Henrik Pontoppidan

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pontoppidan, Henrik


Born July 24, 1857, in Fredericia; died Aug. 21, 1943, in Copenhagen. Danish novelist.

Pontoppidan was the son of a pastor. From 1874 to 1877, he attended the Copenhagen Polytechnic Institute. His collections of stories Pictures of Village Life (1883) and From the Huts (1887) and his novella In Sandinge Parish (1883) give a truthful account of Danish provincial life. During the 1890’s, realistic tendencies became more marked in his novels The Night Watch (1894) and The Song of Songs (1896). The trilogy The Promised Land (1891–95) contains pictures of village life and of the political and religious strife in Denmark of the second half of the 19th century. Characteristic features of the time are portrayed in the novel Lucky Per (1898–1904; Russian translations, 1913 and 1961), which is about the fate of the Danish intelligentsia during the transition period in the country’s development. The temper of the times preceding World War I was pessimistically reflected in the novel The Kingdom of the Dead (1912–16). Pontoppidan’s autobiographical essays of the 1930’s were collected under the title On the Way to Myself (1943). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1917.


Romaner og fortaellinger, parts 1–7. Copenhagen, 1924–26.
Noveller og skitser, vols. 1–3. Copenhagen, 1950.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. sock, vols. 1–5. St. Petersburg, 1913.


Kupriianova, I. P. “Rannee tvorchestvo Kh. Pontoppidana.” Uchenye zapiski LGU, 1959, issue 54, no. 276.
Kupriianova, I. P. “Roman Kh. Pontoppidana ‘Schastlivchik Per.’” Ibid., 1961, issue 62, no. 308.
Andersen, P. C. Henrik Pontoppidan: En biografi og bibliografi. Copenhagen, 1934.
Woel, C. M. Henrik Pontoppidan, parts 1–2. Copenhagen, 1945.
Ahnlund, K. Henrik Pontoppidan: Fern huvudlinjer i fórfattar skapet. Stockholm, 1956.
Thomsen, K. Hold Galden flydende. Aarhus, 1957.
Skjerbæk, T. Kunst og budskab. [Copenhagen, 1970.]
Omkring Lykke-per. Copenhagen, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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His topics include the return of time: Marcel Proust and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, desire unbound: the Marquis de Sade and Angela Carter, the enchantment of history: Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie, Aladdin's nightmare: Henrik Pontoppidan and Ernst J'nger, and the multiple faces of Shahrazad: Leila Sebbar and Waciny Laredj.
The correspondence between the Norwegian Alexander Kielland and the Danish Drewsen family can be read as a drama about human passions in the lives of two married couples; the Danish novelist Henrik Pontoppidan's letters to various Scandinavian fellow-writers reflect literary and cultural history in the making; Knut Hamsun's dislike of most countries, including his native Norway, is obvious from his many prolonged stays in his favourite Denmark (Copenhagen had been instrumental in launching Hamsun on the literary scene).
Thus, the book can be read both as a bildungsroman of the author (or of any young man) and as a period picture, but the two genres are blended together in such a unique way that the work is raised to the level of such masterful memoirs as those by Henrik Pontoppidan and Martin Andersen Nexo.