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Post Pre-Modern Danish Society; Georg Brandes
Created by John Eipper on 04/27/17 4:24 AM

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Pre-Modern Danish Society; Georg Brandes (Holger Terp, Denmark, 04/27/17 4:24 am)

In the Middle Ages, Denmark-Norway was an extremely violent society, where the monarchs ruled over their subjects with an iron hand.

There were corporal punishments and death sentences for even the smallest offenses, and exile was common for people who dared to question the king's power or policy. The population consisted of slaves or soldiers or both, and the oppression was systematic and total. Denmark was then a militarized kingdom.

For the years 1799-1849, I have not been able to find a single publication or article about Danish society. This democratic literature does not appear until the 1850s. How did the citizens react to the unrighteousness? They ceased to deal with politics altogether, or they emigrated.

Denmark's strict punishment practices in the Middle Ages have been documented by the historian Tyge Krog in his book Enlightenment and Magic: Enforcement and corporal punishment in the first half of the 18th century:  2000.

And after all, humanism emerged in 1870 with the modern breakthrough of Georg Brandes.

JE comments:  I've always wondered how the Scandinavian countries transformed from the Hobbesian nastiness of the Medieval and Pre-Modern periods to become the tolerant welfare states of today.  Holger Terp reminds us of the contributions of Georg Brandes (born Morris Cohen, 1842-1927), who wrote against the hypocrisy and prudish sexuality of Danish society.  How could Brandes be so influential?  He is almost unknown in the Anglo world.

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