Henrik Strangerup, Author, Henrik Stangerup, Author, Sean Martin, Translator Marion Boyars Publishers $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7145-2894-6
An obscure 19th-century Danish man of letters is the hero of this biographical fiction from Danish novelist Stangerup ( The Road to Lagoa Santa ). Critic, journalist, poet and novelist, Peder Ludvig Moller died in a French mental asylum in 1865 at the age of 51, having squandered his gifts and energy in sensual pursuits. In tracing the demons that chase Moller throughout Europe and eventually destroy him, Stangerup seamlessly incorporates his research into the narrative: descriptions of European capitals in the 19th century are intensely atmospheric; the speeches of his Moller are direct citations. But he fails to vivify the obsessions that drive his character, chief among which is hatred of arch-nemesis Soren Kierkegaard. Readers without an understanding of the intellectual currents of the time (Hegel's systematic philosophy; Kierkegaard's prefiguration of existentialism and engagement with Christianity) will not grasp the significance of Moller's fatal ambitions and appetites; for them, the novel will lack the necessary urgency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7145-2986-8
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