Poul Houe


Danish culture, nineteenth century, fairy tales


The year 2005 marks the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen's birth and the 150th anniversary of Soren Kierkegaard's death. Kierkegaard's critique of Andersen as a novelist was merciless, and Andersen's relation to Kierkegaard the man and the thinker was not easygoing either. Both of these towering nineteenth century Golden Age Danes were first portrayed in a big way by the same Danish critic, Georg Brandes, himself a pivotal figure in nineteenth century European criticism. I thought it appropriate, therefore, to focus my paper on Andersen, Kierkegaard, and Brandes as three cornerstones of nineteenth century Danish culture.