Denmark Literature Part II

By | December 18, 2021

The age that followed that of the Valdemari was above all one of erudition. A typical work is the encyclopedic collection of Christian principles, religious ceremonies, scientific and geographical knowledge, various news, which goes under the title of Lucidarius: the Danish text is from the 13th century. XIV. And it was a widely read work: as was the Latin version of Mandeville’s journey to the East; and the elaborations of heroic and chivalrous legends: including Karl Magnus Krønike in prose. The ms. it also contains a Danish elaboration of the legend of Griselda, to which are added six other heroic or chivalrous legends: one on Laurin from the Theodoric cycle, one on Partonopier, one on the Genoese motif of the “caste queen”: and finally three so-called Eufemiaviser, elaborated in Swedish by order of Eufemia di Rügen, fifth wife of the Norwegian king Haakon, and from Sweden passed to Denmark: concerning Ivan the Lion Knight, Frederick Duke of Normandy and Fiore and Biancofiore. Moral writings are more original: and especially Danske Rimkrønike, collection of rhymes on Danish kings from King Dan to Christian I: these appear personally, they say what they have learned from life, they recall the main events of their life and their own death: it is a kind of universal judgment of the kings, called to redde rationem; and in a low German version a monk Niels from the monastery of Søro is indicated as the author; but it is probably the work of various authors, also due to the variety of style and metric forms: it is the first Danish book printed (1495). In Danish and Latin it is instead the “Book of proverbs”, attributed in a first print (1506) to a Petrus de Laale, and in the 2nd print, by Petersen (1519), to a Petrus legista Laglandicus. Finally, religious life was under the influence of Saint Brigitta: Birgittinersprog: as well as the translations of the Revelations. The first essays of a Danish translation of the Bible and translations of psalms and hymns to the Virgin also come from the Brigittino monastery of Mariager. A kind and colorful singer of the Virgin was Peter Ræff. And the composition Om Mariae Rosencrans also leads to the cult of the Virgin, a remake from the French by Michael Nicolai (Nielsen), a priest in Odense: the most important religious writer of the time, also author of two shorter compositions Om Skabelsen and Om Menneskens Levnet. For Denmark 2008, please check payhelpcenter.com.

But the flower of Danish medieval poetry is elsewhere: in popular poetry: in the Folkeviser. The oldest known are those on the “bloodbath of Roskilde” and the killing of King Canute by Ditlev – sung to King Valdemar’s army at the battle of Graahede (1157); and the one on the killing of Erik Emun, which tells of Sorteplov’s revenge for the killing of his brother Carlo (1137). The period of the maximum flower is the period of the Valdemari, and the one that immediately followed, when the events, already a little distant in time, had been able to take on the aspect of legend. But the manuscripts we possess are from the century. XVI and XVII. The first edition is that of Vedel (1591). A second important collection is that of Peder Syv (1695): 200 songs. Already in the Rahbeck collection (1812-14) there are 222. Now over 500 are known. And the fundamental edition is that of S. Grundtvig, continued by Olrik (vols. 7, 1853-1904). The usual form is the pair of lines, or the quatrain, with a masculine rhyme that joins the second and fourth lines, and with a refrain that sometimes occurs in double, in the second and fourth lines. And it was imported from France, along with dance. After the thirteenth century the dance was in great fashion: and immediately at the beginning of the thirteenth century the first appeared Danish Dansevisers. The matter is epic-lyric. The Folkevisers were born precisely from the fusion of epic matter in lyrical forms of song to dance. And they were certainly of cultured origin. They were sung, often with dance accompaniment, at the courts of the lords, in their castles. The names of the poets are ignored. Especially since the songs quickly passed from the courts to the lower classes of the people. With the Nils EbbesonVise (circa 1340), the dance song form ceases, the refrain falls, the form becomes narrative, and errant jesters take over it: however in the people the ancient form continues to survive, and will survive sporadically even later. the invention of printing.

Depending on the content, these songs are usually grouped in Historiske Viser, K œmpeviser, Trylleviser, Legendenviser, Ridderviser. Among the Historiske Viser of the Valdemari era, famous are those on Tovelille (the little Tove), mistress of Valdemaro the Great whom Queen Sofia had killed in the bathroom (in later editions, from the 17th century, the fact was attributed to Valdemaro Attedag, and in this version it was reworked later by Jacobsen and Holger Drachmann): the one on Liden Kirsten (little Kirsten), sister of Valdemaro the Great, who was made to dance until she died, because she had allowed herself to be seduced by Prince Boris, who was punished by her blindness and then mutilated and taken to her grave.

Denmark Literature Part II