Thorkild Bjørnvig

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Thorkild Strange Bjørnvig (Danish:  [ˈpjɶɐ̯nviːˀ] ; 2 February 1918, Aarhus, Denmark – 5 March 2004, Samsø) was a Danish author and poet. [1]

Aarhus City in Central Denmark Region, Denmark

Aarhus is the second-largest city in Denmark and the seat of Aarhus municipality. It is located on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula, in the geographical centre of Denmark, 187 kilometres (116 mi) northwest of Copenhagen and 289 kilometres (180 mi) north of Hamburg, Germany. The inner urban area contains 273,077 inhabitants and the municipal population is 340,421. Aarhus is the central city in Business Region Aarhus and in the East Jutland metropolitan area, which had a total population of 1.378 million in 2016.

Samsø island in Denmark

Samsø is a Danish island in the Kattegat 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) off the Jutland Peninsula. Samsø is located in Samsø municipality. The community has 3,724 inhabitants (2017) called Samsings and is 114 km² in area. Due to its central location, the island was used during the Viking Age as a meeting place. The etymology of the island's name is unknown.



Bjørnvig studied literature at the University of Aarhus and his prize winning MA thesis (1947) was about Rainer Maria Rilke, whose works he later translated into Danish. With Bjørn Poulsen he founded the literary journal Heretica , as a reaction against the modernist and realist wave in Danish literature, that had prevailed in the years before the Second World War. Bjørnvig also edited the first two volumes of the magazine. [2] Heretica was largely inspired by the British periodical The Criterion by T. S. Eliot and was published from 1948–1953, promoting writers such as Frank Jæger, Jørgen Gustava Brandt, Benny Andersen and Per Højholt. [3]

Rainer Maria Rilke Austrian poet and writer

René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke, better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist. He is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets". He wrote both verse and highly lyrical prose. Several critics have described Rilke's work as inherently "mystical". His writings include one novel, several collections of poetry and several volumes of correspondence in which he invokes haunting images that focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude and profound anxiety. These deeply existential themes tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist writers.

Heretica was a conservative cultural and literary magazine published in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 1948 to 1953.

Modernism movement of art, culture and philosophy

Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by reactions of horror to World War I. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious belief.

Among his poetry collections are Stjærnen bag Gavlen (1947), Anubis (1955), Figur og Ild (1959), Ravnen (1968) Morgenmørke (1977), Gennem regnbuen (1987) og Siv, vand og måne (1993). He also published essays about Danish and international authors such as Frank Jæger, Sophus Claussen, Rilke and Edgar Allan Poe. [1]

Sophus Claussen Danish writer (1865-1931)

Sophus Claussen was a Danish writer. He is best remembered for his neo-romanticism poems.

Edgar Allan Poe 19th-century American author, poet, editor and literary critic

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and of American literature as a whole, and he was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story. He is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

In a series of autobiographical books, he described his complicated friendship with Karen Blixen from 1948 to 1955 (Pagten, 1974), his childhood (Solens have og skolegården, 1983; Hjørnestuen og månehavet, 1984) and his time as a student during and after World War II (Jordens hjerte, 1986; Ønsket, 1987). [1]

Karen Blixen Danish writer

Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke was a Danish author who wrote works in Danish and English. She is best known under her pen names Isak Dinesen, used in English-speaking countries, and Tania Blixen, used in German-speaking countries. She also published works using the aliases Osceola and Pierre Andrézel.

Denmark in World War II German military occupation of Denmark during World War II

At the outset of World War II, Denmark declared itself neutral. For most of the war, the country was a protectorate, then an occupied territory of Germany. The decision to occupy Denmark was taken in Berlin on 17 December 1939. On 9 April 1940, Germany occupied Denmark in Operation Weserübung and the king and government functioned as normal in a de facto protectorate over the country until 29 August 1943, when Germany placed Denmark under direct military occupation, which lasted until the Allied victory on 5 May 1945. Contrary to the situation in other countries under German occupation, most Danish institutions continued to function relatively normally until 1945. Both the Danish government and king remained in the country in an uneasy relationship between a democratic and a totalitarian system until the Danish government stepped down in a protest against the German demands to institute the death penalty for sabotage.

In 2006, the title poem from Bjørnvig's 1955 collection of poems Anubis became part of the Danish Culture Canon of literature. [4]

The Danish Culture Canon consists of 108 works of cultural excellence in eight categories: architecture, visual arts, design and crafts, film, literature, music, performing arts, and children's culture. An initiative of Brian Mikkelsen in 2004, it was developed by a series of committees under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Culture in 2006–2007 as "a collection and presentation of the greatest, most important works of Denmark's cultural heritage." Each category contains 12 works although music contains 12 works of score music and 12 of popular music and the literature section's 12th item is an anthology of 24 works.


Thorkild Strange Bjørnvig grew up in Mejlgade in Aarhus as the son of factory inspector Theodor Frese Pedersen Bjørnvig and his wife Adda Thomine Hammel Jensen. He graduated from Aarhus Katedralskole in 1938, after which he became a student of literary science at Aarhus University. In 1964 he attained a doctorates degree at the same university. [5]

Mejlgade street in Aarhus Municipality, Denmark

Mejlgade is a street in Aarhus which runs north to south from Østbanetorvet to Skolegade and intersects Nørrebrogade. The street is situated in the historic Latin Quarter neighborhood and has the highest number of historic and listed buildings in the city. Mejlgade is one-way and no-parking zone for cars for most of its length and pedestrians and cyclists are given priority. The single lane is tiled and a part of the Cykelringen bicycle ring which circumnavigates the city center. Mejlgade has a high number of small specialty shops and some cafés and bars.

Aarhus Katedralskole

Aarhus Katedralskole is a cathedral school, an institution of secondary education, a Danish Gymnasium and a listed building in Aarhus, Denmark. The school is situated in the neighborhood Midtbyen, in the Latin Quarter, bounded by the streets Mejlgade, Kystvejen and Skolegyde. Aarhus Katedralskole offers the 3 year Matriculation examination (STX) programme with elective subjects in the natural sciences, social sciences and arts. The school is an independent self-owning institution financed by the Danish state with about 800 students divided across 30 classes.

Aarhus University public university in Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus University is the largest and second oldest research university in Denmark. The University is placed in the top 100 in most prestigious rankings of the world's best universities, belongs to the Coimbra Group and Utrecht Network of European universities and is a member of the European University Association.

From 1973 onwards, Thorkild Bjørnvig lived on the island of Samsø.


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  1. 1 2 3 Thorkild Bjørnvig - Den Store Danske Encyklopædi
  2. David William Foster; James Raymond Kelly (1 January 2003). Bibliography in Literature, Folklore, Language, and Linguistics: Essays on the Status of the Field. McFarland. p. 25. ISBN   978-0-7864-1447-5.
  3. Klaus P. Mortensen and May Schack, ed. (2008). "Heretica 1948-1953". Den Store Danske Encyclopædi (in Danish). Dansk Litteraturs Historie Vol. 4 (1920-1960). Gyldendal. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  4. Kulturkanonen, Kulturministeriet. (in Danish) Retrieved 9 December 2017
  5. Thorkild Bjørnvig (in Danish)