General Editor of Danish Golden Age Studies is
The Crisis of the Danish Golden Age and Its Modern Resonance
Edited by Jon Stewart and Nathaniel Kramer
Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press 2020
Volume 12 of the series
Date of Publication: 2020
Hardback. xiv+276pp. ISBN 978-87-635-4670-6
The historical circumstances of the Danish Golden Age are well known: the Napoleonic Wars, the bombardment of Copenhagen, the state bankruptcy in 1814 with the ensuing financial crisis, the Revolution of 1848, and the establishment of a parliamentary democracy in 1849. There were peasant reforms, religious upheavals, and changes in class and social structures. These events constituted the milieu in which the Golden Age was born and developed. The guiding idea of the present volume is that these different crises served not just as a backdrop or as obstacles but rather as catalysts for the flowering of culture in the Golden Age.
Despite their many debates and polemics among themselves, the leading figures of Golden Age Denmark were generally in agreement about the fact that their age was in a state of crisis. The dramatic events spilled over into the various cultural spheres and shaped them in different ways. The articles in this volume trace the different crises as they appear in literature, criticism, religion, philosophy, politics and the social sciences. The contributing authors draw compelling parallels between the perceived crisis of the Golden Age and the acute issues of our own day. The articles collected here thus together show the continuing relevance of the Golden Age for readers of the twenty-first century.
Culture in the Thought of Søren Kierkegaard
Volume 11 of the series
Date of Publication: 2019
xviii+407pp. ISBN 978-87-635-4642-3
Previously Published Volumes
3 of the series
I: The Heiberg Period: 1824-1836
Tome I: The Heiberg Period: 1824-1836
Date of Publication: 2007
Hardback. xxi+629pp. ISBN 978-87-635-3086-6
The present tome is the first of a three-volume work dedicated to exploring the profound influence of G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophical thinking in Golden Age Denmark. This initial volume covers the period from the beginning of the Hegel reception in the Danish Kingdom in the 1820s until 1836.
The dominant figure from this period is the poet and critic Johan Ludvig Heiberg. While Søren Kierkegaard’s polemic with the Danish Hegelians is well-known, the actual texts and ideas of these thinkers have received little attention in their own right.
The present work demonstrates that this largely overlooked tradition of Hegel reception played a profound and indeed constitutive role in many aspects of Golden Age culture: philosophy, theology, literature, poetry, law, journalism, the arts, etc. Moreover, it brought into its orbit most all of the main figures from the period.
zeichnet sich aus durch eine virtuose und akribische
Materialkenntnis der dänischen Hegelrezeption. Ein solches
man nur schreiben nach jahrzehntelanger Arbeit am Thema."
“This is the first of three ‘tomes’ of Jon Stewart’s Habilitationsschrift in philosophy at the University of Copenhagen; the second concerns The Martensen Period: 1837-1842, and the third Kierkegaard and the Left-Hegelian-Period: 1842-1860. Together they make up volume 3 of Stewart’s series Danish Golden Age Studies. Their purpose is ‘to put forth the basic information about the Danish Hegel reception in a clear and readable fashion.’ Such information needs to be put forth because, unlike Hegel’s reception throughout the rest of Europe and beyond, Danish Hegelianism remains largely but unjustly neglected in scholarly circles…. [R]eaders will appreciate Stewart’s tireless and productive labors, both here and elsewhere, to illuminate this neglected but important area of European thought.”
Paul Vincent Spade, Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 41, no. 1, January 2009, pp. 150-151.
“This is a large-scale undertaking and a work rich in perspectives since it gives us a somewhat different picture of the contemporary age which formed Søren Kierkegaard…. It is a more panoramic, dynamic and open picture that Stewart’s treatise sketches of Danish thinking in this period—a picture that helps us to understand why there would also have been a philosophical Golden Age even without Kierkegaard, however shocking that might seem.”
Lasse Horne Kjældgaard, Politiken, February 9, 2008, section “Bøger,” p. 13.
the first extensive presentation, in either the Danish
research world or the international research world, of a
series of texts that together constitute a central line in
the intellectual life of the Danish Golden Age. The author
argues that not a few of these texts represent original
contributions to the age’s philosophical discussions. Not
least of all the international research into Søren
Kierkegaard’s universe of thought will be able to make use
of the material that the author presents and the conclusions
he draws…. This is an impressive work based on extensive
knowledge of the texts of the Danish Golden Age and those
relevant for Hegel’s thought. The author aims at
exhaustiveness, not least of all with the bibliographical
work. He brings forth a series of figures, both large and
less significant, from the period treated, whose written
works display a familiarity with Hegel’s philosophy, or in
which Hegel is at least referred to….No future work on the
Danish Golden Age and its leading figures will be able to
pass by the results that the author has achieved…. The
author with his treatise has demonstrated significant
scholarly insight and maturity and has moved research into
the Danish Golden Age a large step forward….There can be no
doubt that his work will influence both the Danish and the
international Kierkegaard research for a long time to come.”
Beitrag zur Rekontextualisierung von Kierkegaards Denken
immerhin vom in Amerika geborenen Jon Stewart geleistet.
Der seit 1996 im
Sören-Kierkegaard-Forschungscenter angestellte Forscher
hat zunächst zwei
umfangreiche Bände unter dem Titel A
History of Hegelianism in Golden Age Denmark
Tome II: The Martensen Period: 1837-1842
Date of Publication: 2007
Hardback. xx+775pp. ISBN 978-87-635-3101-6
This second tome treats the most dynamic period in the history of the Danish Hegel reception, namely, the years from 1837 to 1842. The main figure in this period is the theologian Hans Lassen Martensen who made Hegel’s philosophy a sensation among the students at the University of Copenhagen in the late 1830s.
This period also includes the publication of Johan Ludvig Heiberg’s Hegelian journal, Perseus, in 1837 and 1838, and the monumental review of it by Frederik Christian Sibbern. During this time Hegel’s philosophy flourished in unlikely genres such as drama, with Heiberg’s speculative comedy, Fata Morgana (1838), and lyric poetry with his New Poems (1841), which included his satirical classic, “A Soul after Death.” This period also witnessed Hegel’s philosophy make inroads in fields such as jurisprudence and art criticism. During these years Hegelianism enjoyed an unprecedented success in Denmark that began to fade as it gradually became perceived as a dangerous trend.
Curtis L. Thompson
Martensen Mattered to Kierkegaard
Volume 4 of the series
Date of Publication: 2008
Hardback. xvi+216pp. ISBN 978-87-635-1097-4
Søren Kierkegaard never shared the cultured public’s enthusiasm for Hans Lassen Martensen, whom it identified as its chosen one. This volume examines the Kierkegaard-Martensen relationship, establishing ways in which the speculative theologian Martensen was a source for Kierkegaard’s thought.
Kierkegaard’s relationship with Martensen was multidimensional and volatile. He functioned as Kierkegaard’s personal acquaintance and occasional conversation partner, tutor, teacher, dissertation committee evaluator, representative of Golden Age Danish culture, book writing and selling competitor, fellow Lutheran and bishop. While the two never saw things eye-to-eye, and Kierkegaard’s dislike for Martensen received expression in his writings, this spiteful ridicule and derision was directed toward one upon whom Kierkegaard was significantly dependent.
Kierkegaard’s intellectual life and work underwent extensive development during the two decades of his literary output from 1834 to his death in 1855. These developments can be better grasped by investigating developments that Martensen himself was going through. Martensen’s career progressed from an early concern with philosophy of religion addressed to the public of the academy, to dogmatic theology addressed to the public of the church, to practical theology addressed to the public of society. The questions and issues preoccupying Martensen changed with these progressions, and these changes did not go unnoticed by Kierkegaard.
The case is here argued that Kierkegaard followed Martensen’s intellectual development very closely and that Martensen’s shifting theological agenda in fact notably shaped the evolving agenda of Kierkegaard’s own developing religious thought.
Johan Ludvig Heiberg
Littérateur, Dramaturge, and Political Thinker
Edited by Jon Stewart
Volume 5 of the series
Date of Publication: 2008
Hardback. xxii+548pp. ISBN 978-87-635-1096-7
The present anthology is dedicated to the varied work of Johan Ludvig Heiberg (1791-1860). While Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Christian Andersen and N.F.S. Grundtvig have long been recognized as leading cultural figures of the Golden Age, worthy of careful study, Heiberg’s reception has been slower, despite the fact that he was a towering figure in his own day. Although Heiberg has been studied for years in Denmark by scholars such as Henning Fenger and Morten Borup, he has not enjoyed the same reputation abroad. Recently, however, Heiberg’s work has begun to catch the eye of international scholars.
This volume is a collection of articles dedicated to the different dimensions of Johan Ludvig Heiberg’s thought. It is an interdisciplinary collection in an attempt to cover as many different aspects of Heiberg’s intellectual activity as possible. Thus, scholars from fields such as philosophy, literature, theology, philology, history, and art history are represented with original contributions.
Philosopher and Social Critic
Edited by Jon Stewart
Volume 6 of the series
Date of Publication: 2011
Hardback. xv+351pp. ISBN 978-87-635-3169-6
Although he has long been known primarily as the object of Søren Kierkegaard’s disdain, Hans Lassen Martensen (1808-84) was a celebrated figure in his own time. Recognized as a brilliant scholar and highly successful churchman, Martensen worked in a number of different areas of theology and philosophy, producing an impressive literary corpus over a period of several decades. His authorship is remarkably varied, including philosophical treatises, theological tracts, sermons, eulogies, book and theater reviews, as well as polemical and occasional pieces. During his lifetime, he saw his works translated into German, Swedish, English, French, Hungarian and Dutch. These works were widely read and frequently reprinted in numerous editions throughout the second half of the century. It is unfortunate that to international research he was known for many years only as a central figure in Kierkegaard’s attack on the Danish State Church.
In the past few decades there has, however, been a renewed appreciation for Martensen as an important thinker in his own right. The present anthology attempts to bring together the works of the leading Danish and international scholars responsible for this recent surge of interest.
In order to capture the different aspects of Martensen’s thought, the volume has been organized into three main rubrics: I. Theology, II. Philosophy, and III. Politics and Social Theory. Collectively, the articles featured here treat Martensen’s main works from his dissertation, On the Autonomy of Human Self-Consciousness in 1837 to his monumental, three-volume Christian Ethics from the 1870s. The authors demonstrate that the problems critically addressed by Martensen in the Danish Golden Age are still very much with us today in the twenty-first century.
Heibergs and the Theater
Edited by Jon Stewart
Volume 7 of the series
Date of Publication: 2012
Hardback. ix+351pp. ISBN 978-87-635-3897-8
was Johan Ludvig Heiberg the most famous theater critic of the
Danish Golden Age, but he also wrote the most important
essays about theater. Some of his dramatic works belong to most
successful plays ever performed at the Royal Theater. Moreover,
was married to one of the greatest Danish actresses of the
century. Both his wife Johanne Luise Heiberg and his mother
Gyllembourg wrote dramatic works that were performed on the
the Royal Theater. At the end of his career Heiberg finally
director of the Royal Theater from 1849 to 1856.
"Heiberg’s memory was restored by the many years of philological research of scholars like Bruce Kirmmse, Alastair Hannay and others that was completed by the efforts of the Kierkegaard Research Centre in Copenhagen initiated and directed by Niels Jørgen Cappelørn and masterfully executed by Jon Stewart. These revealed Heiberg’s real importance and influence based on accurate philological research followed by translations and publications of his works to make the forgotten texts available....This volume...helps us to understand deeper and better the role and the activity of the most influential family of 19th century Copenhagen."
András Nagy, European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, vol. 45, no. 2, 2015, pp. 240-248.
"The Heibergs and the Theater is clearly an important contribution to the evolving field of Heiberg studies. It provides a wealth of valuable insights into the history and culture of the Danish Golden Age and, of course, into the Heibergs themselves. For the most part, the pieces work nicely together to create a significantly new and provocative picture of the Danish Golden Age, even as they cross sometimes well-trodden territory. What is perhaps most notable is the nuance and complexity explored by the volume….Two decades ago, one would have been hard- pressed to find such discussions of the Heibergs. This volume represents not just an important addition to the field, but also a significant leap forward in the growing sophistication of the field."
Nate Kramer, Scandinavian Studies, vol. 87, no. 2, 2015, pp. 303-309.
Literature, Theater and the Emancipation of Women
Volume 8 of the series
Date of Publication: 2013
Hardback. xvi+200pp. ISBN 978-87-635-3913-5
In recent years there has been a growing interest in the rich culture of the Danish Golden Age. It is no exaggeration to say that in almost every area of cultural life women played a significant role in this period. While some works on this topic have appeared in Danish, the international reader has had very little opportunity to assess the important cultural contributions made by women during the Golden Age.
The present monograph wishes to fill this gap by presenting the role of women in literature and theater and by discussing the more general question of the emancipation of women of the time. The book is divided into three main parts, based on three main areas of interest. Each area has its central figure, who can be regarded as representative for the respective field. Thus, the first part, dedicated to literature, has as its focal point Thomasine Gyllembourg (1773-1856) and her writings. The second part deals with the theater and the most famous actress of the period, Johanne Luise Heiberg (1812-90). Finally, the third part discusses the question of the emancipation of women examined through the case of the controversial author Mathilde Fibiger (1830-72).
"...the author succeeds in presenting three relatively unknown but central Danish women--author Thomasine Gyllembourg, actor Johanne Luise Heiberg, and feminist Mathilde Fibiger--to an international audience. Writing in a clear, engagin narrative style, Nun devotes roughly a third of the text to each woman. The most interesting treats cultural matriarch Madame Gyllembourg, whose novel Two Ages receives a fresh analysis [...]. Nun succesfully unbinds Two Ages from Kierkegaard's treatment of it in A Literary Review (1846; Eng. tr., 2001)--through which the novel is probably best known to non-Danish readers--by arguing that Kierkegaard was not so much reviewing Two Ages as he was using aspects of it to explore his own concerns."
- J. Sundquist, Choice, vol. 51, 2013
"Through countless sources and with a very well developed understanding of the period, Katalin Nun guides the reader through the landscape of high culture in Copenhagen in the "Golden Age". … Not only are personalities such as Johanne Louise Heiberg, Thomasine Gyllembourg and Mathilde Fibiger interesting by virtue of their own writings; in her account, Nun manages to prove their impact on other thinkers of their time, for example, on Johann L. Heiberg who was greatly influenced by all three women, and so was Kierkegaard to a degree. … The reader, who is unfamiliar with the details of the period's debates and publications, is presented with a methodical and balanced introduction, while the insider obtains more insight into relationships and intellectual exchanges which have not always been granted appropriate attention."
- Ann-Sofie Gremaud, NORDEUROPAforum, 2014.
Read the full review here
Martensen and Kierkegaard
Volume 9 of the series
Date of Publication: 2015
Hardback. xvi+337pp. ISBN 978-87-635-4269-2
The Danish Golden Age spanned a period of time that saw a number of different kinds of crisis: political, economic and cultural. Events such as the French Revolution, the Napoleonic wars, the national bankruptcy in 1813, the Revolution of 1848 and the first Schleswig War radically transformed Danish society. The many changes that took place at this time made it a dynamic period in which artists, poets, philosophers, and religious thinkers were constantly enjoined to reassess the current situation. Some of Denmarks greatest luminaries, such Johan Ludvig Heiberg, Hans Lassen Martensen and Soren Kierkegaard, articulated the nature of the crisis and proposed different solutions to it.
The present work traces the different aspects and dimensions of this crisis by means of a series of case studies. It shows how the perception of the crisis was a kind of spirit that haunted many of the intellectuals and artists of the period. But far from being something negative or destructive, it was a motivating and stimulating force that helped to make the Golden Age what is was. It made artists and thinkers more willing to break with the past and seek new solutions and approaches. Thus it is argued that the crisis can be seen as one of the central defining elements of what we know as Danish Golden Age culture. But the present work is not a purely historical study since it is shown that many of the key elements of the crisis can still be found in our modern world today. Heibergs diagnosis of the period as suffering from relativism, subjectivism and nihilism sounds strikingly familiar to the modern reader. When seen in this manner, the Danish Golden Age becomes profoundly interesting and relevant for the broad spectrum of problems of modernity.
gehen von der simplen Feststellung aus, dass sich
Kierkegaard nicht an den
philosophischen Schriften Hegels abarbeitet, sondern in
erster Linie an
Arbeiten aus seinem dänischen Umfeld, die ihrerseits von
Hegel inspiriert sind.
Mit dieser feinen Akzentverschiebung gelingt es Stewart,
eine der wichtigsten
intertextuellen Grundlagen der Kierkegaard-Forschung in
Frage zu stellen. … Immer
wieder gelingt es Stewart in seiner Studie auf solch
überraschende und kontraintuitive
Querverbindungen zwischen Kierkegaard und seinen dänischen
aufmerksam zu machen. Dabei unterstreicht er die Modernität
einer umfassenden Krisenerfahrung,
die eben nicht nur bei Kierkegaard formuliert wird, sondern
auch bei Heiberg
und seinen Kritikern. … Insgesamt…handelt es sich um ein
Buch, das sich gleichermassen an Kierkegaard-Forscher sowie
Guldalder interessierte Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaftler
Stewart viser, at
det giver god mening at åbne historiske tekster op ved at
læse dem i sammenhæng
med andre samtidige tekster som de direkte eller—som ofte er
her—indirekte refererer til og er i dialog med. Ud af det
kommer der overbevisende,
men også meget tekstnære og detaljerede analyser af
Møller Jørgensen, "The Cultural
Crisis of the Danish Golden Age - Heiberg, Martensen and
23 November, 2015.
Møller Jørgensen, "The Cultural
Crisis of the Danish Golden Age - Heiberg, Martensen and
23 November, 2015.
See also the translation series
Design and layout: Katalin Nun Stewart. Illustrations: Museum Tusculanum Press, Wikimedia Commons and Katalin Nun Stewart.