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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

According to more traditional accounts in literary history, the exact date when Romanticism first reaches Scandinavia can be identified. In 1802, the geologist and philosopher of nature, Henrik Steffens, returns to Copenhagen after spending seven years studying and researching in Jena. Back in Denmark, he holds a controversial and widely noted series of lectures that familiarize the Danish audience with the ideas of German Romanticism. The literary impact ascribed to Steffens’s lectures is at least equally as relevant as its philosophical content, as the young poet Adam Oehlenschläger was a member of the audience. According to an anecdote in his autobiography, the creation of the first programmatic poem of Scandinavian Romanticism was inspired by a sixteen-hour-long discussion with Steffens. The anecdote of the poem’s origin alone shows how Oehlenschläger contributes to the self-referential staging and mythical aggrandisement of the epochal break into Romanticism which this chapter examines.

Keywords: Romanticism, Realism, Denmark, Oehlenschläger, Steffens, philosophy, novel, myth.

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