Gelsted, Otto 1888–1968

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Gelsted, Otto 1888–1968

(Einar Otto Gelsted)

PERSONAL: Born November 4, 1888, in Middelfart, Fyn, Denmark; died December 22, 1968, in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Johannes V. Jensen, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1913.

(With others) Psalmer, H.H. Thiele (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1918.

Ekspressionisme (criticism), Nordisk (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1919.

De evige Ting (poems; title means "The Eternal Things"), 1920.

Dansens Almagt (poems), Levin & Munksgaard (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1921.

Enetaler (poems), Levin & Munksgaard (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1922.

Jomfru Gloriant (criticism; title means "Maiden Gloriant"), 1923.

Digte (poems), Levin & Munksgaard (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1924.

Lazarus' Opvækkelse, Sirius (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1924.

Paa flugt, 1925.

Gunnar Gunarsson, P. Haase (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1926.

Rejsen til Astrid (poems; title means "The Journey to Astrid"), 1927.

Enehøje-Digte (poems), Levin & Munksgaard (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1929.

Henimod Klarhed (poems), Levin & Munksgaard (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1932.

Under Uvejret (poems; title means "During the Storm"), Monde (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1934.

Oluf Høst, Naver (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1934.

Danmark-Ruslandi litteraturen, Monde (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1937.

(With others) Aarets Kunst, [Copenhagen, Denmark], 1938.

Udvalte digte (poems), Monde (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1938.

(With others) Casanovas erindringer, Martin (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1940.

De danske Strande, 1940.

Hymn til Badstuestræde, 1940.

Solemærker (poems), A. Jensen (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1941.

Fyns Land, A. Jensen (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1942.

Hunstner-leksikon, A. Jensen (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1942.

Emigrantdigte (poems; title means "Emigrant Poems"), Athenaeum (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1945.

Flygtningene i Husaby (novel), Athenaeum (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1945.

Arnulf Øverland, Athenaeum (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1946.

Frihedens Aar (poems), Tiden (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1947.

Stå op og tænd lys (poems), Athenaeum (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1948.

Sange under den kold krig (poems), Tiden (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1952.

Døden I badekarret (poems), Thaning & Appel (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1955.

Guder og helte, 1956.

Udvalgte digte, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1957.

Græsk drama (criticism), Thaning & Appel (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1957.

Den græske tanke, Thaning & Appel (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1958.

Goddag liv! (poems), Sirius (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1958.

Aldrig var dagen så lys (poems), Thaning & Appel (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1959.

Digte fra en solkyst (poems; title means "Poems from a Sunny Coast"), Thaning & Appel (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1961.

Axel Salto, Carit Andersens (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1962.

Hellas i mit hjerte, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1969.

Poesi og politik: 18 udvalgte digte, Danmarks Kommunistiske Parti (Valby, Denmark), 1982.

Work represented in collections; contributor to books by others, including author of foreword, Hans Christian Andersen, Alt på sin rette plads: Og andre eventyr, illustrations by Marlie Brande, A. Jensen (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1942. Translator of works by Homer, Sigmund Freud, Walt Whitman, Bertolt Brecht, and Pablo Neruda into Danish; contributor to periodicals, including Klingen, Land og Folk, Politiken, and Sirius.

SIDELIGHTS: Otto Gelsted was a Danish writer whose numerous publications included both poetry and criticism. Gelsted fueled his interest in philosophy and the arts during his years as a student, and he began his literary career by writing about modern art. His 1919 publication Ekspressionisme, for example, provides analysis of the expressionist movement in pictorial arts. In the ensuing decades, while he succeeded in producing numerous collections of poetry, Gelsted continued—through his various critical writings and his leftist polemics—to serve as an influential figure in Danish culture.

Gelsted's early poetry, including De evige Ting, Dansens Almagt, and Enetaler, all of which appeared in the early 1920s, indicates his interests in Kantian philosophy, Marxist politics, and Greek poetry. In the 1930s, as Nazism spread across Europe, his poetry came to express a greater degree of fatalism. During this period, Gelsted remained a staunch communist, even though Marxism—particularly as practiced in dictator Josef Stalin's Soviet Union—sometimes seemed at odds with his humanist perspective.

After World War II, Gelsted continued to publish prolifically in his native Denmark. In the 1950s, for instance, he produced the poetry collections Sange under den kold krig, Døden I badekarret, and Goddag liv!, and in 1961, when he reached age seventy-three, he produced still another verse volume, Digte fra en solkyst. After producing that collection, however, Gelsted completed little further work.