Romanticism vs. Enlightenment should summarize the work of Norwegian author Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845), playwright, poet, political lobbyist and historian. He is arguably the trope codifier for the Norwegian romantic movement at large, and also the patriotic movement in Norway during the 1800s. In his day, he was a badass, or at least a badass boaster, writing poems and plays until his last cough. He died of two-sided Pneumonia at the age of 37.Wergeland is probably most known in non-Norwegian countries for his political lobbyism on behalf of Jews. The Norwegian constitution was strikingly clear on not allowing Jews access to the realm, and Wergeland worked for years to get this paragraph amended. He finally succeeded, though it would take another six years after his death to get the case closed. Swedish Jews payed for his memorial monument in gratitude.Wergeland was a friend to the commoners, and generally a pain in the ass for all cultural snobs. His quarrelsomeness made him a lot of enemies, and he was hunted down by lawsuits that nearly ruined him. He was also a hardass republican, ultra-patriotic, in a country mostly ruled by a Swedish king. The said king eventually gave him an occupation, which caused many of his earlyer friends to turn him down.The Norwegian leftist movement consider him a hero, and he became quite rightly a national icon. His massive production, makes him, however, somewhat hard to read, but most Norwegians can recite at least one of his poems. His influence is apparent in the plays of Henrik Ibsen and other writers. Notable works by Henrik Wergeland
Creation, Man and the Messiah. His Magnum Opus, written in 1829, and rewritten on his deathbed in 1845 (somewhat abridged) under the title Man. This poem proves Wergeland could write cosmic poems with the best of them (Dante, John Milton, William Blake).
The Jew, a collection of poems written for the jewish question in 1841, followed by the Jewess in 1845. Both collections are prone examples of tolerance and understanding - quite antirasistic for the time.
A number of plays and short stories, often farcical and political.
Tropes found in the work of Henrik Wergeland:
Anvilicious: It is hard to imagine anyone dropping his anvils in such an elegant manner.
Artist Disillusionment: A number of times. Most famously in his poem Follow the call, where he calls himself out of it, stating that a small audience is better than no audience at all. And if somebody listens, he will have achieved something anyway. This particular case begins with a moment of disillusion, because he is writing in a language that hardly survives his own breath (or, is understood by very few), and not on a world language like English.
Determinator: A number of poems goes by this or the "don`t give up" slogan. He calls on heroic willpower, because the truth will be victorious no matter how hard it is beaten in the first place. And "God counts the will more than anything else".
Humans Are Cthulhu: Wergeland stated the "spiritual" origin of man in many poems, up to and including his cosmic magnum opus. Essentially, the idea was platonic/gnostic, meaning that the souls of humans originated on a higher level, and that they eventually would return to their maker. The task of Jesus, among other things, was to awaken that slumbering urge.
Informed Judaism: In his poems written for the Jewish cause, Wergeland couldn`t resist this. Most apparently shown in the use of the name Jehova. Wergeland`s jews repeatedly utter the name, while real life jews are very cautious on this particular issue.
The Lost Lenore: Wergeland wrote a rather sweet poem in the cycle dedicated to his wife, where the spirit of a dead girl anf former love interest introduces herself to be the guardian angel of the happy couple. Neat reconciliation.
Mythopoeia: His magnum opus is a retelling of the history of mankind as a myth, which also claims that all myths are related, and that all wisdom derives from the same source, or the same sage. There are also lots of non-human entities of higher celestial order, meddling in human affairs, or at least commenting on them.
Self-Deprecation: On his deathbed, Wergeland wrote a rather humorous authobiography, pestering himself for some of his youthful failures, like the stalking business. He also imagines someone finding his skull twenty years after his death, and the skull holding a lecture over some nonsensical issues. Until the reveal: the skull harbored a rat all along.
Snark-to-Snark Combat: With fellow student and rival poet Johan Sebastian Welhaven. The two wrote insulting and humorous verses towards one another for a year. When those verses was published and printed by accident, the combat went haywire and made cultural history. Verged on volleying insults.
Stream Of Consciousness: The rule in his early poetry, which, despite a defining title, seems to contain thoughts of almost everything.
Vive la Révolution!: Wergland translated and adapted La Marseillaise to a Norwegian context. Later, in the poem The Freedom day of Norway, he equalled the Norwegian constitutional day with the two known predecessors: The fourth of July, The American Independence Day, and July 14, the French Bastille day. May 17 (Norway) is put neatly between them as a brother. Wergeland saw the three causes as one and the same.
Creation Myth: His magnum opus, retelling the human history from creation to final doom.
Dear Negative Reader: His poem Mig Selv ("Myself") is basically an answer to his critics in the newspaper Morgenbladet, particularly their statement that he was a grouchy and unpleasant person. In this poem, he first denies being grouchy or unpleasant because he's so very cheerful and mild that he needs only the hint of fresh air or a green leaf to experience pure joy; then he goes on to explain why he's not wasting his valuable time even getting angry with such a pitiful excuse for a newspaper, continues by stating it's no wonder he gets in a bad mood when he has to deal with idiots like them, and then finishes with a rousing praise of the stars in the sky, who shine so brightly that he just smiles peacefully in the face of such unfair mockery as he's been subject to. In 2008, during Wergeland`s bicentennial anniversary, Morgenbladet finally printed the poem on his birthday, and made a public apology for this. Yes, it took them that long.