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Litanic Verse II

Britannia, Germania et Scandinavia


Edited By Witold Sadowski, Magdalena Kowalska and Magdalena Maria Kubas

The book contains comparative analyses of the development of litanic verse in European poetry, from medieval to modern times. Litanic verse is based on different syntactic devices, such as enumeration, parallelism, anaphora and epiphora. However, it is not to be seen merely as a convention of versification as the popularity of different variants of the verse in Europe reflects the religious, intellectual, social and political history of various European regions. The essays in the second volume focus on litanic verse in the Germanic languages. They discuss predominantly the literatures of Protestant countries (Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Norway), but also Austrian poetry.

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Litany in Retreat: Denmark from Romanticism to the 1930s


Having survived the unfavourable age of the Reformation, Danish litanic verse made its breakthrough in the Pietistic era, spreading its aesthetics over the psalmic production of the period. Judging by this remarkable revival one might expect that the development of the genre should continue throughout the following epochs, from Romanticism until the 1930s. But contrary to this expectation, the period examined in the present article illustrates a gradual decline of litanic verse in Danish literature. Due to the fact that the genre remains underrepresented in all of the literary periods discussed below, it is difficult to approach and describe its development from an overall perspective and draw ultimate conclusions. Therefore, by focusing only on the most valuable or interesting examples, the article discusses first of all the possible reasons for the decreasing popularity of litanic verse in Danish poetry from the onset of Romanticism up to the interwar period.

Danish Litanic Verse throughout the Period of Romanticism

The very idea of Romanticism was introduced to Denmark in 1802 with a series of lectures on the natural philosophy of Friedrich Schelling, which were given by the Norwegian-born scientist and philosopher Heinrich Steffens (1773–1845) upon his return from a long research stay at the University of Jena. Throughout the seventy years following this historical breakthrough, the Romantic impulse attracted and inspired some of the greatest and most influential Danish writers. Among them there were Adam Oehlenschläger (1779–1850), the precursor of Danish Universal Romanticism...

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