Ludvig Holberg

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Holberg, Ludvig


Born Dec. 3, 1684, in Bergen, Norway; died Jan. 28, 1754, in Copenhagen. Danish writer.

Holberg was the most prominent figure of the Enlightenment in Scandinavia. He graduated from the University of Copenhagen in 1704 and became a professor there in 1714. A Norwegian by descent, Holberg inherited the democratic traditions of the Norwegian peasantry, who had never known serfdom. He was an advocate of enlightened monarchy.

In 1719–20, Holberg published the satirical narrative poem Peder Paars (vols. 1–4) under the pseudonym of Hans Mikkel-sen, a brewer from Kalundborg; he employed motifs from this work in later writings. Drawing on the traditions established by Moliere and the commedia dell’arte, Holberg ridiculed his contemporaries who aped the French nobility (Jean de France, 1722), arrogant nobles (Don Ranudo, 1723), moneygrubbers (The 11th of July, 1723), and vainglorious warriors (Jakob von Thyboe, 1723). In the satirical play Jeppe of the Hill (1722) he portrayed a downtrodden peasant who retains his native wit. The comedy Erasmus Montanus (1723; Russian translation, 1902) has tragic undertones.

Holberg expressed aristocratic sociopolitical views in The Political Tinker (c. 1722; Russian translation, 1830). However, his comedies and the work of the Danish Theater, which he founded in 1722, were repressed by reactionary Danish circles. The theater was closed in 1730 and did not reopen until 1748. Holberg wrote historical and philosophical works, including History of the Kingdom of Denmark (vols. 1–3, 1732–35; Russian translation parts 1–2, 1765–66). His Nils Klim’s Journey Under the Ground (1741; written in Latin; Russian translation, 1762) was a sociopolitical satire of contemporary Europe.

Holberg had imitators in many European countries. He was well known in Russia, where his fables were translated by D. I. Fonvizin. His plays, which remain fundamental works in the classical repertoire of Danish and Norwegian theaters, had a considerable influence on the development of realist literature in Scandinavia.


Samleder skrifter, vols. 1–17. Copenhagen, 1913–40.
In Russian translation:
Komedii. Introductory article by A. Gozenpud. Leningrad-Moscow, 1957.


Brandes, G. “L. Gol’berg.” Sobr. soch., 2nd ed., vol. 3, part 3. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Gozenpud, A. “Datskii teatr.” In Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 4. Moscow, 1964.
Mortensen, K. L. Holberg. Copenhagen, 1925.
Brix, H. Holbergs komedier. Copenhagen, 1942.
TopsRe-Jensen, H. H. C. Andersen og Holberg. Copenhagen, 1956.
Olrik, H. G. L. Holberg—undersRgelser og kroniker. Copenhagen, 1959.
Ehrencron-Müller, H. Bibliografi over Holbergs skrifter, vols. 1–3. Copenhagen, 1933–35.
Ludvig Khol’berg: Biobibliograficheslii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Grieg's Holberg Suite, written in 1884, is a tribute to the 200th birthday of Scandinavian playwright Ludvig Holberg. The five Baroque dances would have been in the style of Holberg's experience.
Other narratives written in Latin by non-native speakers include John Barclay's Argenis (1621) and Ludvig Holberg's Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum (1741).
In January 1817 Shelley recorded that on 'Teusday [sic] 28th' she 'Read journey to the World Underground--return to the Godwins--read the Rehearsal.' She was referring to A Journey to the World Under-ground: being the subterraneous travels of Niels Klim, originally published in Latin in 1741 by Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754), Scandinavia's closest approximation to Voltaire.
Well before 1980, however, Fumaroli had indicated the wide range of his interests with a sequence of trenchant and penetrating articles about Parisian theatre, including interviews with Fernando Arrabal and Peter Brook and analyses of Ludvig Holberg and Sacha Guitry.
The concept for "The Beautiful Bridegroom" came about as he was doing his research and came across a one-act play by the 18th century Danish-Norwegian playwright Ludvig Holberg.
Three authors are worth mentioning among historians, who approached Danish-Estonian history: Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754), Peder Friedrich Suhm (1728-1798) and Ove Malling (1747-1829).
Fitting gives us the chance to reacquaint ourselves with the fascinating Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground (1741) by Ludvig Holberg, mentioned by Poe as appropriate reading-matter for that etiolated valetudinarian, Roderick Usher.
Based on a play by the 18th-century dramatist, Ludvig Holberg, the libretto is, like Le nozze di Figaro, about a master and his valet.
Finally, it appears as a slightly anachronistic use of terminology when the playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754) is called 'one of the earliest and most vocal of the European feminists', and when the author discusses Ibsen's 'feminist education' (p.
Brandes wrote many scholarly studies illustrating his radical ideas, including monographs on the Danish religious philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, the German socialist leader Ferdinand Lassalle, and the Scandinavian playwright Ludvig Holberg. Notable among his critical works are Det moderne gjennembruds mand (1883; "Men of the Modern Breakthrough"; i.e., his own followers) and Danske digtere (1877; "Danish Poets").
In actual fact, older Norwegian and Danish literature circulated freely in the same literary waters: Ludvig Holberg, Johannes Ewald, Amalie Skram, Johannes V.