Denmark Literature in the 1960's

Denmark Literature in the 1960’s

Some of the Danish writers who had already established themselves in the period between the two world wars, or immediately after the second, are still industrious today, although this industriousness often appears as a variation and even a repetition of themes already treated. Thus, for example, JA Schade (born in 1903), who has recently added new ones to the numerous collections of ironic-erotic lyrics in the surrealist style (SchadeSymfonier, 1963; Overjordisk, “Celestiale”, 1973) ; thus T. Ditlevsen (born in 1918), who, without true artistic originality but in a simple and polite language, continues to face his favorite problems of feminine and infantile sensitivity, in lyrics (Den hemmelige rude, “The secret window”, 1961), in novels (To som elsker hinanden, “Two who love each other”, 1960), in autobiographical writings (Erindringer, “Memorie”, 2 vols., 1967); thus W. Heinesen (born in 1900), the more or less orthodox communist writer who, originating from Faroe, uses the Danish to carry out, drawing as MA Hansen from local myth and legend, his social controversy in lyric (Hymne og harmsang, “Hymn and song of indignation”, 1961) and in fiction (Detjoy håb, “The good hope”, 1964; Kur mod wave ånder, “Cure Against Evil Spirits”, 1967); thus the playwright CE Soya (born in 1896), a master of the scene half Pirandellian and half Freudian, who even in his most recent works (Brevet, “The letter”, 1964) never tires of denouncing, with incisive sarcasm, the desolate crisis of the values ​​of our time. The leaders of literary currents whose importance and vitality are attested by the critical discussion around their works have disappeared, such as the surrealist playwright K. Abell (1901-1961), such as K. Blixen (1885-1961), who in an age of realistic rawness he has revived the never-extinguished romantic cult of the marvelous; as HC Branner (1903-1966), master of the psychological or rather psychoanalytic novel; such as MA Hansen (1910-1955) and P. La Cour (1902-1956), to whom we owe, in lyric and narrative, respectively, the aesthetic-religious rebirth of the second post-war period; like T. Kristensen (1893-1974) finally,

According to topschoolsintheusa, the generation of young people and especially that of their very young followers reflects the coexistence and impact of the most heterogeneous ferments of thought: from the search for a human brotherhood beyond “bourgeois” lies to pansexualist exaltation, from nihilistic skepticism to religious anxiety. Especially the very young all want not only a new art but a new society, accessible – as they believe with frank fanaticism or with gregarious conformism – through the repudiation of any link with historical reality. Thus anti-culture, anti-literature, anti-theater, etc., spring from their absurdist assumptions (see the writings of the critic T. Brostrøm, Versets løvemanke, 1960; Poetisk kermesse, 1962). In theory at least and in the programs, because in practice the cut with the past turns out to be illusory in all.

The pre-existent lesson of Kierkegaard, already on the critical-historical level re-evaluated in the Thirties by the historian of religions V. Grsnbech (1873-1948) and then by MA Hansen, resurfaces today very vivid in one of the most brilliant but also of the most elusive Danish narrators and essayists, Villy Sørensen (born in 1929), author of “philosophical” fairy tales, where dialectical subtlety undoubtedly prevails over the creative force (S œre historier, (“Strange stories”, 1953, Ufarlige historier, ” Innocuous tales”, 1955; Formynderfort œllinger, “Racconti di interdetti”, 1964), of critical studies on the most varied political and religious literary themes, etc. (Nietzsche, 1963; Kafkas digtning,1968; Schopenhauer, 1969; Hverkeneller, Ne, 1961; Mellem fortid og fremtid, “Between past and future”, 1969; Uden møl og med, “Without ends and with”, 1973), all aiming at a difficult fusion of existentialism and Marxism.

The controversy surrounding the convergence or divergence of these two, so to speak, ideologies had been for almost two decades one of the salient themes of the cultural debate in philosophical-literary periodicals (Heretica, 1948-1953; Dialog, 1950-1961; Perspektiv, 1953-1969 ; and even in some as abstractly specialized as Vindrosen, 1954 ff.), which undoubtedly had the merit of making known contemporary Anglo-Saxon, French, German spiritual currents and foreign writers, and of influencing national culture to a decisive extent.

Thus in the most gifted there is an alternation of creative work with translations and essays and studies of strong ideological commitment, linked to world events: in the lyrics Th. Bjørnvig (born in 1918), the last heir of European decadence, poet (Vibrationer, 1966 ; Ravnen, “The Crow”, 1968), essayist (Kains alter, “The Altar of Cain”, 1964), translator and interpreter (Rilke, 1949-1959), critic of modern music (Oprør mod neonguden…, “The revolt against the god of néon”, 1970); F. Jæger (b. 1926), who remained faithful over the years to his primitivist muse (Idylia, “Idilli”, 1967); O. Sarvig (born 1912),, “Postilla”, 1966); O. Wivel (born 1921), poet and penetrating critic of MA Hansen and K. Blixen; J. Sonne (born in 1925) and U. Harder (born in 1930), the latter two translators of ancient and modern Italian poetry and easy versifiers (respectively: Krese, “Circoli”, 1964; Sortpåhvidt, “Black on white”, 1968); in the narrators and playwrights, among which L. Panduro (born in 1923) and K. Rifbjerg (born in 1931) stand out; the first for his absurdist novels and radio plays (Øgledage, “Days of the Viper”, 1961; Kuffesten, “The suitcase”; Kannibaler ik œlderen, “Cannibals in the cellar”, 1962; Ka ‘de li’østers?, “Do you like oysters?”, 1967); the second, “bonne à tout faire” of Danish literature, for the snappy points of its patibular humor that animates the verses the stories the scripts for the cinema the theater radio television (Camouflage, 1961; F œdrelandssange, “Patriotic hymns”, 1967; Udviklinger, “Crescere”, 1965; Anna (jeg) Anna, “Anna (I) Anna”, 1969, recently translated into Italian).

Finally, very young writers, such as eg. K. Holst (born in 1936) and H. Nordbrandt (1945), S. Holm (1940), J. Ørnsbo (1932) and U. Ryum (1937), and many others, more than generously anthologized in Italian, are here just mentioned because, to date, they have not given any ripe fruit of their art.

Denmark Literature in the 1960's

About the author