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  • Author or Editor: Magda Králová x
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Abstract

In the study, I provide a comparative overview of the aesthetical debate that took place at the turn of the 18th and 19th century in Germany and Denmark concerning the use of the Old Norse versus the classical mythology in literature. I discuss Johann Gottfried Herder’s ideas on this topic, expressed in his work Vom neuern Gebrauch der Mythologie (1767) and especially in his dialogue Iduna oder der Apfel der Verjüngung (1796), with focus on the following question: Does the rejuvenating potential of the Norse myth as suggested by Herder in Iduna, allow any room for the classical inspirations in modern literature? Herder’s view will provide a starting point of the comparison for the cultural situation in Denmark where the University of Copenhagen announced in 1800 a prize question on aesthetics “Would it benefit Northern polite literature if ancient Northern mythology were introduced and generally accepted by our poets in place of its Greek counterpart?”. The entries in this contest represented the view of the younger generation, namely Adam Oehlenschläger, Jens Møller and Ludvig Stoud Platou. I summarize their views and examine Herder’s influence on the debate.

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