The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

December 13, 2012

December 13, 1684

Ludvig Holberg,  (December 13, 1684 to January 28, 1754) is considered the father of Norwegian literature because of his many writings in a variety of forms and on diverse subjects. These include history, memoirs, and philosophy as well as fiction.

Holberg was a Professor at University of Copenhagen. He saw writing as his way to make a living, and for instance, experimented with publishing his own work to keep the profits. Here are some of his books; the dates are of the original Norwegian publication, not the English translation.

Introduction to the Greatest European Empires (1711)

The Core of Morality or Introduction to Natures and Knowledge for the Common Man (1716)

Moral Fables (1751)

Epistles,  published in 5 volumes (1748-1754), is really composed of short essays. Volume I includes 542 fictitious letters, and is described on the title page as "historical, political, metaphysical, moral, philosophical, and witty, topics". One of these essays is on "The Advantage of Cats Over Dogs."

Holberg was widely traveled, and in one essay describes an inn he stopped at during his travels, a lodging in Fensberg, (in the Duchy of Schlesvig) as disturbingly unclean and "Besides this, half a dozen cats mewing, and as many curs yelping, round the dinner table, completed the combination of discords."

He was made a baron in 1747 by Frederick V. When he faced death later, it was with an admirable poise. He said he was pleased at having lived as a good citizen, of Norway, and that, anyway, if he lived longer, his mental faculties might fade.  He never married, and specified his small fortune go to founding a school.

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