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Ludvig Holberg, The Founder of Norwegian Literatur

LUDVIG HOLBERG

THE FOUNDER OF NORWEGIAN LITERATURE AND AN OXFORD STUDENT

BY

S. C. HAMMER, M.A.

OXFORD B. H. BLACKWELL, BROAD STREET MCMXX

_Price Two Shillings net_

LUDVIG HOLBERG

THE FOUNDER OF NORWEGIAN LITERATURE AND AN OXFORD STUDENT

BY

S. C. HAMMER, M.A.

OXFORD B.H. BLACKWELL, BROAD STREET MCMXX

[Illustration: LUDVIG HOLBERG]

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

The following lecture was delivered on May 23rd, 1919, at Magdalen College, Oxford, by invitation of the President, Sir Herbert Warren, and in the presence, among others, of the Norwegian Minister in London, Mr. Benjamin Vogt.

In revising the manuscript I have thought it necessary to enlarge it on a few points where I had to condense the lecture in order to keep it within the confines of an hour. I have also added a few supplementary footnotes and a brief reference to the bulky Holberg literature which may perhaps prove of interest to Holberg students in England.

In paying my respectful thanks to the President of Magdalen College and the distinguished audience for their kind reception I beg to sum up my feelings in the words of Holberg himself: _Multis sane nominibus devinctum Oxoniensibus me fateor teneri_.

S. C. H.

CHRISTIANIA, NORWAY.

_December, 1919._

LUDVIG HOLBERG

MR. PRESIDENT,

YOUR EXCELLENCY,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I.

I propose to speak to you about my countryman, Ludvig Holberg, the most famous Norwegian student whose name was ever entered on the records of this University. If this had not been the case, I should hardly have ventured to ascend this platform, for I feel that here, if anywhere, it must be an indispensable condition that the subject should match the place. For just as Oxford is not primarily an institution of education, but through its traditions, its companionships, its achievements, the very embodiment of British genius, British chivalry and British aspirations, so Ludvig Holberg is, indeed, no author in the ordinary sense of the word. He is the founder of modern Norwegian and Danish literature, the greatest playwright, the first critical historian, the most human and most broad-minded moralist and philosopher of two nations; a man whose constant work was one of educating; who revolutionised the conception of life in two kingdoms and paved the way for the intellectual and political liberty of the future. For all this, as I am going to show you, he is, next to his genius, highly indebted to England and, above all, to Oxford. To this place he made his way when he quitted Norway 213 years ago, imbued with a deep and early sympathy for England; from this place he went to Copenhagen, the joint capital at that time of Denmark and Norway, enriched by assets of the highest importance to his life-work. I, therefore, want to thank you for the opportunity you have given me to pay a joint tribute to Oxford and Holberg.


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