Holger Danske as Literary Danish Identity in the Work of H. C. Andersen and B. S. Ingemann

Among the many Danish authors who have worked with the legend of the Danish folkhero Holger Danske, two in particular stand out as having used the legend for similar purposes. It may come as a surprise to discover that the two authors are in fact Bernhard Severin Ingemann and Hans Christian Andersen. The literary techniques and interests of these two authors would not bear most comparisons; and in questions of personality, the two do not resemble each other in the slightest. Yet in B. S. Ingemann's epic poem Holger Danske and in H. C. Andersen's short story, "Holger Danske", one may find some completely unexpected parallels. In regarding these two works, the question then arises, where do the parallels end and where do the dissimilarities begin?

The beginning of the Nineteenth Century was a particularly difficult time for the Danish kingdom. Shortly after the turn of the century, Copenhagen was bombed to near ruins by the British royal navy as a preemptive strike against any sort of FrenchDanish alliance during the Napoleonic wars. The duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were once again declaring their desire to unite with Germany, a desire that was fulfilled later in the century. A declining agricultural basis and a burgeoning middle class threatened to disturb the accepted social structure (Litteraturhåndbogen 121). In many ways, the future of Denmark looked very dark indeed. Of the early years of the Nineteenth Century, N. F. S. Grundtvig said, "Danmark bukkede under og nedsank i en ti års tid så dybt i armod og mismod, afmagt og ligegyldighed, at jeg ikke uden en vis gru kan tænke mig tilbage" (Lh 141). [Denmark bowed under and submerged into a decade so deep in poverty and dejection, impotence and apathy, that I cannot without a certain horror think back upon it.] This crisis in Danish culture was answered by a peculiarly liberal movement among Danish academics, nationalism. Poets and intellectuals began to call for an awakening of Danish national identity, and of these nationalistic authors, perhaps the most wellknown is B. S. Ingemann. Ingemann wrote a series of nationalhistorical novels that dealt with Danish heroes from the Middle Ages, in the hope of strengthening Danish national identity. Ingemann himself is commonly regarded as an author without political interest who held himself apart from the great political debates of the day. He describes how "tidens politiske cholera morbus opsluger desværre alt åndeligt liv" (Lh 390) [the era's political cholera morbus unfortunately swallows up all intellectual life], and he saw nationalism as a Christian moral obligation, not as a political or liberal philosophy (Lh 390). Yet, can one say that Ingemann is entirely without political interest? B. S. Ingemann attempts to create a hero that is entirely Danish with his epic poem Holger Danske. When one analyses the poem, one discovers a strategy that attempts to create Danish national identity in relationship to the European context, and in that aspect Ingemann is quite clearly politically interested. How can Ingemann use the legend of Holger Danske to author Danish national identity? Where is the political strategy in Ingemann's poem?

H. C. Andersen can also easily be described as an author without great political interest. Essentially, there were two great factors that influenced Andersen throughout his life: "kunstnerdriften og den sociale ambition. For ham var kunstnerisk udfoldelse den eneste reelle mulighed for samfundsmæssig opstigning" (Lh 343) [artistic impulse and social ambition. For him, artistic development was the only real possibility for social ascent.] That is to say, Andersen was most interested in his art and in himself. Politics was out of necessity a much lesser interest. Andersen understood the politics of himself, the means to become selfsatisfied, but not necessarily the politics of the world around him. Yet in 1865, Andersen produced the short story "Holger Danske", a picture of Denmark and Danish history, with the Holger Danske legend serving as the frame. Interestingly, the structure of this story closely resembles the symbolic structure of Ingemann's epic poem. Andersen is clearly attempting to prove his own theory of national identity, but what, in the end, is Andersen's viewpoint on national identity? And how does his viewpoint compare to Ingemann's nationalpolitical theories?

On June 8th, 1826, Andersen wrote a letter to B. S. Ingemann, a long time friend and correspondent, in which he describes his recent travels. Andersen thanks Ingemann for the invitation to come to the poet's home and writes that, though "det hele Danmark er mit Hiem" (Andersen, Breve 8) [the whole of Denmark is my home], it was nevertheless a great pleasure to enjoy the comfort of Ingemann's home and hospitality while abroad. For a modern reader, Andersen's assertion that the whole of Denmark was his home, though grandiose, is essentially plausible. In many ways, Andersen has come to symbolize Denmark and Danish literature, especially to foreign audience. It may then be of interest to discover that Andersen was regarded somewhat askance by his contemporary critics. In the poem "Kronborg", Johan Ludvig Heiberg levels an indirect accusation against Andersen, implying that he is distracting his readers by not celebrating the beauty of Denmark properly:

Muligt er du slig en Nar,
At, hvad Andersen fortæller
Om de skjønne Dardaneller
I sin tyrkiske Bazar,
Du med Undren grebet har,
Mens du, tung af Inertie,
Gik vort eget Sund forbi.
(Heiberg, Kommentar 107)

[Possibly you are such a fool, / That, what Andersen tells / About the beautiful Dardanelles / In his Turkish bazaar, / You have seized with wonder, / While you, heavy with inertia, / Passed our own Sound by.] Andersen could possibly have overlooked such an accusation, were it not for the ongoing feud between Heiberg and himself. On April 7th, 1845, Andersen published his shortstory, "Holger Danske". Other critics have suggested that Andersens shortstory is a response to Heiberg's, and others', accusation that Andersen was not Danish enough (Kommentar 107). The truth of this statement becomes quite obvious under closer analysis of the story.

Andersen uses the Holger Danske legend as a basis for an expanded lecture upon the important historical figures of Denmark's past, and this treatment of the Holger Danske legend both resembles and contrasts Ingemann's poem, Holger Danske, published in 1837. Ingemann had already established himself by this time as one the most important writers of the era through his historical fiction, beginning with the poem Valdemar den Store og hans Mænd, and ending with the poem Dronning Margrethe. In the interim, Ingemann established the historical novel in Danish literary tradition with works such as Valdemar Seier and Prinds Otto af Danmark. It was Ingemann's goal from the moment he began his series of historical fiction to underscore Danish identity and culture, a goal that revealed itself once again in his treatment of the mythical figure, Holger Danske. To Ingemann, Holger Danske was the symbol of Danish identity. It is therefore interesting that only eight years later, Andersen would choose the Holger Danske legend in what may be an attempt to defend himself from accusations of lacking Danish identity. How do these two works, founded in the legend of Holger Danske, resemble each other in their methods of creating or emphasizing Danish national identity? Is Andersen trying to hide behind the symbolic cover of Holger's, and Ingemann's, reputation, or can one say that Andersen in fact takes the legend in hand and creates a new story which fulfills his own goals? What would those goals be?

To understand how large a revision the Holger Danske legend undergoes in these two works, one must first understand the literary background behind the Holger Danske legend itself. The source of the legend does not begin in Denmark, but in France, specifically in the Old French chanson de geste cycles, composed about Charlemagne and his Paladins during the Twelfth and Thirteenth centuries (Butts vii). Holger, or Ogier as he is called in the chanson, came to be a very popular folk
hero among audiences of the time and eventually centered in his own series of chanson de geste, particularly La Chevalerie Ogier de Dannemarche and L'hystoire d'Ogier le Dannoys. Only much later were these chansons collected and translated into Danish by Christiern Pedersen, published in Denmark under the title Olger Danskes Krönnike in the Sixteenth century. Pedersen's translation enjoyed many reprints and editions over the following years. In "Indledning" to the 1893 edition of Ingemann's own poem, Holger Danske, Kristoffer Nyrop quotes the popular contemporary magazine, Iris, which asserted that Pedersen's translation of the Ogier chansons could "findes næsten i hver anden Bondehytte og forelæses hyppigt de hellige Aftener eller ved Kartegilder, Humleplukken og slige Samkvem" (Nyrop 5) [be found ... in nearly every farmer's hut and is read typically on holy evenings or at carding parties, hop picking, and such gatherings].

With the popularity of Pedersen's translation, Ingemann clearly had a ready audience for a version of Holger that laid particular emphasis upon Danish identity. From the beginning of his historical works, Ingemann had the desire to describe the most important figures of Denmark's past, and in "Fortale til Prinds Otto af Danmark og hans Samtid", Ingemann elaborates upon his theory of historical fiction. Ingemann wants "at give de døde Slægter Livet tilbage og pege paa tilsidesatte eller halvforglemte Navne, som baade fortjener Historikerens og Folkets Opmærksomhed'' (Ingemann, PO 5). [to give life back to dead ancestors and point out marginalized or half-forgotten names that deserve the consideration of both the historians and the people]. Ingemann continues: "at opfatte og gjengive hin Glans af Folkelivets Ide anseer jeg for den national- historiske Digtnings Opgave" (Ingemann, PO 4) [to understand and reproduce the brilliance of the idea of the people, I perceive as the task of national historical writing]. Ingemann saw his task as one of focusing Danish identity and culture through Denmark's history, and when he was finished within the realm of historical fiction, he saw Holger Danske as the next logical step in heightening national identity. Ingemann celebrates historical, or in the case of the Holger Danske, pseudo-historical, figures as a means of celebrating national identity. But how does Ingemann accomplish that task with the epic poem, Holger Danske?

Ingemann uses the legends and literature surrounding the Holger Danske figure as the sources for a new account that would fulfill his goals of national identity. Christiern Pedersen's translation of the Ogier chansons is exhaustive in nature, often bringing in elements of various chansons that contradict or complicate other aspects of the Ogier legend. Due to this comprehensive text, Ingemann has the luxury of choosing those elements which best fit his purpose. Understanding the means by which Ingemann shapes his version of the legend relies upon a comparison between the plot of Ingemann's poem and the chansons as they were collected and translated by Pedersen. Ingemann's poem begins with a description of Holger's childhood as the Danish king's heir. Ingemann pays particular attention to the blessing the infant Holger receives from a host of fairies while still lying in his cradle. These blessings can be seen to steer Holger, especially the manner in which Holger gains fame abroad and his immortal fate. Although Pedersen describes the blessing by the fairies, the events are weighed much less heavily, and the relationship between the blessings of the fairies and Holger's later life is not so clear as in Ingemann's text. Ingemann's poem deals with Holger's entire life, from childhood to immortality, but pays particular attention to his life in the court of Charlemagne and the events that take him from a frightened political prisoner to a career as the most feared and respected knight in the Frankish empire. Though these events also provide the body of Pedersen's text, in Ingemann's poem, the events of Holger's life become much more condensed and focused, trimming the legend to only the most important details and turning points. In the final stanzas of his poem, Ingemann describes the conclusion to Holger's life: his immortal fate and the promise he gives to the Danish people, to protect them for eternity. It is upon this point that Ingemann's poem differs most from Pedersen's account. Pedersen ends his translation with the words:

Ingen har nogen Sinde forfaret, hvor han [Holger] blev af, men endnu gaar Sagnet gjennem Danmarks Rige, at han skal gjenkomme og frelse sine Landsmænd, naar de en Gang mest trænge til hans Hjælp mod Fjendens Vold og Overlast. (Pedersen 258)

[Nobody has since discovered, where he (Holger) went, but the tale stills goes throughout Denmark that he will return and save his countrymen when they most need his help against the violence and molestation of the enemy.]

Contrast Pedersen's description of Holger's eternal watch over Denmark, the only moment in which it is mentioned, with Ingemann's poetic account of the same promise:

Mit Navn hver Bonde kender endnu,
Og glad jeg rækker ham Haanden.
Med Lyst jeg kommer mit Liv i Hu;
Jeg lever med Folkeaanden.

Du ved det, Landsmand! Jeg er ej død;
Med Kraft jeg kommer tilbage;
Jeg er din fuldtro Hjælper i Nød
Paa Danmarks gamle Dage.
(Ingemann, HD 100)

[My name every farmer yet knows, / And gladly I offer him my hand. / With pleasure I recall my life; / I live in the spirit of the people. / / You know this, countryman! I am not dead; / With power I return; / I am you steadfast helper in need / in Denmark's old age.]

Notice the contrast between Pedersen's vague, rumorlike description of Holger's promise and Ingemann's lively firstperson narrative, where Holger himself declares that he lives in the spirit of the people. Ingemann creates a text in which Holger can make his promise to return and protect Denmark directly to the reader. There is no question that Holger will return.

Ingemann underscores Holger's Danish identity, and thereby underscores the heroic possibilities of Danish national identity. The author structures a plot in which Holger begins as a Dane, establishes his heroic identity in a broader European context, that is, Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire, and then returns to Denmark, where he promises to protect his fatherland for eternity. This geographic symbolism, in which the hero begins in Denmark, journeys to a broader European cultural context, and then returns to Denmark, is the key to establishing Holger as a Danish hero, and by doing so, accomplishes the goals of Ingemann's theory of national historical fiction. Is it then possible that Ingemann is also satisfying a political goal with this geographical symbolism? Before one can reach a decision on that question, consider H. C. Andersen's short story, "Holger Danske".

One begins to realize the degree of contrast between the two works upon further analysis. Andersen uses the Holger Danske legend as the basis for his shortstory, but inverts the structure of Ingemann's geographic symbolism, and thereby creates a story that is entirely original. Andersen's "Holger Danske" first appeared in 1845, but the author was familiar with the legend throughout his life, from his years as a student on Sjælland to an entry in his journals from December 19th, 1825, in which he makes mention that "i Roeskilde Kroen fik vi til Lekteure Holger Danske" (Andersen, Kommentar 106) [at Roskilde Tavern we got an edition of Holger Danske to read]. It is beyond the scope of this paper to address the question of how well Andersen knew Ingemann's poem, Holger Danske. However, it is likely that given the nature of their friendship, Andersen would have been at least familiar with Ingemann's 1837 publication. Yet the manner in which the Holger Danske legend undergoes yet another textual manipulation in the hands of Andersen implies an artistic goal far different from Ingemann's.

In the short story "Holger Danske", an old man sits carving wood, his adoring grandson looking on. Grandfather is carving a likeness of Holger Danske, "der stod saa rank og stolt med sit lange Skjæg og holdt i den ene Haand det brede Slagsværd, men støttede den anden Haand paa det danske Vaaben" (Andersen, HD 99) [who stood so straight and proud with his long beard and held in his one hand the broad sword, but supported his other hand upon the Danish coatofarms]. Holger's likeness, with the Danish coat-ofarms at his side, causes the old man to reminisce about Denmark's past and the great heroes of Danish history. To the old man, each lion and heart upon the shield stands as a symbol of a Danish hero: "Løverne ere Styrke og Hjerterne ere Mildhed og Kjærlighed'' (Andersen, HD 99) [The lions are strength and the hearts are compassion and love]. The boy goes to bed and dreams of Holger Danske, while the old man continues his reminiscence with his own son, the boy's father, and his daughterinlaw. Grandfather names many figures from Danish history, among them, two of which Ingemann himself wrote about, Valdemar the Great and Margrethe the First. And yet, otherwise, there are not many similarities between these two works.

In contrast to Ingemann's poem, Andersen's shortstory begins within a specifically European context:

Der er i Danmark et gammelt Slot, som hedder Kronborg ... hvor de store Skibe hver Dag seile forbi i hundredviis, baade engelske, russiske, og preussiske; og de hilse med Kanoner for det gamle Slot: "bum!" og Slottet svarer igjen med Kanoner: "bum!" for saaledes sige Kanonerne "god Dag!" "mange Tak!" (Andersen, HD 98)

[There is in Denmark an old castle which is called Kronborg ... by which the great ships sail by every day by the hundreds, both English, Russian, and Prussian; they greet the old castle with canons: "boom!" and the castle answers in turn with canons: "boom!" because in that way the canons say "Good day!" "Many thanks!"]

And the international reference continues in the following sentences, where Andersen writes:

Om Vinteren seile der ingen Skibe, saa ligger Alt med Iis lige over til det svenske Land ... der vaier det danske Flag og det svenske Flag, og danske og svenske Folk sige hinanden: "god Dag!" "mange Tak!" (Andersen, HD 98)

[In winter, no ships sail, as everything is covered with ice over to the Swedish land ... there waves the Danish flag and the Swedish flag, and Danish and Swedish people say to one another: "Good day!" "Many thanks!"]

This exaggerated and somewhat simplistic description of international politics of the day makes no allusion to Denmark's tumultuous past in relation to other European countries, as for example, the notsodistant British bombardment of Copenhagen. Yet as a description of Denmark's political relations to the contemporary great powers, England, Russia, Prussia, and Sweden, the text reveals Andersen's perception of Denmark's political situation: Denmark has a friendly and relaxed relationship with other countries. But the greater point behind this international reference becomes clear later in the short story, and Andersen's own motivations are revealed.

Andersen shifts focus from the international perspective to the Danish milieu, first by referring to Holger Danske who lies sleeping beneath Kronborg Castle, and then continuing quickly on to a more rustic Danish environment, that is, the old woodcarver and his son's family. From this picture of Danish common life, Andersen can deliver his lecture on Danish history, pointing out the figures of Danish history he regards as important, among others, King Canute, Leonora Christina Ulfeldt, Ivar Hvitfeldt, Frederik the Sixth, Steen Andersen Bille, Tycho Brahe, Ludvig Holberg, and Bertel Thorvaldsen, describing the historical significance of each along the way. It is important to note that the figures are not all famous for the same reasons. The legend of Holger Danske provides a frame to Andersen's lecture on Danish history, and at the lecture's end, Andersen then turns the focus back to Holger. The old man's thoughts on Holger Danske are in turn echoed in the sleeping boy's dreams of Holger, which Andersen then uses to return to the figure of Holger Danske by stating that while the boy dreams of Holger, Holger sits beneath Kronborg Castle and dreams of Denmark above. It is at this point in the short story that Holger makes his eternal promise once again to the Danish people. As Ingemann, Andersen uses Holger to deliver the promise directly to the reader: "Ja, husk kun paa mig I Danske Folk! behold mig i Tanke! jeg kommer i Nødens Time!" (Andersen, HD 101) [Yes, remember me, you Danish folk! Keep me in your thoughts! I come in the hour of need!] Andersen uses the Holger Danske legend as a means to embrace all of Danish history, as symbolized by the ancient heroes of whom the old man speaks. Andersen shows that there are many means by which one can be Danish; of the figures described, there are military figures, past royalty, artists, scientists, and of course, writers. As the grandfather says, "Jo, Holger Danske kan komme paa mange Maader, saa at der i alle Verdens Lande høres om Danmarks Styrke!" (Andersen, HD 101) [Yes, Holger Danske can come in many ways, so that all the countries of the world come to hear of Denmark's strength!].

Andersen finishes his short story with reference to the sleeping figure of Holger Danske, deep beneath Kronborg Castle. Like the beginning of the story, Andersen again refers to the larger European context: "Og udenfor Kronborg skinnede den klare Dag og Vinden bar Jægerhornets Toner over fra Nabolandet, Skibene seilede forbi og hilsede 'bum! bum!' og fra Kronborg svarede det: 'bum! bum!"' (Andersen, HD 10102). [And outside Kronborg the clear day shone and the wind bore the hunting horn's tones over from the neighboring country, the ships sailed by and greeted "boom! boom!" and from Kronborg it replied "boom! boom!"]. But in the end, Holger's importance in international relations grows:

Men Holger Danske vaagnede ikke hvor stærkt de skjøde, for det var jo bare: "god Dag!" - "Mange Tak!" Der skal skydes anderledes før han vil vaagne, men han vaagner nok, for der er Krummer i Holger Danske! (Andersen, HD 102)

[But Holger Danske did not wake, not matter how hard they shot, for it was of course only: "Good day!" - "Many thanks!" There must be shots of a different sort before he will wake, but he assuredly will awake, for there is strength in Holger Danske!]

So in the end, Holger Danske stands in the middle, or literally, lies beneath, the relationship between Denmark and the other European countries. Holger becomes a symbol of Denmark's political history and Danish identity, the symbol of the way in which Denmark faces the world around it.

Note then the contrasts between Ingemann's poem and Andersen's short story, particularly the differences in structure. As has been established, Ingemann begins his poem in Denmark, travels to greater Europe, and then returns to Denmark. In that way, Ingemann establishes Holger as an international hero who is nonetheless essentially Danish. Holger begins and ends in Denmark, and that way Ingemann can create a relationship between Denmark and the broader European context, and at the same time, emphasize Holger's distinctly Danish identity. Andersen inverts Ingemann's structure. His short story begins with a reference to the European context, foreign ships that sail through the Øresund and signal Kronborg Castle. Andersen then moves his focus to a Danish family and creates a symbolic arrival in Denmark. In the finish of the story, Andersen again makes reference to foreign ships and foreign countries and returns to the European context on a metaphorical level. Yet, Denmark is symbolized throughout the short story's structure, be it as Holger Danske, the old man and his family, or as the historical figures Andersen describes. Andersen implies that Danish national identity stands firm in all relations between Denmark and other lands, as clear and certain as the sleeping Holger Danske stands in the thoughts of the old man and in the dreams of his grandson. The short story ends with foreign shots of the coast of Denmark, but only as a way to note that they do not wake Holger Danske, but he will awake when the moment is right.

Yet there is a larger intent behind Andersen's story. He describes Holger's strength, and describes how strong Danish national identity is. But is this the only purpose behind Andersen's writing of this story? Does Andersen have another reason for writing about Holger Danske and the many ways he can return to Denmark? The difference between Ingemann's and Andersen's handling of the Holger legend belies the authors' specific intents for their fiction.

B. S. Ingemann believes in legend itself as a means to awaken Danish identity and illustrate his theories of national historical fiction In Holger Danske, Holger himself stands as the center in all of the poem's events. That is to say, that Ingemann trusts the legend's content to achieve his artistic and nationalistic goals. As Holger says, "Jeg lever med Folkeaanden" (Ingemann, HD 100) [I live in the spirit of the people]. Ingemann implies that Holger is part of Danish identity, that he belongs to the people and therefore the author need only retell the legend in a new form, paying attention to his contemporary audience, without changing the basic principle events of the legend, in order to reach his fellow Danes. If the author creates a version of the Holger Danske legend that grips the interest of his contemporary culture, then his thoughts on Danish identity will also be understood, particularly regarding Denmark's relation to Europe. But what are Ingemann's thoughts on Danish identity?

Ingemann describes Holger's journeys among the European countries in great detail. He writes of everyday events at Charlemagne's court, and describes Charlemagne's Paladins with glowing praise. Ingemann never attempts to underplay Holger's life in the Frankish kingdom or his experiences in Europe. Ingemann is also very clear in his description of the tragedies that eventually befall Holger while at Charlemagne's court. For Holger, Europe is a dangerous place which threatens his life and happiness at nearly every turn. Yet in the end, it is also the place in which he can distinguish himself as a hero and as a Dane, as is clearly indicated by his name Holger Danske. In that way, one could say that contrary to other opinions, Ingemann is in fact very political in this work, as it is impossible to discuss Danish national identity in a European context without also making political implications. Bearing in mind the many threats against Denmark made by other European countries throughout the beginning decades of the century, it becomes clear that Ingemann wanted to establish Denmark as a clear and firm identity from within and without the Danish borders. Holger Danske becomes a symbol of Denmark's potential for standing firm with and against Europe, of the ability to distinguish itself as a country and as a people.

On the other hand, H. C. Andersen writes a much different story about Holger Danske. Contrary to Ingemann's vision of Holger Danske, Andersen creates a structure which avoids describing any important event from Holger's actual life. Holger Danske is the frame for Andersen's story, but the contents of the legend are never fully explored. Andersen trusts in the idea behind the legend, but he does not believe in the legend itself as a means to accomplish his artistic goals, and therefore uses Holger's symbolic promise only as an excuse to write a completely new story. Andersen writes that "Jo, Holger Danske kan komme paa mange Maader" (Andersen, HD 101) [Yes, Holger Danske can come in many ways], and then turns to describe the many different people who have distinguished themselves and distinguished Denmark by doing so. It is important to note that most of the people that Andersen refers to are not great warriors or romantic heroes like Holger Danske, but artists like Bertel Thorvaldsen, scientists like Tycho Brahe, and writers like Ludvig Holberg. Andersen implies that it is not necessary to be a hero like Holger Danske in order to be a hero for Denmark. Andersen uses the Holger legend as a frame to his story, but he creates his own story of Danish national identity, one which deals with figures that not coincidentally lie a little closer to Andersen's own life and talents. Andersen argues that people like himself are just as important to Danish national identity as the great heroic figures such as Holger Danske. It is also important to note the impression Andersen gives of the European context. He describes foreign ships sailing peacefully through the Øresund, with no threat to the Danish kingdom. It is therefore no fault for an author to interest himself in Europe and countries other than Denmark, as no threats to Denmark lie in those directions.

Where B. S. Ingemann uses the Holger Danske legend to explore the possibilities of Danish national identity, and in that way can be said to "believe" in the Holger Danske legend, Andersen believes, on the contrary, in the spirit of the legend as a symbolic frame but not in the events of the legend itself. Where Ingemann creates a piece of national identity for the Danish people, Andersen creates an identity for the individuals from Denmark's past, using figures that mirror his own life and talents, as part of Danish identity. Holger Danske can come in many ways, not the least of which is as an author who writes "Om de skjønne Dardaneller" (Heiberg, Kommentar 107) [About the beautiful Dardanelles] or fairy tales for children. Even further, one can say that Andersen replies to the accusation that he does not celebrate Denmark's beauty enough, - and is therefore not Danish enough, by describing foreign ships that sail through Øresund without threats to Denmark's safety. Andersen depicts a peaceful existence between Denmark and the other European countries, in order to protect himself against accusations of lacking a Danish identity. If there is no threat in an interest in other countries, and Bertel Thorvaldsen or Tycho Brahe can experience other countries and yet be a part of the glory of Danish identity, then it is possible for Andersen to be a Dane without writing only of Denmark. Andersen uses the Holger legend to prove that there are many means to celebrate or encourage Danish national identity. It is his intent to create an identity for himself as an individual and as a Dane while continuing to write about countries and subjects that are not specifically Danish. It is no coincidence that Andersen chose Holger Danske, Ingemann's very own symbol of all that is Denmark, in order to support his intent.


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Bibliographic information about the text:

Elkington, Trevor G.: "Holger Danske as Literary Danish Identity in the Work of H. C. Andersen and B. S. Ingemann" , In: Johan de Mylius, Aage Jørgensen and Viggo Hjørnager Pedersen (ed.): Hans Christian Andersen. A Poet in Time. Papers from the Second International Hans Christian Andersen Conference 29 July to 2 August 1996. The Hans Christian Andersen Center, Odense University, Odense University Press. 576 pages, Odense, Denmark 1999.