Welhaven, Johan Sebastian Cammermeyer

(1807-1873)
   A Norwegian poet, Welhaven is one of his country's most significant poets of the national romantic era. Born and raised in Bergen, he went to Christiania (now Oslo) in 1825 to study theology, but he did not find the subject to his liking. He read aesthetics and literature, however, and paid particular attention of the activities of his Danish second cousin, the critic Johan Ludvig Heiberg. In 1830 he became well known for his attack on the work of Henrik Wergeland, whose poetry he found undisciplined and formless. A cycle of sonnets, Norges Dæmring (1834; Norway's Dawn), argued in favor of maintaining Norway's cultural ties with Denmark, which Werge-land's followers wanted to deemphasize in favor of a focus on the culture of the Norwegian rural population.
   Welhaven's collection Digte (1838; Poems) shows that personal memories were important as poetic inspiration for him; this is even more evident in poetry collections published in 1844 and 1847. There is evidence of the pain associated with a romance with Henrik Wergeland's sister Camilla (later known as the writer Camilla Collett), and even more so of his grief at the death, in 1840, of his fiancee Ida Kierulf, who inspired two of his best-known poems, "Det omvendte Bæger" (The Upturned Cup) and "Den Salige" (The Blessed One). In the former, a knight refuses a magic potion that would have caused him to forget his sorrows, while in the latter, the poet receives a spiritual visit from his departed beloved. Other well-known poems by Welhaven include the long folklore poem "Asgaardsreien" (The Ride of the Dead) and the lyrical "Lokkende Toner" (Enticing Tones), the best example of romantic longing in Norwegian literature. Welhaven's poem "Digtets Aand" (The Spirit of the Poem) is a forthright statement of his theory of literary communication.
   Welhaven was appointed lecturer in philosophy at the University of Oslo in 1840 and became a professor in 1843, after which he married a Danish woman, Josephine Bidoulac, in 1845. He did not have much impact on his academic subject, but he was celebrated for his nature descriptions and his folklore poetry, and later for such reli-gous poems as "En Sangers Bøn" (The Prayer of a Singer). He also made significant contributions to the budding literary historiography of the time, publishing works about Ludvig Holberg (1854) and Petter Dass (1860), as well as a substantial book about the Danish poet Johannes Ewald, Ewald og de norske Digtere (1863; Ewald and the Norwegian Poets).

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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  • Johan Sebastian Welhaven — Büste Welhavens von Julius Middelthun 1867 Johan Sebastian Welhaven, „Johan Sebastian Cammermeyer Welhaven“ (* 22. Dezember 1807 in Bergen; † 21. Oktober 1873 in Christiania) war ein Lyriker, Literaturkritiker und Kunsttheoretiker …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Johan Sebastian Welhaven — Johan Sebastian Cammermeyer Welhaven, (December 22, 1807 October 21, 1873), Norwegian poet and critic, was born in Bergen, the son of a pastor, in 1807.He first studied theology, but from 1828 onwards devoted himself to literature. In 1840 he… …   Wikipedia

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