Henrik Arnold Thaulow Wergeland was a Norwegian writer, most celebrated for his poetry but also a prolific playwright, polemicist, historian, and linguist. He is often described as a leading pioneer in the development of a distinctly Norwegian literary heritage and of modern Norwegian culture.

Though Wergeland only lived to be 37, his range of pursuits covered literature, theology, history, contemporary politics, social issues, and science. His views were controversial in his time, and his literary style was variously denounced as subversive.


He was the oldest son of Nicolai Wergeland (1780–1848), who had been a member of the constituent assembly at Eidsvoll in 1814. The father was himself pastor of Eidsvold and the poet was thus brought up in the very holy of holies of Norwegian patriotism. Wergeland's younger sister was Camilla Collett and younger brother major general Joseph Frantz Oscar Wergeland. His father was the son of a bellringer from Sogn, and Wergeland's paternal ancestry is mostly farmers from Hordaland, Sogn and Sunnmøre. On his mother's side, he descended from both Danes and Scots. His great-grandfather, Andrew Chrystie (1697–1760), was born in Dunbar, and belonged to the Scottish Clan Christie. This Andrew migrated in 1717 to Brevik in Norway, moved on to Moss and was married a second time to a Scottish woman, Marjorie Lawrie (1712–1784). Their daughter Jacobine Chrystie (1746–1818) was married to the town clerk of Kristiansand Henrik Arnold Thaulow (1722–1799), father of Wergeland's mother Alette Thaulow (1780–1843). Wergeland got his first name from the elder Henrik Arnold.

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