Danish poets on Danish identity. From Kok to Jensen. Jan Rosiek
Danish poets on Danish identity. From Kok to Jensen Jan Rosiek In this essay I wish to present a brief history of the conceptions of Danish identity as they emerge from important works of, in most cases major, Danish poets. In selecting material I have looked to canonical survival but have foregone any statistical criteria and simply chosen what I consider representative and informative, with some concern for aesthetic qualities. Scanning Danish political and military history in mapping of the values of „Nation“ (2008), Knud Wentzel suggests that we may divide it into five periods: a realm established by the Jelling stone, a state (in close collaboration with the Lutheran church) from 1536, a fatherland from 1750, a national state from 1864 (after the loss of Slesvig Holsten), and finally, the welfare state from 1945.1 As we shall see, these politically defined periods have certain parallels in the history of poetry as well, although one would have to include the traumatic loss of Norway in 1814 to complete the list of years that are important for poetry. Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities (1983, 1991) is of course the seminal point of departure whenever one discusses national identity, and I shall bear in mind his theory of national identity as an imagined community, delimited geographically but sovereign within its boundaries. He points to the novel and the newspaper as formally analogous to, indeed important factors in the eighteenth-century emergence of the national imaginary, as opposed to actual face-to-face communities. Yet he also...
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