Heiberg, Johan Ludvig

Heiberg, Johan Ludvig

(yōhăn` lo͞oth`vē hī`bâr), 1791–1860, Danish writer, director of the National Theater. In the play Christmas Fun and New Year's Jesting (1817), he satirized leading contemporary writers. As a defender of classical drama, Heiberg became an influential figure in Danish literature and criticism. He composed many vaudevilles, or musical comedies, based on French models but Danish in subject and humor. Among his works is The Hill of the Elves (1828), probably the most frequently performed of Danish plays. Heiberg's pygmalionlike relation to his wife, the successful actress Johanne Heiberg, and to H. C. Andersen is depicted in the play Rain Snakes (1981) by the Swedish playwright P. O. Enquist.

Heiberg, Johan Ludvig


Born Dec. 14, 1791, in Copenhagen; died Aug. 25, 1860, in Bonderup, near Ringsted. Danish writer.

Heiberg was director of the Royal Theater in Copenhagen from 1849 to 1856. He wrote the treatise The Vaudeville as a Dramatic Art Genre (1826) and other works on the theory of art. In vaudevilles, such as King Solomon and Jorgen the Hatter (1825) and Danes in Paris (1833), and in the political play April Fools (1826), Heiberg’s tone is ironic. The plots of his romantic dramas Elf Hill (1828), The Elves (1835), and Fata Morgana (1838) derive from folktales. In the 1840’s Heiberg turned to philosophic poetry and, with the comedy A Soul After Death (1841), to satire.


Samlede skrifter, vols. 1–2. Copenhagen, 1861–62.
Poetiskeskrifter, vols. 1–3. Copenhagen, 1931–32.


Gozenpud, A. A. “Datskii teatr.” In Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 4. Moscow, 1964.
Dansk litteratur historie, vol. 2. Copenhagen, 1965.
Mentioned in ?