The Fall of the King by Johannes v Jensen

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Word Press

During the time of the “giant” monarchs Henry VIII, Charles V and Francis I, Denmark was getting itself into all sorts of muddles. Christian II, the “king” of the book’s title, decided that it would be a good idea to execute large numbers of Swedish nobles, in what became known as the “Stockholm Bloodbath”. Sweden, unsurprisingly, decided that it was not putting up with Danish rule any more, and has been independent ever since. A few year’s later, the “Count’s Feud” broke out in Denmark, effectively a civil war between the Catholic Christian II and his cousin, the Protestant Christian III.

Danish history tends to be ignored outside Scandinavia. Well, apart from the a) Vikings and b) the Schleswig-Holstein question. This book isn’t really my sort of thing – it won the Nobel Prize for Literature but, as prize-winning books tend to, it includes a fair bit of weird/”modernist” stuff, and, also, the choice of language and vocabulary in Danish is apparently superb, but obviously that doesn’t come across in the English translation. However, it’s an absolute joy to find a book available in English about such a neglected area of European history. Denmark deserves more attention than it gets.

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