Henrik Pontoppidan og Georg Brandes


Summary in English

"Henrik Pontoppidan and Georg Brandes. A Critical Examination of H.P.'s Relations with G.B. and his Attitude to the Brandes Line in Danish Cultural Life."

CHAPTER I. H.P.'s attitude to G.B. until 1884.

H.P. was 15 years younger than G.B. and therefore too young to come under his influence when G.B. gave his first public lectures in 1871. The first evidence of H.P.'s sympathy with the radical and anti-theological views of G.B. and his followers is afforded by his recorded interest in a special University Lecture given by Professor Adolph Steen in 1875, when H.P. was a student of engineering at Copenhagen; in this lecture views were expressed not unlike those aired by Brandes himself. But for several years H.P. seems to have remained sceptical towards G.B., according to his own memoirs mainly due to the influence of a young (unidentified) friend called "Schaff", who spoke in disrespectful and derogatory terms about G.B. Not until 1879, when H.P. gave up his career as an engineer in order to become a creative writer, did he have to find his place within the literary movement, "det moderne gennembrud", of which G.B. was the spiritual leader, though H.P. remained sceptical about some of the members of that movement, notably Jacobsen and Drachmann. While teaching at his brother's folk high school at Hjørlunde H.P. began a systematic reading of G.B.'s works, and he was much impressed by these. H.P.'s friend Otto Borchsenius, in whose journal "Ude og Hjemme" he made his literary début in 1881, was then a keen disciple of G.B., and H.P. got to know some of the leading men of that group. In January, 1884, H.P. also made the first personal acquaintance af G.B., who had returned to Copenhagen from Berlin the previous year. In his memoirs from the 1930s H.P. gives a not very flattering picture of G.B. as he remembered him on a voyage they made together in May, 1884; in this 294 G.B. is depicted as a garrulous, self-centred, conceited and vain person, and H.P. makes it look as if his acquaintance with G.B. was a very superficial one, while in his memoirs G.B. speaks of a lasting friendship. This discrepancy is presumably explained by the fact that H.P.'s memoirs were written in his old age, at a time when his own attitude to G.B. had changed considerably. At this period he appears to have been eager to disprove the assertion that he himself had ever belonged to what he called "the followers of St. George". But the fact that H.P. was for many years much closer to the militant, radical, individualistic ideas af G.B. than is normally accepted nowadays will be substantiated in the following chapters.

CHAPTER II. H.P. and the Brandes movement of the 1880s.

Though H.P. was too young to take any part in the literary movement of the 1870s his early works of the 1880s are in direct line of continuation of that movement and clearly influenced by its leading creative writers, especially Jacobsen, Drachmann and Kielland; conservative Danish critics did not mince their words when they accused him of belonging to the school of "Naturalism" in Danish literature. H.P.'s first three books especially must be regarded as Naturalistic novels which continued – and by their social realism extended – the dominant literary trends of the 1870s. H.P. emerged as an anti-romantic writer, an anti-clerical sceptic and a militant radical in whose early works the dominant feature is the attack on social injustice among the peasants. Some Danish scholars have tended to overemphasize H.P.'s independence of the Brandes movement, and though it is true that he was never a mere disciple of G.B., yet in the opinion of the author of this book he clearly has his place within the broad movement characterized by Brandes's name. But where G.B. criticized certain phenomena from the outside, H.P. criticized the same phenomena from within, and he differs from G.B. in his strong emphasis on the problem of social injustice (a problem with which G.B. was never particularly concerned) and also in trying to expand the moderne gennembrud into a folkeligt gennembrud. It is clear that G.B. knew H.P. as an author before he got to know him personally, and there are various references to H.P.'s works in 295 G.B.'s writings of the 1880s. G.B. never had the opportunity of reviewing any of H.P.'s works, however, but in 1911 he wrote a series of articles on H.P., and in these he speaks favourably of his early works, especially "Landsbybilleder", "Fra Hytterne" and "Isbjørnen". The only one of H.P.'s works from the 1880s which G.B. disliked was the novel "Spøgelser" (1888) with its neo-romantic attitude and atmosphere; this book, which reveals an inner conflict in H.P.'s mind at a time when he was getting tired of his own obsession with social problems, might well have been the introduction to a neo-romantic revolt in H.P. – at a time when neo-romantic sentiments were coming to the fore generally in Danish literature – but this did not happen. H.P.'s next book ("Skyer", 1890) confirmed the author's unbroken association with political radicalism. During the 1880s H.P. established a close personal contact with Edvard Brandes, G.B.'s brother, who had reviewed H.P.'s first works favourably in "Morgenbladet", 1881-83.

1884 Edvard Brandes became co-editor with Viggo Hørup of the new paper "Politiken", and henceforth he reviewed H.P.'s new books in that paper with very great sympathy. The account given by H.P. in his memoirs of his first meeting with Edvard Brandes is misleading; they must have met already in 1885, and in the autumn of 1887 Edvard Brandes persuaded H.P. to write for "Politiken" and in 1889 to become a regular contributor to "Kjøbenhavns Børs-Tidende", another Copenhagen paper, which had been taken over by the third of the Brandes brothers, Ernst Brandes. Since 1884 H.P. had occasionally contributed to "Morgenbladet", a paper which under the editorship of Otto Borchsenius became increasingly the organ of anti-Brandes views; H.P. therefore felt increasingly unhappy about being associated with this paper, and in 1887 he made the final break with his old friend, Otto Borchsenius. H.P.'s solidarity with the Brandes movement is substantiated by a number of quotations from his letters and newspaper articles during these years. On one occasion legal action was taken against articles written by Pontoppidan, but for which Ernst Brandes was held responsible. In "Politiken" Edvard Brandes reviewed nearly all H.P.'s books of this period, but not "Spøgelser". As a critic Edvard Brandes was very favourably disposed 296 towards H.P., and he consistently stressed, and sometimes overemphasized, the element of revolt and atheism in them. H.P.'s own journalism during the 1880s is marked by his solidarity with the Brandes movement; the most characteristic example of this is afforded by his violent denunciation of Otto Borchsenius, his old friend and benefactor, whom publicly he ridiculed for his efforts to establish himself at the leader of an anti-Brandes faction. Privately H.P. recognised his indebtedness to Sophus Schandorph, and publicly he paid homage to both Edvard and Georg Brandes. H.P. had taken his firm position on the left side of the cultural battle raging in Denmark in the 1880s.

CHAPTER III. H.P.'s attitude in the "feud of morality".

The famous "feud of morality" in Scandinavia, which began with the publication of Bjørnson's "A Gauntlet" in 1883, resulted in a complete break between Bjørnson and G.B. While Bjørnson insisted that one must demand the same degree of purity and sexual innocence from a man as from a woman, G.B. on the other hand wanted to grant women the same degree of sexual freedom as was granted traditionally to men, and he ridiculed the idea that we should all be concerned with the problems of one another's sexual urge. H.P.'s contribution to this feud was the novel "Mimoser" (translated into English as "The Apothecary's Daughters"), published in 1886 but clearly begun immediately after the publication of Bjørnson's "A Gauntlet"; its publication was delayed partly for private reasons, partly because H.P.'s publisher was hesitant about the prudency of publishing this book. To a modern reader there can be little doubt about the author's tendency; to him a wife who breaks up her marriage simply because her husband has committed an act of adultery is an over-sensitive and unrealistic person, and this is clearly expressed in the title, about which H.P. wrote to his publisher that "it reveals so much about the tendency of the novel". Neither G.B. nor Edvard Brandes seems to have been in any doubt as to the intentions of the author in writing this novel, which is full to the brim of allusions to Bjørnson's morality campaign. But Edvard Brandes was violently attacked for his interpretation of the novel in "Politiken", and several 297 conservative critics gave an interpretation of it which was diametrically opposed to that of Edvard Brandes; in their view H.P. had paid sincere homage to the institution of marriage in this novel. H.P. refused to make a public statement about the intention of "Mimoser", but his letters make it clear that Edvard Brandes had interpreted his aim correctly, and G.B. publicly declared that his brother's interpretation had been endorsed by the author; but at the same time G.B. took H.P. to task for not having expressed himself more unambiguously. Bjørnson, at first bewildered, came to realise that he had an antagonist in H.P., but among radical Scandinavian writers there were highly mixed feelings about H.P.'s book. Later H.P. wrote some articles to disprove the theory of Bjørnson and Danish Grundtvigians that a high code of sexual morality existed in the country areas; in H.P.'s opinion there existed among country people a promiscuity far worse than anywhere else. "Mimoser" must be seen as H.P.'s contribution to the "morality feud" of the 1880s, but as a polemic novel it was a failure since it was possible to put interpretations to it which differed fundamentally from the one intended by the author. Even in recent years there has been a tendency to regard "Mimoser" as an "ambiguous" novel, and the first instance of H.P.'s so-called tvesyn – i.e. dualism or ambivalence.

CHAPTER IV. H.P.'s "dualism".

Vilhelm Andersen was the first critic to use (in 1917) the term tvesyn about Pontoppidan, defined as a capability of viewing a case from more than one side. But he was less fortunate in associating the term with "Mimoser", where it does not fit in at all. And in time this term has tended to become a cliché, often used about H.P.'s work indiscriminately, a kind of magic formula which is supposed to explain every problem in H.P.'s work. A number of examples are here quoted to show the way in which the term tvesyn has been misused both by scholars and others. If the term tvesyn should be used at all it must therefore be defined more clearly. G.B. would hardly have agreed that the word was applicable to H.P.; to him the dominant feature in H.P.'s work was a spirit of revolt or rebellion. In fact, an uncritical acceptance of the theory of dualism or ambivalence in H.P. 298 has led to a number of misinterpretations. H.P. stressed the supreme importance in his life of what he called his own "self-development", and it is this self-development which leads him time and again to a re-appraisal and revaluation of his own views. Thus before the turn of the century H.P. was a firm believer in democracy, but in his old age he was not. But changed views cannot possibly be identified with dualism. H.P.'s views on social problems underwent a change; in other cases he may be accused of an, at least apparent, lack of consistency in his views. But all this is different from tvesyn. Like Ibsen, H.P. certainly also carried out a kind of "inner debate" in his books. If the term tvesyn is to have any meaning at all, it must be seen to contain a certain amount of tolerance towards the opinions of others, without any attempt at accepting their views. There is in H.P. a lack of compromise which led Dr. Ahnlund to pronounce him "the dechristianized Kierkegaard of his time". The opposite view was held, however, by Ejnar Thomsen, who contrasted the unambiguous "either-or" of H.P.'s ancestors with his own blurred "both-and". But it is characteristic that as a journalist H.P. defended sharpness and lack of compromise, and many of his own fictitious characters are men and women who go to extremes and whose strength lies in their very lack of compromise, though one must, of course, be careful never to identify his characters with the author himself. There is much evidence to show that H.P. did not regard G.B. as one-sided or "one-eyed" – in some respects he found him, on the contrary, too tolerant. And it is also clear that at times G.B. felt that H.P. went too far in his lack of compromise. The theory of dualism tends to oversimplify matters, and it has contributed to an underestimation of the close relationship which existed between H.P. and the militant radicalism of the Brandes movement.

CHAPTER V. From "Skyer" (1890) to "Lykke-Per" (final version 1905).

During the late 1880s G.B. came under the influence of Nietzsche's writings, and this resulted in a revision of his own views; for this new line of thinking he coined the term "Aristocratic Radicalism". Due to the influence of G.B.'s essays on Nietzsche and (later) the reading of Nietzsche's works 299 H.P. also came under the influence of the German philosopher. But in his case it would be more appropriate (at least for a time) to use the term "Democratic Radicalism". G.B. was very enthusiastic about H.P.'s collection of short stories entitled "Skyer" (1890), though he did not share the revolutionary ideas expressed in one of the stories. Kielland, too, was a great admirer of "Skyer". But there are few statements by G.B. about H.P.'s "small novels" from the 1890s, and it is particularly surprising not to find any real evaluation of "Nattevagt" (1894), in which book H.P. confronted the militant radicalism of the Brandes era with the neo-romantic tendencies of the 1890s. G.B.'s references to the novel cycle "Det forjættede Land" (1891-95) are mostly appreciative, but not very profound. In the context of this discussion H.P.'s novel "Det ideale Hjem" (1900) is particularly important, since this book must be seen as a vehicle of debating the problem of marriage, though most critics have failed to appreciate that. Whereas "Mimoser" dealt with the problem of faithfulness versus unfaithfulness in marriage, "Det ideale Hjem" sets out to attack the very institution of marriage; the main character launches a theory of replacing the old-fashioned marriage by a matriarchal system based on polygamy. H.P. may have felt, however, that in this book he had pushed things too much to extremes and thereby weakened his main aim. He therefore took up the motif again in another novel, "Borgmester Hoeck og hans Hustru" (1905), the original title of which was, however, "Prokrustessengen", for in this novel he depicts married life as a Procrustean bed in which the weaker partner, the wife, bleeds to death. These novels therefore carry on the "problem debate" of the 1870s and 1880s, a fact usually overlooked. In his private letters to H.P. G.B. commented on the various instalments of "Lykke-Per" as the work progressed, and he summed up his very positive appreciation of it in his essay on H.P. (1911). But his analysis is not very penetrating, and to him the main value of the cycle was that of being a wide-ranging picture, culturally and politically, of contemporary Denmark. There are various indications that during the 1890s H.P.'s views on the aim of creative writing underwent certain changes, especially as far as the question was concerned of the value of a direct 300 tendency in literature. The personal contact between H.P. and Edvard Brandes continued during the period under discussion, and Edvard Brandes went on reviewing H.P.'s works – usually very favourably – in "Politiken". Most of his reviews demonstrate not only his sincere admiration for H.P.'s genius but also his tendency to identify H.P. completely with his own radical, anti-moralistic and atheistic views. At times Edvard Brandes had a brilliant talent for correct interpretation of H.P.'s intentions, at other times – especially in his reviews of the novel cycles "Det forjættede Land" and "Lykke-Per" – he misinterpreted the books completely. But until 1906, when Edvard Brandes was forced to resign his editorship of "Politiken", he was H.P.'s most appreciative critic. After "Kjøbenhavns Børs-Tidende" ceased publication in 1891 H.P.'s journalism also ceased for a period, but it was resumed for a short time in 1897, when at the suggestion of Edvard Brandes H.P. began to write for "Politiken" once again; the reasons why he ceased after a brief period seem to have been partly personal, partly political, for especially in matters of defence he did not always see eye to eye with the editors of "Politiken". This did not, however, prevent him from occasionally offering literary (not journalistic) contributions to "Politiken", and in 1904 Edvard Brandes tried to persuade H.P. to join the staff of that paper; H.P. refused on the grounds that he was planning to run his own paper (or periodical), a plan which never materialised. In his letters to Edvard Brandes H.P. firmly stressed his intimate solidarity with the Brandes line – and also with the "retreat" of Danish Brandesianism. During these years G.B. occasionally referred to H.P. in his discussions of other writers, usually in a very appreciative way. In 1905 H.P. came into clash with two of the young literary scholars of the time, Valdemar Vedel and Vilhelm Andersen. In a private letter H.P. sharply took Vedel to task for having drawn some parallells between some of the characters in his books with some in Ibsen's "Wild Duck". And H.P. publicly attacked Vilhelm Andersen for having treated the period of Danish "Naturalism" rather condescendingly in his book "Bacchustoget i Norden" (1904). This was another demonstration of H.P.'s loyalty towards the Brandes movement.


CHAPTER VI. The portrait of Georg Brandes in "Lykke-Per".

The Jewish critic called Dr. Nathan in "Lykke-Per" is an unmistakeable portrait of G.B. The portrait in the original edition (1898-1904) differs in some minor respects from that of the revised final edition (1905). Nathan is the only fictitious character whom H.P. has admitted to be intended as a portrait, and this character plays a central part in the structure of the novel cycle, not only because G.B. played an important part in the period with which the novel is concerned, but also because H.P. found it necessary to contrast the characteristics of the Danish people with those of Danes belonging to a different race. In the same way in which Jakobe, the Jewish heroine of the novel, is drawn in direct contrast to Per Sidenius, thus also Dr. Nathan is drawn in order to contrast his Jewish characteristics (many of which H.P. admired) with those of the sedate and earthbound non-Jewish Danes. For that very reason the "Oriental" liveliness of Nathan is set up in contrast to the characteristics of the "natives", and Nathan is seen as a person who may act as a short-term inspirator without really finding a fertile soil for his ideas in Denmark. G.B. protested against some of the details of the portrait, but in all major respects H.P. refused to alter the picture. G.B.'s own feelings about this portrait were somewhat ambiguous; he realised that far from being malicious it was based on a feeling of true admiration, but he disliked the fact that his own Jewishness had been so strongly emphasised. As a portrait of G.B. Nathan is only fully acceptable if at the same time one accepts H.P.'s fundamental views on the racial difference between Danes of non-Jewish and Danes of Jewish decent.

CHAPTER VII. From "Asgaardsrejen" (1906) to "De dødes Rige" (final version 1917).

After Edvard Brandes ceased to be editor of "Politiken" in 1905 Sven Lange became the leading critic of that paper, and henceforth H.P.'s works were mainly reviewed by him. In an article in "Det ny Aarhundrede" in 1906 Sven Lange outlined his views on H.P. under the motto "Grand homme peut-être, mais poète? Non pas!" Lange took H.P. to task for exactly the same things for which Edvard Brandes had eulogized him: H.P. was a mere tendentious 302 writer of the Naturalist school, a popularizer of the theories of literary Realism, a folkelig writer whom some of his readers had mistaken for a Digter. – In 1906 H.P. published a play, "Asgaardsrejen", which must be seen as a fresh expression of solidarity with the radicalism of G.B. and his school, and in it H.P. poured scorn on those to whom radical ideas were no more than a varnish, the radicals who betrayed their own youth by becoming conservative pillars of society. G.B., who interpreted Otto Kall, the old uncompromising and bitter anarchist of the play, as a self-portrait of H.P., thought very highly of this work, but by critics holding different views H.P. was severely criticised. On the occasion of G.B.'s 70th birthday (February 4, 1912) H.P. wrote a poem which has been interpreted in many different ways – frequently seen as a bitter judgement passed on G.B. and on his influence in Danish cultural life. The correspondence between H.P. and G.B. makes it abundantly clear, however, that such interpretations are false; H.P. himself thought of the poem as a cry of despair occasioned by the fact that G.B.'s influence had been turned to so little use by his Danish contemporaries, and the poem is therefore basically a judgement passed on contemporary Denmark. The same thing is also true of the novel cycle entitled "De dødes Rige" (1912-1917), a work on which G.B. never commented publicly but which he discussed in his letters to H.P. G.B. admired this work and saw its main idea expressed in the words "the victorious penetration and encirclement of country and people by ecclesiastical obscurantism". Though this characterisation is true, it is only part of the truth, and G.B. failed to see some of the basic ideas expressed in this novel cycle, for H.P. after all leaves open a hope after the Deluge, though its main impression is that of despair. But with this novel new tones enter into H.P.'s work, tones influenced by Old Testament ideas, the view that human happiness is inextricably linked with its contrast: human sorrow. G.B. understood and shared the pessimism of the book but failed to appreciate the other aspect of the work. The theory that Enslev, one of the characters of the novel, should have been modelled on G.B. is hardly creditable; Enslev is mainly inspired by Johan Sverdrup, the Norwegian statesman, but also to some extent by 303 Viggo Hørup. – In 1914 H.P. wrote a pamphlet entitled "Kirken og dens Mænd"; it was inspired by topical events within the Danish State Church and must basically be seen as a sequel to Kierkegaard's battle against "official Christianity". Occasionally H.P. has been made out to be fundamentally an author concerned with religious problems, and though it is true that his own background as the son of a Lutheran parson and his revolt against the Christianity of the Danish State Church made him concern himself much with religious problems, yet any attempt at reconciling his work with Christian ideas is bound to fail. In his old age H.P. was more drawn towards Jewish religious ideas than to the views of either Paul or Luther.

CHAPTER VIII. The Severing of Roads.

There are many indications that during the last 25 or 30 years of his life, i. e. roughly since the early part of World War I, H.P. came to regard G.B. in a different light from that in which he had seen him previously. H.P.'s personal development led him to certain views, morally, politically, humanly, and possibly also religiously, which differed essentially from those of G.B. There was never any break between the two men, but one cannot escape the impression that they were gradually drifting away from one another. In this estrangement H.P.'s pronounced views on nationalism and defence have undoubtedly played a certain part. To G.B. war was simply the result of "human rabies"; but in 1929 H.P. spoke of war as "a bath of rejuvenation". There are also various indications that H.P. felt little attracted by G.B.'s later works. Over the years H.P.'s friendship with Edvard Brandes also cooled off, and in his old age he spoke scornfully of Edvard Brandes having grown old without having in any way changed either his way of life or his fundamental views. It is also significant that in 1912 a friendship grew up between H.P. and Vilhelm Andersen (whom he had previously attacked), and Vilhelm Andersen (in many ways a contrast to G.B.) became one of his most intimate friends. Among H.P.'s fiction of his old age "Et Kærlighedseventyr" (1918) and "Mands Himmerig" (1927) merit special consideration. G.B. saw the former as dealing with the problem of overcoming 304 pessimism, and the strange optimism and light-heartedness of this story must be seen as a reaction against the pessimism of both G.B. and Nietzsche – and that of H.P. himself. But the optimistic mood was transitory, and in its final version H.P. changed the story fundamentally. His last novel, "Mands Himmerig", is a profoundly pessimistic one, but one in which the author can be seen to have moved a long distance away from his original point of departure in the 1880s. Niels Thorsen, the hero of the novel, is a disappointed radical who is so despairing of and disgusted with official radical and "progressive" opinion in Denmark that he considers it his mission in life to reveal the hollowness, hypocrisy and rottenness of his former allies; to him the Danes are a people without any future, and he sees the only hope of salvation in Denmark's active participation in a World War. The novel has an undercurrent of distrust in democracy, and bears the stamp of a desperate and fanatical patriotism, a hatred of a sick Denmark which can be explained only by a desperate love for a healthy Denmark. It is clear that the main inspiration for Niels Thorsen is to be found in Erik Henrichsen, one of H.P.'s close friends, who had committed suicide in 1917. The assertion that Harald Nielsen, whom H.P. knew and with whom he had a very stormy relationship 1909-16, should also be one of the models for Thorsen is hardly correct; H.P. was often very critical of Harald Nielsen and disagreed with the latter's violent attacks on the movement to which H.P. himself had belonged, though he was also attracted towards him at times, and for a short period their common attitude to Danish defence policy made them allies. H.P.'s own statement (in 1931) that his attitude to radicalism had been unchanged over the years cannot be accepted uncritically. Though he does not appear to have changed his views concerning the radicalism of his own formative years there are many indications that in his old age such words as "radicalism" and "conservatism" ceased to be meaningful to him. Immediately after the death of G.B. in 1927 H.P. was interviewed about his views on G.B., and he emphatically denied ever having belonged to "the followers of St. George" and said that G.B. had been too "complicated" and too "alien" a nature to have made any proper impact, either in Denmark generally or 305 on H.P. himself. This interview is liable to misinterpretation unless one understands the racial views (not racial prejudices) held by H.P. Since it has been stated publicly that H.P. held anti-semitic views it is essential to understand his attitude to the Jewish race. One of H.P.'s ancestors was of unknown (presumably Italian) descent, and the legend arose that H.P. was partly Jewish. This he never denied, not even when it was publicly stated by G.B., but H.P. does not appear to have believed in this theory himself. From his early youth he associated closely with Jewish circles in Denmark, and Jewish characters abound in his works, often with a very intimate understanding of them. Among his most intimate friends over many years was the Jewish writer Henri Nathansen, a man who was both very conscious of and proud of his Jewish descent, and this attitude appealed far more to H.P. than that of other Jews (e.g. G.B.) who considered the question of their Jewish origin as being completely irrelevant. There is no trace of antisemitism in H.P., and Henri Nathansen was probably right when he spoke of the element of Danishness in H.P. being attracted towards that of Jewishness. Nathansen's book on G.B. (1929), in which the racial characteristics of G.B. are strongly emphasised, appealed much to H.P., whose memories of G.B. remained vivid until the time of his own death in 1943.


The main theme of this book has been a discussion of what G.B. and the movement linked with his name meant to H.P. over the years. There is no question of any real influence the other way round, though it is quite clear that G.B. liked H.P. and thought highly of him as a writer. Their personal relationship never matured into any real intimate friendship, however, mainly because H.P. was too reserved and regarded G.B. as a senior person with whom he could never be on very intimate terms. What G.B. wrote about H.P. is relatively little, and also relatively unimportant. – The main thesis contained in this book is this: from his earliest writings until about 1915 H.P. was, as a writer, much closer to the Brandes trends than is usually conceded today, and it was only after 1915 that his personal "self-development" made him emphasise views which were in direct contrast with those 306 held by G.B. But ever since the first book on H.P. appeared in 1917, there has been a tendency to regard the whole of H.P.'s literary career in the light of views mainly characteristic of his old age, and in this the theory of tvesyn has played an essential part. The spark that originally set H.P. in motion as a writer was anger – anger at social injustice and anger at the political tyranny of the Estrup regime, and many of H.P.'s writings must be seen against the background of his own bitter disappointment at the inability of the Danes to carry out a revolution in the 1880s; his pessimistic views on his own compatriots may well have been influenced by that disappointment. H.P.'s views on "liberty" bear a close resemblance to the anarchism of Ibsen, and for a number of years H.P. and G.B. were brought close to one another by a shared feeling of pessimism. But while G.B. ended up by despising his own compatriots, the dominant note in H.P.'s mind was fear – a fear that the Danes might be a doomed people. It was this fear which made him revise many of his own formerly held views. There is no static philosophy in H.P.'s work, and he wanted his books to be judged according to the Grundstemning in which each of them was written. An analysis along those lines confirms the picture of a close spiritual relationship between H.P. and G.B. during the major part of the former's working years. But the views expressed by such critics as Edvard Brandes and Sven Lange (each in their different way) were so extreme that a reaction had to come against seeing H.P. as a sheer disciple of G.B. This reaction has gone too far, however, and has now falsified the picture in the opposite direction. This book is therefore an attempt at re-establishing the balance.