Herman Bang

Herman Bang books and biography


Herman Bang


Herman Bang
Herman Bang

Herman Joachim Bang (April 20, 1857 in Duchy of Schleswig - January 29, 1912 in Ogden, Utah) was a Danish writer and one of the men of the Modern Break-Through.

Bang was born of a noble family on the small Danish island of Als, the son of a South Jutlandic vicar (a relative of Grundtvig), but his family history was struck by insanity and diseases.

When he was twenty he published two volumes of critical essays on the realistic movement. In 1880 he published his novel Haablose Slaegter (Families without hope), which at once aroused attention. The main character was a young man who had a relationship with an older woman. The book was considered pornographic at the time and was banned. [1] After some time spent in travel and a successful lecturing tour in Norway and Sweden, he settled in Copenhagen, and produced a series of novels and collections of short stories, which placed him in the front rank of Scandinavian novelists. Among his more famous stories are Faedra (1883) and Tine (1889).

The latter won for its author the friendship of Ibsen and the enthusiastic admiration of Jonas Lie. Among his other works are Det hvide Hus (The White House, 1898), Excentriske Noveller (1885), Stille Eksistenser (1886), Liv og Død (Life and Death, 1899), Englen Michael (1902), a volume of poems (1889) and of recollections (Ti Aar, 1891).

Bang was a homosexual, a fact which partly isolated him in Danish cultural life and made him the victim of smear campaigns. He lived most of his life with his sister but found happiness for a few years with the Hungarian actor Max Eisfeld with whom he lived in Prague 1885-86. His lacking interest in politics also removed him from most of his colleagues of the naturalist movement. His first book Haabløse Slægter (1880) was confiscated by the Danish police which found the story of the life of a young man in Danish fin de siècle society immoral.

Failed as an actor, Bang earned fame as a theatre producer in Paris and in Copenhagen. He was a very productive journalist, writing for Danish, Nordic and German newspapers, developing modern reporting. His article on the fire of Christiansborg Palace is a landmark in Danish journalism.

First of all Bang is occuppied with the "quiet existences", the disregarded and ignored people living a boring and apparently unimportant life. Especially he is the descriptor of the lonely or isolated woman. Ved Vejen (1886 - Eng. transl. Katinka) describes the secret and never fulfilled passion of a young wife of a station master living in a barren marriage. Tine (1889) which has the war against Germany in 1864 (the Second War of Schleswig) as the background of a young girl on the island of Als and her tragic love story with a man who is killed in war. Stuk (1887 - Stucco) tells about the "Gründerzeit" of Copenhagen and its superficial modernization and economic speculations as the background of a young man's love affair which is fading away without any real explanation. In Ludvigsbakke (1896) a young nurse is wasting her love on a spineless childhood friend who deserts her in order to save his estate by marrying a rich heiress.

Some of his books, including "Tine" and "Katinka" (English titles), translated into many languages and filmed, a.o. "Michael" by Carl Theodor Dreyer (1924), earned him a position as a leading European impressionist writer. His last years were embittered by persecutions and a declining health. He traveled widely in Europe and died during a recitation tour in the USA.

External link

  • Works by Herman Bang at Project Gutenberg


  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. Dynes, Wayne R. (ed.), Garland Publishing, 1990. pp.106-7
  • Posselt, Gert. Herman Bang. Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved on 2006-11-07


This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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Det Graa Hus

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Excentriske Noveller


Haabløse Slægter

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The Song Of The Stone Wall


Ved Vejen

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