Georg Brandes

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Brandes, Georg


Born Feb. 4, 1842, in Copenhagen; died there on Feb. 12, 1927. Danish literary critic and publicist.

Brandes began his literary career in the 1860’s. In his major works he followed the principles of positivist aesthetics and some principles of the comparative historical method, combining them with psychological and biographical characterizations of writers and literary heroes. In 1871 he began giving lectures at the University of Copenhagen; these lectures were the beginning of his principal work, Main Currents in 19th-century Literature (vols. 1–6, 1872–90). In this work Brandes offered a characterization of the literature of the first half of the 19th century and made the first attempt to correlate the literatures of Western Europe. He published the works Søren Kierkegaard (1877), Benjamin Disraeli (1878) and Ludvig Holberg (1884) and so-called monographs on heroes—William Shakespeare (vols. 1–3, 1895–96) and Wolfgang Goethe (vols. 1–2, 1914–15). All these works reflected his idealistic views.

Brandes’ publicistic activity in the 1870’s and 1880’s played a considerable role in the struggle against political and religious reaction. His books Polish Impressions (1888) and Russian Impressions (1888), which were written after his travels in Poland (1886) and Russia (1887), as well as his essays on A. S. Pushkin, I. S. Turgenev, A. I. Herzen, N. G. Chernyshevskii, L. N. Tolstoy, Gorky, and others, contributed to the popularization of Slavic and especially Russian literature in Western Europe. In 1912, Brandes noted the appearance of a proletarian literature in Denmark in connection with the publication of M. Andersen Nexö’s novel Pelle the Conqueror. He opposed World War I, and in 1920 he signed the Ciarté Manifesto. Brandes spoke out in defense of the Soviet republic.


Samlede skrifter, vols. 1–19. Copenhagen, 1899–1910.
Levned, [vols.] 1–3. [Copenhagen], 1905–1908.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. Sochinenii, 2nd ed., vols. 1–20. St. Petersburg, [1906–14].
“Iz avtobiografii Georga Brandesa.” Russkaia mysl’, 1907, no. 8.


Derzhavin, N. “Georg Brandes.” Zhizn’ iskusstva, 1927, no. 10.
Nusinov, I. “K stoletiuu so dnia rozhdeniia Georga Brandesa.” Internatsional’ naia literatura, 1942, no. 2.
Aleksandrov, D. B. “Georg Brandes ν otsenke sovremennogo datskogo literaturovedeniia.” Skandinavskii sbornik, 1964, issue 9.
Rubow, P. V. Georg Brandes og den kritiske tradition i det nittende aarhundrede. Copenhagen, 1931.
Fenger, H. Georg Brandes’ laereår, 1857–1872. [Copenhagen], 1955.
Fenger, H. Den unge Brandes. [Copenhagen], 1957.
Rue, H. Georg Brandes og socialismen. Skjern, 1957.


References in periodicals archive ?
A major discussion involves the Danish modernist movement in which literary critic Georg Brandes and his book Det moderne Gjennembruds Mand (Men of the Modern Breakthrough [Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1883]) were major factors.
In 1805 Adam Gottlob Oehlenschlager published Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp and, in the words of the Danish critic Georg Brandes, he became the figure who energized Denmark's intellectual life in the nineteenth century.
Taking Aladdin as his point of departure, Georg Brandes has characterised the Oehlenschlager's Danish Orient as the Orient of "the child, the fairy tale book, the thousand and one nights, half Persian, half Copenhagener.
Aarhundredes Literatur (Main Currents of European Literature 1870-1890), Georg Brandes compares the Danish Orient with the Orients of England, Germany and France.
One of these students was Edvard Brandes, the brother of Georg Brandes, who, as a Jew, a son of a business man and as a progressive intellectual, specialized in Indian philology.
Similarly, the humorous paper Punch in the 1870s and 1880s had an ongoing series of "Persian Letters", where a traveller from Persia in his letters home described Copenhagen as a Persian city just as Georg Brandes had done in his description of Danish orientalism.
Kroyer, played key roles in the developing and flourishing artistic/intellectual enclave, frequented by Michael and Anna Ancher, Agnes and Harold Slott-Moller, Holger Drachmann, "de gamle katte"' (the old cats), the Schandorphs (Ida and Sophus), and Georg Brandes, the preeminent European literary historian and critic of the day.
They were exemplars of "aristocratic radicalism," a term coined, with Nietzsche's approval, by the Danish literary critic Georg Brandes.
varsson was a man who, to paraphrase Georg Brandes, felt the storms of his time both at home and abroad.