The themes Hans Vilhelm Kaalund wrote about
Hans Vilhelm (H. V.) Kaalund 27 June 1818– 27 April 1885 was a Danish lyric poet.
Born as the son of a customs officer he spent his childhood at the border district near the walls of Copenhagen. Very early attempts of being an artist were interrupted by a nerve disease but after some various occupations he was at last employed as a teacher of a prison and was able to write besides.
First of all Kaalund is known for his Fabler for Børn (“Fables for Children”, 1845), a book of verses about animals. They are no real fables but small snapshots of several kinds of animals, some sentimental, some humorous (most famous is Den dræbte And - “The killed Duck”). Like the fairy tales of H. C. Andersen they testify the rising interest of children and nature in Danish literature and have several times been re-edited
Kaalund’s lyrics for adults is collected in two books Et Foraar (”A Spring” - 1858) and En Eftervaar ("An After-Spring" - 1877). Apart from love poetry and political statements they contain a lot of thought lyrics that is perhaps his most important legacy.
A very characteristic trace in Kaalund’s poetry is its almost demonstrative commitment to realities. Though a late romanticist himself he again and again stresses the need of building one’s life upon the base of facts – without giving up one’s idealism. It is felt in poems like Jeg elsker den brogede Verden (“I love the colourful World” - 1858) and especially in his often sung Paa det Jevne (“On the Ground” - 1872) that has been both lauded as a typical Danish expression of matter-of-fact attitudes and criticised as a just as typical lack of ambitions. This split makes him a poet of transition between romanticism and realism and his best poems are still quoted.
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