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JOHAN LUDVIG HEIBERG (1791-186o)

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 209 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHAN LUDVIG HEIBERG (1791-186o), Danish poet and critic, son of the political writer Peter Andreas Heiberg (17587. 1841), and of the famous novelist, afterwards the Baroness Gyllembourg-Ehrensvard, was born at Copenhagen on the 14th of December 1791. In 'Soo his father was exiled and settled in Paris, where he was employed in the French foreign office, retiring in 1817 with a pension. His political and satirical writings continued to exercise great influence over his fellow-countrymen. Johan Ludvig Heiberg was taken by K. L. Rahbek and his wife into their house at Bakkehuset. He was educated at the university of Copenhagen, and his first publication, entitled The Theatre for Marionettes (1814), included two romantic dramas. This was followed by Christmas Jokes and New Year's Tricks (1816), The Initiation of Psyche (1817), and The Prophecy of Hebrew and later of philosophy. In 1659 he was called to Steinfurt to fill the chair of dogmatics and ecclesiastical history, and in the same year he became doctor of theology of Heidelberg. In 166o he revisited Switzerland; and, after marrying, he travelled in the following year to Holland, where he made the acquaintance of Johannes Cocceius. He returned in 1665 to Zurich, where he was elected professor of moral philosophy. Two years later he succeeded J. H. Hottinger (162o–1667) in the chair of theology, which he occupied till his death on the 18th of January 1698, having declined an invitation in 1669 to succeed J. Cocceius at Leiden, as well as a call to Groningen. Heidegger was the principal author of the Formula Consensus Helvetica in 1675,which was designed to unite the Swiss Reformed churches, but had an opposite effect. W. Gass describes him as the most notable of the Swiss theologians of the time. His writings are largely controversial, though without being bitter, and are in great part levelled against the Roman Catholic Church. The chief are De historia sacra patriarcharum exercitationes selectae (1667–1671); Dissertatio de Peregrinationibus religiosis (167o); De ratione studiorum, opuscula aurea, &c. (167o); Historia papatus (1684; under the name Nicander von Hohenegg); Manuductio in viam concordiae Protestantium ecclesiasticae (1686) ; Tumulus concilii Tridentini (169o) ; Exercitationes bibbicae (1700), with a life of the author prefixed; Corpus theologiae Christianae (1700, edited by J. H. Schweizer); Ethicae Christianae elementa (1711) ; and lives of J. H. Hottinger (1667) and J. L. Fabricius (1698). His autobiography appeared in 1698, under the title Historia vitae J. H. Heideggeri. See the articles in Herzog-Hauck's Realencyklopadie and the Allgemeine deutsche Biographic; and cf. W. Gass, Geschichte der protestantischen Dogmatik, ii. 353 if. Tycho Brahe, a satire on the eccentricities of the Romantic writers, especially on the sentimentality of Ingemann. These works attracted attention at a time when Baggesen, Ohlenschlager and Ingemann possessed the popular ear, and were understood at once to be the opening of a great career. In 1817 Heiberg took his degree, and in 1819 went abroad with a grant from government. He proceeded to Paris, and spent the next three years there with his father. In 1822 he published his drama of Nina, and was made professor of the Danish language at the university of Kiel, where he delivered a course of lectures, comparing the Scandinavian mythology as found in the Edda with the poems of Ohlenschlager. These lectures were published in German in 1827. In 1825 Heiberg came back to Copenhagen for the purpose of introducing the vaudeville on the Danish stage. He composed a great number of these vaudevilles, of which the best known are King Solomon and George the Hatmaker (1825); April Fools (1826); A Story in Rosenborg Garden (1827); Kjoge Huskors (1831); The Danes in Paris (1833); No (1836); and Yes (1839). He took his models from the French theatre, but showed extraordinary skill in blending the words and the music; but the subjects and the humour were essentially Danish and even topical. Meanwhile he was producing dramatic work of a more serious kind; in 1828 he brought out the national drama of Elverhoi; in 183o The Inseparables; in 1835 the fairy comedy of The Elves, a dramatic version of Tieck's Elfin; and in 1838 Fata Morgana. In 1841 Heiberg published a volume of New Poems containing " A Soul after Death," a comedy which is perhaps his master-piece, " The Newly Wedded Pair," and other pieces. He edited from 1827 to 1830 the famous weekly, the Flyvende Post (The Flying Post), and subsequently the Interimsblade (1834–1837) and the Intelligensblade (1842–1843). In his journalism he carried on his warfare against the excessive pretensions of the Romanticists, and produced much valuable and penetrating criticism of art and literature. In 1831 he married the actress Johann Louise Paetges (1812–1890), herself the author of some popular vaudevilles. Heiberg's scathing satires, however, made him very unpopular; and this antagonism reached its height when, in 1845, he published his malicious little drama of The Nut Crackers. Nevertheless he became in 1847 director of the national theatre. He filled the post for seven years, working with great zeal and conscientiousness, but was forced by intrigues from without to resign it in 1854. Heiberg died at Bonderup, near Ringsted, on the 25th of August 186o. His influence upon taste and critical opinion was greater than that of any writer of his time, and can only be compared with that of Holberg in the 18th century. Most of the poets of the Romantic movement in Denmark were very grave and serious; Heiberg added the element of humour, elegance and irony. He had the genius of good taste, and his witty and delicate productions stand almost unique in the literature of his country. The poetical works of Heiberg were collected, in 11 vols., in 1861–1862, and his prose writings (11 vols.) in the same year. The last volume of his prose works contains some fragments of autobiography. See also G. Brandes, Essays (1889). For the elder Heiberg see monographs by Thaarup (1883) and by Schwanenflugel (1891).
End of Article: JOHAN LUDVIG HEIBERG (1791-186o)
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