Denmark Literature Part III

By | December 18, 2021

Other Visers concern the two wives of Valdemaro the winner, the kind Dagmar (Dronning Dagmar og Junker Strange ; Dronning Dagmars Død) and the perfidious Berengaria (Dronning Bengerd). The peak is reached in the middle of the century. XIV with the cycle on Marsk Stig (Marskstigviserne), on King Erik who let himself be seduced by Ingebjorg, wife of Marsk Stig, and on the events that followed: the indignation of Marsk Stig, the killing of the king, the ban. Already prepared at the end of the previous century by small war songs on this motif, the cycle culminates in the great composition Marskens Sti H œvnet ; to which various other minor chants are crowned. Finally, the tragic Vise on the killing of Ebbe Skammelsøn’s girlfriend also deserves special mention.

The K œmpevisers take away the matter in part from the Nordic saga, in part from the heroic Germanic matter. In Thor af Havsgaard the matter is mythical-religious. Heroic topics are, among others, the famous Vise on the theme Hagbard og Signe, and another, Ungen Svejdal, on a subject that has contacts with that of the Edda. Smard og Brynild, Sivard Snarensvend, Grimhilds H œvn etc. take up the theme of Siegfried and Brunhilde: numerous Visers on Kong Didrik they deal with matters of the Theodoric cycle. And in a more or less direct relationship with Nibelungic matter are the Viser on Svend Vonven and Svend F œlding: among which a very widespread one on Svend F œlding og Dronning Jutte. A Vise on Kong Didrik og Holger Danske presents the figure of Oggeri the Dane as a figure of national hero – in contrast to the German Theodoric – who also reappears in many other compositions (Holger Danske og Burmand, etc.). For Denmark 1996, please check

The largest group is that of the Riddervisers, on materials mostly drawn from the usual medieval world of chivalry. Love naturally constitutes the fundamental reason; and the ideal of courtly love is easily recognizable, with features that are those in general of the Romance chivalric poetry, in Axel Thordsen og skjøn Valborg, in Aage og Else, etc.; but the popular tone is reflected either in the pleasure of the joke, as in the Skj œmteviser, or, more often, in a strong tendency to the pathetic; and, on the other hand, the gloomy poetic climate typical of Nordic poetry is also reflected in it: most of the Viser in fact, they deal with seduction, rape, rats, infidelity and betrayal, fratricide, jealousy, incest (Svend i Rosengaard, Torbensdatter, etc.). Individual Visers oppose the image of the woman who appears in the Romance chivalric poem with a Nordic image of the woman, strong, virile, in the style of those that appear in the ancient saga (Stolt Signild, Søster og Broder, Rige Herr Palles Bryllup, etc.).

The Trylleviser finally rispechiano Nordic aspect of the imagination, so, in keeping with the Germanic feeling of unity of nature and man, all populated with innumerable fantastic beings appear the natural world. Despite the spread of Christianity, these beings born from the imagination of the people and remained in the tradition as residues of the ancient religious faith, have always continued, for the imagination of the people, to live. Agnete og Havmanden is the best known of these Visers: but also well known are Rosmer Havmand, Marstigs Datter og Havmanden, Havfruens Sp œdom, on the charm of the sea; Harpens Kraft, on the fascination of music; Hedebys Gjenganger, Den Dødes Igjenkomst, Herr Morten af ​​Fuglsang, Moderen under Mulde, on the motif of ghosts. The fantastic people of the Elves give the argument to Elverhøj, on a motif taken up later by many poets, in Elverskud, in Hr. Bøsmer i Elverhjem. The magical power of rhymes is evoked in Tidemands Runer in Runetvangen and in Ridder Stig Hvide. In Germand Gladensvend, Dalby Bjørn, Den omskabte Jomfru, Ridder og Hjorteham, etc., is the fairytale motif of the magical metamorphoses and liberations, and in some Viser one feels the open reflection of Christian times; and Christian inspiration are many Legendeviser (Maria Magdalena, Den rige Mands Sjrel, Barnesj Oelen, St. Jørgen og Dragen, Hellin Olaf og Troldene).

In this treasure of popular poetry he later found Danish literature, especially in the 9th century. XIX, an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

The importance of the Reformation for Danish literature is twofold: it was great, of course, because it marked the definitive orientation of the Danish spirit in the religious field and, consequently, in all other spiritual fields; on the other hand, also because it formed and unified the language. The parallelism with Martin Luther has perhaps led to an exaggeration of Pedersen’s stature and work (1480-1554) as the creator of the language. But certainly, from the compilation of the Vocabolarium ad usum Dacorum (1510) to the elaboration and edition of the so-called Christian III Bible in Danish (1543 finished; 1550 printed), Pedersen’s merits in this field were great. Already the devotional books, still Catholic – Vor Frue Tider (1514), Om at høre Messe (1814), J œrtegnspostil (1515) – had had great circulation; and what progress in the clarification and determination of the Danish language his work represented, can show the comparison between his translation of the New Testament and the previous translation made for Christian II by Mikkelsen: starting from the text established by Erasmus, the Pedersen, as for interpretation made use of Luther, so he found in Luther’s German an experience that also shaped his linguistic taste; from which he was then able to start the translation of the entire Bible, which for centuries remained the fundamental text of Danish Protestantism.

Denmark Literature Part III