"A Danish Genius of Madness": Tove Ditlevsens comeback og globale gennembrud som litteratursociologisk case

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Within the last decade, the Danish author Tove Ditlevsen (1917-1976) has experienced a remarkable renaissance: her works are massively being reissued and her legacy is taken up by young poets and artists. The “Tove fever” is also an international phenomena – as most lately witnessed by the inclusion of “The Copenhagen Trilogy” (Childhood, Youth, Dependency, 1969-71) in the Penguin Modern Classics Series in 2021. Subsequently, the trilogy has been sold for publication in 32 countries worldwide. After having been dismissed by the Danish literary establishment in her lifetime as a female author of social realism and “confessional literature”, Ditlevsen is now celebrated as one of the most important and unique voices in 20th century Danish literature and as a precursor of Karl Ove Knausgård, Annie Ernaux, Rachel Cusk. But what are the reasons for this rediscovery? In the perspective of Bourdieusian sociology, the writing up of Ditlevsen may be seen as an instance of the fall of high Modernism and as an example of the constant metamorphosis of literary taste. However, we may also view the case through the lenses of Latourian actor-network-theory. The article tries to combine the two theoretical approaches by offering an outline of the most important actors in the current rediscovery and transmission of Ditlevsen’s work, while also paying attention to the aesthetic judgements and forms of attachment characterizing the “Tove fever”.
Original languageDanish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)43-59
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and www.ku.dk

No data available

ID: 357175595