1902 Encyclopedia > Drama > Scandinavian Drama

(Part 16)

Scandinavian Drama

Still more decidedly the dramatic literature of the SCANDINAVIAN peoples springs from foreign growths ; but Denmark, where the beginnings of the drama in the plays of the schoolmaster Chr. Hansen recall the mixture of religious and farcical elements in contemporary German efforts, at a later date produced a comic dramatist of thorough originality and. of a wholly national cast. L. Holberg (1684-1754), one of the most noteworthy comic poets of modern literature, not only marks an epoch in the dramatic literature of his native land, but he contributed to overthrow the trivialities of the German stage in its worst period, which he satirized with merciless humour,2 and set an example, never surpassed, of a series of comedies3 deriving their types from popular life aud ridiculing with healthy directness those vices and follies which are the proper theme of the most widely effective species of the comic drama. Among his followers P. A. Heiberg (1758-1860) is specially noted. Under the influence of the Romantic school, whose influence has nowhere proved so long-lived as in the Scandinavian north, A. Oehlenschlager (1779-1850) began a new era of Danish literature. His productivity, which belongs partly to his native and partly to German literary history, turned from foreign1 to native themes ; and other writers followed him in his endeavours to revive the figures of Northern heroic legend. The reaction recently observable in Danish literary criticism against the supremacy of the Romantic school may be expected to produce results in the drama, in the direction perhaps of those already attested by the success of two living Norwegian dramatists, H. Ibsen and Bjornsterne Bjornson.


2 Ulysses of Itliaca.
3 The Politician-Tinman; Jean de France or Hans Franzen; The Lying-in, &c.
4 Aladdin; Correggio

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