babi0074: November 2012 Archives

Political Tinker Skit

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here's the text i came up with on tuesday. whaddayathink? / who wants to be in this?

(II.iii) Herman: Listen, Franz. You are still a young man and so you can't see so deep into things as the rest of us, albeit I perceive that you have a good head and in time may amount to something...I was thinking last night, as I lay awake, how the administration in Hamburg could be best arranged so that the certain families whose members are born, as it were, to be burgomasters and councilors could be excluded from the highest positions of authority and complete freedom be introduced...When the government was arranged like that, we might be called a really free people.

Herman: Heinrich!

Henrich: Mr. Burgomaster!

Herman: What do you think these councilors are going to do to me?

Heinrich: I don't know; they were very angry, I could see. I am surprised they dared use such language in the burgomaster's own room. If I had been burgomaster, I should have come right out and said to them: "Shut up, you scurvy-necks! Stick your fingers on the floor and smell whose house you are in!"

Herman: I wish you were burgomaster, Henrich! ...Leave off the "burgo" and call me plain "master," for I am a tinker, and a tinker I will die.

Annotated Bibliography

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So here is the place where we will post our annotated bibliographies. All can edit as they see fit/complete their individual MLA sources and summaries.

Marker, Frederick, and Lise-Lone Marker. A History of Scandinavian Theatre. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print.

A History of Scandinavian Theatre presents Ludvig Holberg as "the foremost playwright of the eighteenth century of Scandinavia." Marker discusses that Holberg entered the Scandinavian theatre scene during a significant time of enlightenment and revolution, which led to such a theatrical growth in the region. It all started in 1722 with a company called the Danish Company, a project called "The Danish Comedy," and a theatre on Lille Gronnegade street. Holberg was commissioned by this company to write plays in the national language. Up until that point, only French drama and Italian operas were popular. This was the first national theatre in Scandinavian history and would plant the seed for more to come decades later. Marker then describes Holberg specific theatricality as a playwright. After the premiere of Holberg's first play at the Gronnegadeteatret, Marker quotes a comment made by Holberg himself about the play, saying that it "had the good fortune which all good comedies should have, namely that a flock of people became angry over it." Marker uses this comment to compare Holberg to Moliere, whom Marker describes and Holberg's true counterpart. Holberg's plays, like Moliere, are heavily laden with societal commenting and critique. Marker also argues that Holberg was a playwright with a nationalist perspective. He wanted to write about themes that were relevant to Scandinavian audiences and not fill his plays with too much romance or other themes that were common in French drama. The Scandinavian audience was most important, in Holberg's eyes. However, in 1729 after years of fluctuating financial problems the Gronnegadeteatret closed its doors for good and the Danish Comedy was no more. Thus leaving Holberg, who had written 27 plays in the five year period, a prominent figure in Scandinavian history. (Rebecca)

Marker, Frederick, and Lise-Lone Marker. The Scandinavian theatre : a short history. N.p.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975. Print.

I also read what I think was just a different edition of the Marker & Marker book. A quote I found interesting and clear: Holberg's definition of comedy: "Comedy must...make people laugh...It is not enough the ridiculousness of humanity and to be able to chastise faults so that he amuses as well." His point was that comedy must not just READ funny; it must PLAY funny. (Allie)

Holberg, Ludvig. Ludvig Holberg's Comedies. Ed. Gerald Argetsinger. Carbondale: Souther Illinois University Press, 1983. Print.

Ludvig Holberg's Comedies, written by Gerald S. Argetsinger, is not only a biographical documentation of Ludvig Holberg, but an analysis of the comedies he wrote that dives into the reasoning behind the success of his plays. Before and during Holberg's rise to fame, 17th century Europe was beginning to acknowledge the ever-growing concept revolving around "the rights of nature and of people". However, Denmark along with most of the Danish culture was stunted in experiencing the growth the rest of Europe seemed to be partaking in. Instead of establishing their own identity within this period of change, many would flock away from Copenhagen if they desired conversion. A scholar of Holberg's, Edvard Brandes, explains, "[Holberg] did not travel to become less Danish...he left only to harvest what the world had to offer and brought back insights and we say he helped to create a common pride and way of thought." Holberg's intrigue had been sparked by the basic idea that "if people would simply use their own common sense, they could understand their shortcomings and improve their own lives". This goes to show why his comedies revolve largely around basic human character and their many flaws. Argetsinger classifies Holberg's comedies into 6 different categories because he believes that the rapidity of the plays written left no room for maturation in his work, and there is no noticeable change in political, religious, or philosophical views in his plays. He consistently expressed similar ideas in similar forms. Therefore the comedies fall into the categories of Comedies of Character, Comedies of Intrigue, Comedies for Special Social Occasions, Topical Comedies, Philosophical Comedies, and Satires of Dramatic Form. (Bree)

Hornshoj-Moller, Stig. A Short History of Denmark. Ed. Kirsten Corvinius. Aschehoug: Dansk Forlag, 1998. Print.
This was a short but complete history of Denmark. I used the chapters that covered the transitions to absolute monarchy thru the early 1700s. Basically, Denmark had an absolute monarchy in the 1600s that was a total failure. The general effect was that of a failed serfdom. Fields lay fallow, life was not good. This was also during the period of wars with Sweden that lasted from the 1660s until 1720 when the piece treaty was signed. Frederick IV declares himself absolute monarch in 1699, reclaiming the fiefdoms, hoping that as a singular ruler he will have better luck controlling and helping his country to grow and better itself. This book briefly mentions Holberg. He is introduced as a professor of History at the University of Copenhagen who "used humor to castigate contemporary society good-naturedly." This book was simply written, in a magazine-like, flip-book style that was almost childish, and covered several decades in two pages that were mostly pictures. One thing that lends it legitimacy was that an identical copy written in some Scandinavian language was beside it on the shelf of the library. While it served as a good overview, it was not a terrifically academic source. I was able to gain much more insight from in-depth, higher-level volumes. (Allie)

Langslet, Lars Roar. "The Nordic Molière." Scandinavian Review 91.3 (2004): n. pag. ProQuest. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. .

This article from the Scandinavian Review portrays Ludvig Holberg, the central character in this era of Norwegian literature, as a man possessed with the idea of creating a well developed national literature. The essay provides a basic background on his life, as well as a thorough discussion of his literary works and the massive quantity of them, attributing over 20,000 pages of work to him. The article describes him as a workaholic, a man who was so ambitious that he "did it [all] just about alone, a literary one man band, if you will." The article goes on to describe the national literature leading up to the time of Holberg as rather lacking, with the exception of early chronicles and hymn writing. The article glorifies Holberg for his work in numerous fields, and in reading it you find it difficult to blame the authors of the article, given their depictions of Holberg's work ethic. Holberg did not show much interest in the theatre until the opening of a theatre in 1722 and Holberg was hired as a playwright, after which he wrote a new comedy nearly every month. He also wrote historical works and philosophy, and seemed to almost have "a list in his head of all conceivable literary genres, and crossed them off, one by one, as he used them." The article, in short, address both the great quality and quantity of work put forth by Holberg, a justification for the work's continued existence some 300 years after its original composition. (Erik)

Lauring, Palle. History of Denmark. Copenhagen: Host & Son, 1995. Print.

The most interesting part of this book was a section on an English man called Sir Robert Molesworth, who visited the Danish court in 1692 and wrote a scathing book called "An Account of Denmark as it was in the Year 1692." This book, which he published anonymously, criticized the Danish people on many levels. He paints an extremely dreary picture of their culture at the time, which was extremely lacking in original artistic content. More often than not, artists were essentially "imported" from Germany or France by the Danish king to create plays, literature, et cetera for the Scandinavian people to enjoy. Molesworth, stating the purpose of his work, wrote that "this book seeks to depict drastically for an English public just how bad everything can be in an absolute monarchy where the population is made apathetic and subjugated into a state of animal wretchedness. The Danes were dull, boring, lacking in spirit." This made the need for original Scandinavian culture to emerge even more apparent, and frankly, embarrassing. Rebecca mentioned that in one of the books she was reading, the Danish king actually declared that plays written in French were no longer permitted to be performed in the Danish court, so the stage had quite literally been set for Ludvig Holberg to emerge. He wrote comedies in the style of Moliere, who he idolized, but he wrote them in Danish, and he wrote them specifically for the a Danish audience. This leads us to our main controversy: did Holberg write for the government or for the people? He needed the government's support to produce his work, but he needed the people to see it, and many of his lower-class characters are lovable, bold, and clever, sometimes more so than the characters representing authority. (Allie)

Holberg, Ludvig. Selected Essays of Ludvig Holberg. Ed. P. M. Mitchell. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1955. Print.

In Mitchell's collection of Ludvig Holberg's essays, originally published in a series of collections in Danish and while it is not made clear when each essay was published, mitchell makes clear that they were all published during Holberg's lifetime. In this collection we get to see more sides of Holberg, beyond criticisms of his theatrical pieces and the pieces themselves, namely his social and philosophical writings. The collection varies dramatically in subject. Some essays address the theatre directly, such as "Good and Bad Comedies" (95), in which he bemoans the state of theatre in Denmark, that the comedies being translated from French and English are no good and that there do not seem to be decent plays being written in Denmark. As he puts it, "from the the age of Plautus until Molière, a period of two thousand years, no drama of note of which anything is known came into being" (97). In addition to the few essays dedicated to the theatre, in which Holberg also proclaims the need for comedies to be written in prose, we also get to see the type of person that Holberg was, his beliefs an interests. Ranging from "Ancient theories on the origin of man" and "Heathen Ethics" to his endorsement of the regular use of "Tea, Coffee and Tobacco" (67). It is implied in the introduction to the book that these topics were presented in a more organized fashion, by topic, in their original release, however here the editor has provided us with what he believed to be essays that are representative of Holberg's interests, given that the larger collections of Holberg's essays, in which there are some 539 essays, remain unavailable to readers in English. (Erik)


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1. 1722-1727
2. We plan to focus on the work of Ludvig Holberg and the rise and fall of Danish Comedy, which was also influenced largely by Renee Magnon de Montaigu. "The Political Tinker" was Holberg's first play, and thus important. "The Internment of the Danish Comedy" presented a symbolic death of the Comedy upon the closing of his theater.
3. We haven't fully delved into the socio-political context, but will certainly be adding to this section as our knowledge of the era grows.
4. We all read various sources about scandinavian or theatrical history, and all found these names as a commonly crucial thread through these many publications, so we concluded that they were certainly important to our subject material.
5. We will eventually cite these MLA style, but here are some titles: "A History of Scandinavian Theatre" (marker and marker), "Ludvig Holberg's Comedies" (Argetsinger), "The Scandinavian Theatre" (Marker), "A Mirror to life" (Grose/Kenworthy), "Selected Essays of Ludbig Holberg" (Mitchell)

Narrowing Our Scope.. further...
1722 and 1727 marked the rise and fall of "Danish Comedy." This was a project proposed by Montaigu, the former court theatre director, and approved by the Danish King to write in Danish. Prior to this, the popularized entertainment of the time was primarily French drama and Italian operas. It was the first time plays were written in the national language. This led to the Scandinavia's first public vernacular theater called the Gronnegadeteatret - which will be our primary theater of focus. Holberg was commissioned by the Gronnegadeteatret and produced the first Danish Comedy in 1722 called the "The Political Tinker." Holberg was revolutionary for his strong views on audience self-recognition. He wasn't tempted to write about themes that were popular in other countries because he didn't expect they would be as accepted by Danish audiences. Holberg was famous for always keeping the point of view of the Danish audience in mind and basing all the comedy around that stance. Through theatre, he motivated the idea of Scandinavia coming into their own power and creating their own work.

In 1727, due to financial issues, the Gronnegadeteatret had its final performance of "The Interment of the Danish Comedy" - which actually staged the "death" of comedy. One of the actors who played the majority of clown characters in Holberg's plays jumped down into the trapdoor "grave" while the actress who introduced comedy to the stage 4 years earlier read a eulogy over the "defunct venture."
(This information about Holberg has come from "A History of Scandinavian Theatre" by Marker and Marker. In almost every book we have found that talks about Scandinavia's theatrical or political history - Holberg is mentioned in one way or another. He was definitely a revolutionary guy for his time period and Scandinavian history as a whole)

Historical Context:

Denmark (and norway, which was at the time under denmark's rule) and Sweden had been at war since 1640. The peace treaty was signed in 1721.

An absolute monarchy came about with the rule of Frederick III in 1648. The general population of Denmark was drab, to say the least. Serfdom was rampant, and as British Visitor Sir Robert Molesworth wrote in his satirical work "An Account of Denmark as it was in the year 1692," that the population of Denmark is apathetic, subjugated into a state of animal wretchedness, dull, boring, and lacking in spirit. Theater was not common, mostly performed by university students to audiences that didn't quite understand the concept, and art/artists were essentially imported from France and Germany to bring "culture" to the Danish Court.

Frederik IV was the monarch who tried to improve the education and creativity of the peasantry by building schools and encouraging artists like eventually Holberg to create. Holberg began his career as a professor at the University of Copenhagen. With the reign of Frederick IV came a time of increased freedom in the culture with the end of the The Great Norther War with Sweden in 1721 and his abolition of Vornedskab (a form of Serfdom) in 1702. In the time of Holberg then and The Danish Comedy (project) we also see a short time period in which culture is given the opportunity to thrive, before 1733 after which the son of Frederik IV, Christian VI reintroduced serfdom in Denmark, coinciding with the failure of the project, The Danish Comedy.

Bueller? Bueller?

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Testing...1, 2, 3. Is this blog a real place? Or just a series of numbers floating in space?

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