Elias Bredsdorff

Letter from Denmark

What do you know about Danish literature? Not very much, I suspect. Well, there’s Hans Christian Andersen, of course – and let me recommend to you a brilliant article by Harvey Arden in the National Geographic Magazine (December 1979), ‘The Magic World of Hans Christian Andersen’. Then there is Kierkegaard, whom it took the British a hundred years to discover (and then only via France and America), and Georg Brandes, the famous critic, who is almost forgotten today though he was universally loved and admired a couple of generations ago. It was not only his book on Shakespeare, published and republished time and again around the turn of the century, but also his books on Goethe, Voltaire and Caesar and his penetrating essays on Ibsen and Nietzsche (whom he introduced to British readers).

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