Hertz, Henrik

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HERTZ, HENRIK (originally Heyman ; 1798–1870), Danish playwright and poet. Orphaned as a child, Hertz was brought up by a wealthy relative, in whose Copenhagen home he met many prominent people. He graduated in law but chose to become a writer. A member of the new school of Danish romantics, Hertz in 1830 drew up a program for them in elegant verse reflecting the movement's concern with beauty of form. His poetry reveals a sensual temperament, combined with humor and deep pathos. Hertz's principal interest was the theater. He skillfully copied all the fashionable dramatic forms and created roles for the leading Danish actors and actresses, writing about 50 comedies and romantic or historical dramas. His plays include the comedy Sparekassen ("The Savings Bank," 1836), which still retains its period charm; the highly successful Svend Dyrings Huus ("Svend Dyring's House," 1837), a romantic verse play inspired by medieval Danish ballads; Kong Renés Datter (1845, King René's Daughter, 1850), also of medieval inspiration; and Ninon (1848), a historical melodrama written in the style of Victor Hugo. The collected plays appeared in 18 volumes (1854–73). Hertz was baptized in 1832.


H. Kyrre, Henrik Hertz (Danish, 1916); Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, 10 (1936).

[Frederik Julius Billeskov-Jansen]

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