Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig

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Grundtvig, Nikolai Frederik Severin


Born Sept. 8, 1783, in Udby; died Sept. 2, 1872, in Copenhagen. Danish writer and historian.

Grundtvig became a bishop in 1861; he was a reformer of the church and school. He was an exponent of the sentiments of conservative circles of Denmark’s peasant democracy. He established so-called people’s high schools for the education of young people in the national and religious spirit; these schools spread throughout Scandinavia. Grundtvig’s first works were The School Proprietor (1802), a comedy that made sport of seminarians, and The Masked Ball (1808), a satiric poem. He was the author of historical and mythological works written from antirationalist premises, including The Mythology of the North (1808; revised edition, 1832) and Brief View of the History of the World (1812–17). He wrote religious and moralistic works. For his sermon The Reply to the Church (1825) he was fined and sentenced to lifetime censorship, which was remitted in 1838. His Collection of Songs for the Danish Church (1837–41) is pervaded with the ideas of conservative romanticism. Grundtvig had an influence on Kierkegaard.


Værker udvalg, vols. 1–10. Edited by G. Christensen and H. Koch. Copenhagen, 1940–49.


Khol’man, I. G. Vysshaia krest’ianskaia shkola v Danii i ee znachenie dlia razvitiia datskoi narodnoi kul’tury, 2nd ed. Petrograd, 1919.
Ronning, F. N. F. S. Grundtvig, vols. 1–4. Copenhagen, 1907–14.
Borup, J. N. F. S. Grundtvig. Copenhagen, 1943.
Norrild, S. Dansk litteratur fra Saxo til Kaj Munk, vol. 1. Copenhagen, 1949.
Koch, H. N. F. S. Grundtvig. Copenhagen, 1959.
Johansen, S. Bibliografi over N. F. S. Grundtvigs skrifter, vols. 1–4. Copenhagen, 1948–54.
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The loss of a large territory inspired Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig to envision his project of 'folkeoplysning'.