Holberg, Ludvig, Baron, 1684-1754, Danish dramatist, essayist, poet, and historian, apostle of the Enlightenment in Scandinavia. Born in Norway, he studied theology in Bergen and in Copenhagen. After 1708 he made Denmark his home, residing there between European travels. Professor of metaphysics and later of history at the Univ. of Copenhagen, Holberg was the foremost Danish author of his time. His comedies, which brought him world stature, include the early mock-heroic epic poem Pedar Paars (1719-20), the satirical drama The Political Tinker (1722), and numerous other plays (he wrote 26 in the period 1722-24 alone). The ideas of the Enlightenment were publicized in Niels Klim's Subterranean Journey (1740, tr. 1960), a utopian novel, and in Moral Thoughts (1744) and Epistles (5 vol., 1748-54), collections of essays. He also wrote many popular scientific works; histories of Denmark, of Christianity, and of the Jews; and an autobiography (3 parts, in Latin, 1728-43, tr. 1827). Translations of his works include selected plays (1914, 1946, 1950) and essays (1955).
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