literary debut (100.000 sold books in two months). The analyze will be focused on two fields of interest: the reception of the poetry itself and the writer’s personae.
Lyrikkens rolle hos Czesław Miłosz og i hans norske gjendiktning ved Paal Brekke
The purpose of the paper is to compare the original verse by Czesław Miłosz and its translated version by Paal Brekke. To discuss the images of the poetry and the poet in Campo di Fiori and Tilegnelse the comparative translation theory is applied and the poets' literary background brought into focus. In the next step such issues as the translator's figure and his influence on the target text are addressed. The paper presents that Brekke's literary work alters Miłosz's original poetics.
The article A narrative portrait of Marie Grubbe in Lone Hørslev’s novel Dyrets år (The Year of the Beast) discusses the latest biographical novel on the controversial Danish aristocrat from the 17th century. In order to address the issue in closer detail, a brief biography of Marie Grubbe is given in the article’s introduction which is followed by a presentation of all the Danish works of fiction on the person that have been published so far. The analysis shows that the authors’ approach to their protagonist varies from disgust to fascination, depending on the period that the work originates from. Lone Hørslev’s Dyrets år may not be a genuine masterpiece, but it definitely adds new, contemporary aspects to the overall understanding of Marie Grubbe’s conduct and enriches her portrait with some traits which have not yet been discussed.