Heiberg, Johan Ludvig (yōhănˈ lōħˈvē hĪˈbâr) [key], 1791–1860, Danish writer, director of the National Theater. In the play Christmas Fun and New Year's Jesting (1817), he satirized leading contemporary writers. As a defender of classical drama, Heiberg became an influential figure in Danish literature and criticism. He composed many vaudevilles, or musical comedies, based on French models but Danish in subject and humor. Among his works is The Hill of the Elves (1828), probably the most frequently performed of Danish plays. Heiberg's pygmalionlike relation to his wife, the successful actress Johanne Heiberg, and to H. C. Andersen is depicted in the play Rain Snakes (1981) by the Swedish playwright P. O. Enquist.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.