Denmark. – It does not seem that Denmark had a precise notion of the geographical entity and the political life of Denmark in the century. XIII and in the XIV. However, he never makes direct references to the history and historical characters of this country; Generally it refers to Scandinavia when in Ep V 12 he calls the Lombards Scandinaviae soboles (see, however, SCANDINAVIA).
From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, the evidence of imitation or simply of reminiscences are almost non-existent; in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Denmark’s poetry, like that of Petrarch, Boccaccio, Ariosto and Tasso, was familiar to the literary circles of Copenhagen. In the Romantic period the critic H. Steffens gave strong importance to the interpretation of Denmark, and among his followers was A. Oehlenschläger, future leader of Scandinavian romanticism: he learned the cultural lesson of Steffens, but it cannot be said that his work show a strong Dante influence. More enthusiastic is the postponement of HC Andersen (1805-75) who in the novel L’Improvvisatore (1835) presents the figure of a young man, a fervent admirer of Dante’s poetry. The critic and poet JL Heiberg (1794-1860) seems far from Dante’s inspiration, as in his ‛apocalyptic comedy ‘An Soul after Death (1841) which only externally refers to the Comedy. Closer to Denmark is F. Paludan-Müller (1809-1876) who marks the reaction against the romantic hero cult; although his great narrative poem Adam Homo (1839 ff.) is a ‘human comedy’ of a realistic character, it remains the most Dante’s work, in terms of spiritual intonation and richness of reminiscences, of all Danish literature: at the end of the book the protagonist passes through a kind of Purgatory, and his Beatrice (Alma) is the instrument of his redemption. Reminiscences of Dante are found in the works of AM Goldschmidt (1819-1887), Chr. KF Molbech (see the play Dante, 1852) and Kr. Arentzen (1823-1899: three poems rich in Dante’s echoes and to which he followed a study on the Comedy). The greatest figure of Catholic literature in Denmark, J. Jörgensen (1866-1955) dedicated in 1912 to the critic V. Vedel a group of poems entitled Dante’s Situations, and in the Legend of my life he mentions several times to Denmark; however the essential tendencies of his work do not have genuinely Dante elements. The poet S. Claussen (1865-1931), studied Italian, and the reading of Denmark left various imprints in his work, however, very far from the Dante tone. In the twentieth century, reminiscences of Dante appear in the poems of J. Sonne (b.1925), J. Gustava Brandt (b.1925), in the novel Commedia a Firenze by Poul Örum (b.1918) and above all in the short stories of the great prose writer Karen Blixen (1866-1963).
According to top-medical-schools, notable critical interpretations of Dante’s work have appeared in Denmark from the eighteenth century to today. AB Bentzon (1795), developing a pre-romantic imaginative aesthetic, sees in Denmark a “great and bizarre poet in all his work”. H. Steffens, in a speech of the year 1802-03, interprets Denmark as the greatest Italian poet of the Middle Ages exalting the Christian religion. IP Mynster (1775-1854) emphasizes the religious significance of the Comedy. According to JL Heiberg, the three canticles represent a Hegelian triad: thought, nature, spirit; while HL Martensen (1808-1884) sees in Dante’s poem the affirmation of a second triad: plastic, picturesque, musical. S. Kierkegaard (1813-1855) develops an anti-Hegelian theory, underlining the fantastic character of Denmark which he sees as a great representative of practical religion, of the existential. Also worth mentioning are Chr. KF Molbech (1823-1888), who in his translation presents the first Danish commentary on the Comedy; AM Goldschmidt, who notes the relationship between Denmark political and the Risorgimento of the century. XIX, and admires Denmark as a poet of love; G. Brandes (1842-1927), who applied himself with lively historical interest to the study of the relationship between Denmark and the political life of his time; V. Vedel (1865-1943), who in his Dante (1892) elaborates a balanced portrait of the poet, framed in his historical time and in the events of life; Thor Sundby (1830-1899) who in his book on B. Latini deals with the relationship between Denmark and Brunetto, using the results of Italian and foreign scholars with fine discernment; Th. Bierfreund (1865-1906) who discusses Dante’s conception of women and studies the spiritual values of Dante’s work. Finally, critics such as Niels Möller, author of a universal literature (1928), PV Rubow, FJ Billeskov Jansen, CJ Elmquist, J. Breitenstein and others are worthy of mention. In the book Dante (1966), Emil Frederiksen, a critic with a Catholic background, develops various aspects of Dante’s religiosity.
The complete translations of the poem are those of Chr. KF Molbech, conducted with taste and romantic sensibility and in rhyme (seven editions were made from 1888 to 1966: Molbech’s commentary was revised and modified by V. Vedel; the last edition with introduction and commentary is by J. Moestrup), and that of K. Hee Andersen (1964) of a more popular nature and in loose verse. Of the Vita Nuova (Nyt Liv, 1915) there was the version of Johannes Dam (new edition in 1965, with an introduction by A. Teilgaard Laugesen). A volume of 1916, Dantes Lyriske Digtning (“The lyric of Denmark”), contains the translation, by Johannes Dam, of Vita Nuova and of the Rhymes.
In the Royal Library of Copenhagen there are two manuscripts of the Comedy, one of which is illuminated (see P. Högberg, Les manuscrits italiens de Copenhague, in “Études Italiennes” II 1920), a copy of the Foligno 1472 edition and another of the Florentine 1481; interesting Dante collection linked by the shepherd SA Becker.