1885.11 - William Heinesen – literary works between nations

Course number
William Heinesen – literary works between nations
The course aims to examine and discuss how to include William Heinesen’s literary works in the history of Faroese literature.
William Heinesen’s authorship has given rise to the question: to which nation’s literature does it belong? It is one of the most widely discussed and studied bodies of work in Faroese literature; however, there has not been any broad consensus on considering it Faroese. His first collection of poems was published in 1921 and his first novel in 1934. Yet he was not mentioned in Føroysk bókmentasøga (History of Faroese Literature) written and published by Christian Matras in 1935. In the late 20th century it was sometimes argued that his works did not belong to Faroese literature, and some even refused to read his books. The reason was that he wrote in Danish. In Danish literary history, on the other hand, William Heinesen was recognized and critically acclaimed. The works were not just excluded from the history of Faroese literature; they were not even included in the Faroese literature curricula, yet when the books were translated into Faroese, they became mandatory reading and were included in Bókmentasøga (Literary History) 1980-82 by Árni Dahl. The reading list includes Det gode håb and Laterna magica in addition to poems and short stories. Theories include post-colonialism, as in Bill Aschroft et al. and Homi Bhabha. On writing literary history the list includes, for example, David Perkins and Udo Schöning in Litteraturhistoriografi (Århus universitetsforlag 2005) and the articles: “Vit eiga William” (Brá No. 20) and Ann Ellefsen’s “William Heinesen i under¬visnings¬øjemed” (Tårnet ved verdens ende, 1994).
Learning and teaching approaches
The course will be organized into lectures and student presentations, debates and short written assignments.
Assessment method
Written performance during the course and set take-home assignment.
Malan Marnersdóttir