Ansichten und Aussichten- Festschrift für Hans-Heino Ewers
Imported Enlightenment. The Influence of German 18th-Century Children’s Literature in Denmark: Nina Christensen
The mutual influence of Danish and German children’s literature reflects the geographical proximity of the two countries. On the German market, works by Hans Christian Andersen, Karin Michaëlis, and Bjarne Reuter are examples of books that travelled from North to South. Among others, works by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Karl May, Erich Kästner, Lisa Tetzner, and Wolf Erlbruch are familiar to various generations of Danish children. This article focuses on a very influential, but less-known interaction between Germany and Denmark at an early stage of the history of children’s literature.
German writers and German thought on education and childhood were fundamental to the establishment of a Danish market for children’s literature in the second half of the 18th century. A remarkable number of works were translated, and the influence of works by German authors and educators was extensive. I will indicate some of the most significant examples of the intersection of German and Danish children’s literature in this period, and pay special attention to the influence of Christian Fürchtegott Gellert’s works on letter writing. Since there has been limited scholarly interest in 18th-century children’s literature in Denmark, this article will also exemplify the extent to which Danish children’s literature research depends on, and interacts with German research on this period.
It would be inaccurate to speak of a specific ‚Danish‘ or ‚German‘ children’s literature during this period. In general, the limited number of authors and an explosively growing market made room for translations, often without...