Pontoppidan, Henrik

Pontoppidan, Henrik hănˈrēk pôntôˈpĭdän [key], 1857–1943, Danish novelist. He shared the 1917 Nobel Prize in Literature with Karl Gjellerup. Pontoppidan devoted himself to engineering, journalism, and travel before the appearance of his first major work, The Promised Land (tr. 1896), originally published as a trilogy (1891–95). Combining realism, allegory, and fairy tale, his powerful Lucky Peter (5 vol., 1898–1904, tr. 2010), is widely considered one of the finest novels ever written in Danish. It depicts, in philosophical terms, the protagonist's revolt against bourgeois life and his ultimate discovery of his authentic self. A In his pessimistic Kingdom of the Dead (5 vol., 1912–16) he explores the problem of human weakness. A dedicated atheist, he also wrote Jesus: A Myth (1925).

See G. Lukás, The Theory of the Novel (1920).

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