Herman Bang born 20 April 1857 (d. 1912)
Herman Joachim Bang was a Danish writer and one of the men of the Modern Break-Through - the late 19th century literary movement in Scandinavia that replaced Romanticism.
Bang was born of a noble family on the small Danish island of Als, the son of a South Jutlandic vicar, but his family history was struck by insanity and diseases.
When he was twenty he published two volumes of critical essays on the realistic movement. In 1880 he published his novel Haabløse Slægter (Families without hope), which at once aroused attention. The main character was a young man who had a relationship with an older woman in Danish fin de siècle society. The book was considered pornographic and immoral at the time and was banned. After some time spent travelling and a successful lecture tour in Norway and Sweden, he settled in Copenhagen, and produced a series of novels and collections of short stories, which placed him in the front rank of Scandinavian novelists. Among his more famous stories are Faedra (1883) and Tine (1889).
The latter won for its author the friendship of Ibsen and the enthusiastic admiration of leading Norwegian novelist, Jonas Lie.
Bang was a homosexual, a fact which partly isolated him in Danish cultural life and made him the victim of smear campaigns. He lived most of his life with his sister but found happiness for a few years with the Hungarian actor Max Eisfeld with whom he lived in Prague 1885-86. His lack of interest in politics also distanced him from most of his colleagues in the naturalist movement.
Failed as an actor, Bang earned fame as a theatre producer in Paris and in Copenhagen. He was a very productive journalist, writing for Danish, Nordic and German newspapers, developing modern reporting. His article on the fire of Christiansborg Palace is a landmark in Danish journalism.
Some of his books, including Tine and Katinka (English titles), were translated into many languages and filmed. Of especial interest is Michael. Michael (also known as Mikaël, Chained: The Story of the Third Sex, and Heart's Desire) was a movie released in 1924 directed by fellow Dane Carl Theodor Dreyer (director of other notable silents such as The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)). Along with Different From the Others (1919) and Sex in Chains (1928), Michael is widely considered a landmark in gay silent cinema.
The film is based on Herman Bang's 1902 novel Mikaël. It is the second screen adaptation of the book, the first being The Wings, made eight years prior by gay director Mauritz Stiller. Michael, however, follows Bang's storyline much more closely than the earlier film version had done.
Herman Bang's last years were embittered by persecutions and a declining health. He travelled widely in Europe and died during a recitation tour in the USA.
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