The feverish secrets of life

Regular price 198,00 kr

A literary kinship between Henrik Pontoppidan and Thomas Mann
Now published in the 2nd edition

"Reading Pontoppidan's Totenreich, which captivates me."

This is what German Thomas Mann wrote in his diary in December 1920. Most Danes undoubtedly share Thomas Mann's joy at Henrik Pontoppidan's writing. But while Pontoppidan is often regarded as part of literary realism and sometimes also as a student of Georg Brandes, Mann belongs to a completely different tradition: The metaphysical novel and an echo of German Romanticism's obscure worship of the dark currents of life.

Life's feverish secrets describe how Pontoppidan and Mann have far more in common than that. With a focus on Pontoppidan's De Dødes Rige (1912-16) and Mann's Tolddomsbjerget (1924), Rasmus Vangshardt shows that Mann may have been significantly more inspired by the Danish Pontoppidan than previously assumed, but also that Pontoppidan's writing is permeated by a romantic and metaphysical world of imagination, which he shared with the philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche – and with Thomas Mann.

At the same time, it gives rise to a reassessment of the ending of The Kingdom of the Dead: since the book's publication, writers have debated whether its final utopia is admirable or thin. But Life's feverish secrets point out something quite different: There is no utopia at all.