1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ingemann, Bernhard Severin

INGEMANN, BERNHARD SEVERIN (1789–1862), Danish poet and novelist, was born at Torkildstrup, in the island of Falster, on the 28th of May 1789. He was educated at the grammar school at Slagelse, and entered the university of Copenhagen in 1806. His studies were interrupted by the English invasion, and on the first night of the bombardment of the city Ingemann stood with the young poet Blicher on the walls, while the shells whistled past them, and comrades were killed on either side. All his early and unpublished writings were destroyed when the English burned the town. In 1811 he published his first volume of poems, and in 1812 his second, followed in 1813 by a book of lyrics entitled Procne and in 1814 the verse romance, The Black Knights. In 1815 he published two tragedies, Masaniello and Blanca, followed by The Voice in the Desert, The Shepherd of Tolosa, and other romantic plays. After a variety of publications, all very successful, he travelled in 1818 to Italy. At Rome he wrote The Liberation of Tasso, and returned in 1819 to Copenhagen. In 1820 he began to display his real power in a volume of delightful tales. In 1821 his dramatic career closed with the production of an unsuccessful comedy, Magnetism in a Barber’s Shop. In 1822 the poet was nominated lector in Danish language and literature at Sorö College, and he now married. Valdemar the Great and his Men, an historical epic, appeared in 1824. The next few years were occupied with his best and most durable work, his four great national and historical novels of Valdemar Seier, 1826; Erik Menved’s Childhood, 1828; King Erik, 1833; and Prince Otto of Denmark, 1835. He then returned to epic poetry in Queen Margaret, 1836, and in a cycle of romances, Holger Danske, 1837. His later writings consist of religious and sentimental lyrics, epic poems, novels, short stories in prose, and fairy tales. His last publication was The Apple of Gold, 1856. In 1846 Ingemann was nominated director of Sorö College, a post from which he retired in 1849. He died on the 24th of February 1862. Ingemann enjoyed during his lifetime a popularity unapproached even by that of Öhlenschläger. His boundless facility and fecundity, his sentimentality, his religious melancholy, his direct appeal to the domestic affections, gave him instant access to the ear of the public. His novels are better than his poems; of the former the best are those which are directly modelled on the manner of Sir Walter Scott. As a dramatist he outlived his reputation, and his unwieldy epics are now little read.

Ingemann’s works were collected in 41 vols. at Copenhagen (1843–1865). His autobiography was edited by Galskjöt in 1862; his correspondence by V. Heise (1879–1881); and his letters to Grundtvig by S. Grundtvig (1882). See also H. Schwanenflügel, Ingemanns Liv og Digtning (1886); and Georg Brandes, Essays (1889).