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Born Nov. 18, 1743, in Copenhagen; died there Mar. 17,1781. Danish writer.
In his early works Ewald followed the examples of French classicism, for example, his tragedy Adam and Eve (1769). He later turned to themes drawn from Scandinavian mythology and history. Ewald’s dramas Rolf Krage (1770) and Balder’s Death (1775) prepared the way for the romantic national drama. The heroes of his tragedy The Fishermen (1779) are simple working men. Ewald wrote an autobiographical narrative The Life and Opinions of Johannes Ewald (1774–78). In his unfinished philosophical novel The History of Mr. Panthakak (begun 1771), he harshly criticized the concept of Enlightenment optimism. He also published odes and cantatas, as well as lyric poems. Ewald’s song “King Christian Stood by the Lofty Mast” became Denmark’s national anthem.