StarteKapitel‘The Generation of 1814’

‘The Generation of 1814’

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(eKapitel) The formative ideals of Danish-Norwegian classicism have received little attention in Norwegian cultural history. One reason for this is probably due to its supranational character that makes it difficult to fit into the story of Norwegian nati

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Thor Inge Rørvik, Oslo University

The formative ideals of Danish-Norwegian classicism have received little attention in Norwegian cultural history. One reason for this is probably due to its supranational character that makes it difficult to fit into the story of Norwegian national identity, which seems to have been the overall concern of Norwegian historiography since the middle of the nineteenth century. On the basis of one of the few books written on the subject, this article aims at providing an image of the old paradigm of breeding as it appears in the public sphere during the years after 1814. The aim is further to show how these ideals are rooted in the basic values of the Latin rhetorical-pedagogical programme of the grammar school (latinskolen), and to what extent these formative ideals correspond to the concept of civil education.

Thor Inge Rørvik (2011) remarks

For the last fifteen years my main topic of research has been the history of philosophy or, more precisely, philosophy in a historical context. One of the issues who have achieved my attention here is the often contested and ­fra­gile relationship between philosophy and rhetoric; both disciplines seminal to the concept of breeding and therefore also parts of the grammar school and university curriculum. My paper on the generation of 1814 – published in 1998 – was an attempt to demonstrate the extent to which the two disciplines intermingled, and how their interconnectedness were taken for granted, within the educational system as well as in the broader public sphere in Norway in the early nineteenth century. The point of departure (hence the title of my paper) was a book written by a norwegian art historian, mainly concerned with the then current concepts of style and expression in art, furniture, literature and public speech. By examining some of the literary examples here given, my intention was to show that whereas they on one hand carried the imprints of the classical rhetorical traditions understanding of civic virtue, they were – in a perhaps more fundamental sense – also expressions of a then current philosophical anthropology.

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About Thor Inge Rørvik

con infoThor Inge Rørvik is Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy, History of Ideas, History of Art and Classical Studies, University of Oslo, Norway. His main interests are the history of universities, the history of Norwegian philosophy and Danish-Norwegian literary criticism in the eighteenth century.

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