Welhaven, Johan Sebastian

Welhaven, Johan Sebastian

Welhaven, Johan Sebastian (yōhänˈ sābäsˈtyän vĕlˈhävən), 1807–73, Norwegian poet and critic. His charming and reflective poetry, tending toward the classical in style, drew much inspiration from Norwegian landscape, legend, and history. As a critic Welhaven led the intellectual opposition to the zealous democrat Wergeland. However, Welhaven shared Wergeland's liberal ideals in modified form, and after Wergeland's death he became the most important arbiter of taste in Norway.
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Welhaven, Johan Sebastian


Born Dec. 22, 1807, in Bergen; died Oct. 21, 1873, in Christiania. Norwegian poet and critic.

Welhaven received a theological education and was a professor of philosophy at Christiania. He transmitted the influence of Danish culture and language into Norwegian literature. Welhaven carried on arguments with H. Wergeland from the position of patriarchal, national romanticism. In his collection of satirical sonnets entitled Norway’s Twilight (1834), Welhaven ridiculed Wergeland’s patriotic convictions. Welhaven’s lyrical works (Poems, 1839, and Collected Poems, 1860) reveal his knowledge of Norwegian nature and the daily life of the peasants.


Samlede skrifter, vols. 1-8. Copenhagen, 1867-68.
Samlede digteverker, 4th ed., vols. 1-3. Oslo, 1943.


Handagard, I. Johan Welhaven: Liv og digtning, 2nded. Oslo, 1926.
Saugstad, P. J. S. Welhaven: En idealenes vokter. Oslo, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.