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Lyngbye, Hans Christian

  • Text editionsDanishFaroese
  • Author:
    Mortensen, Agnes MolsSimonsen, Kim
  • Title:
    Lyngbye, Hans Christian
  • Text:

    In 1817 the Danish Hans Christian Lyngbye (Blenstrup nr Aalborg 1782 – Søborg 1837), a cleric with an interest in natural history, visited the Faroe Islands to investigate its algal flora. His Tentamen Hydrophytologiae Danicae, was published in 1819. Additionally, Lyngbye wrote a dissertation on the killing of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands (1818).

    During Lyngbye’s time in the Faroes he met the local scholar J.C. Svabo (1746–1824), who introduced Lyngbye to the Faroese language and its balladry; when shown Lyngbye’s field notes, the philologist Peter Erasmus Müller realized that these ballads contained the Völsunga saga in a hitherto unknown sung form. Assisted by Johan Henrich Schrøter, Müller helped Lyngbye publish the folk-ballads, which appeared in 1822 as Færøiske Qvæder om Sigurd Fafnersbane og hans Æt (“Faroese folk-ballads about Sigurd, slayer of Fafner, and his kin”). The first book to be printed in Faroese, it alerted Germanic philologists everywhere to the survival of ancient Germanic saga material in oral form. The collection contains the most important Faroese ballads from the oral archive: 236 in number totalling 70,000 stanzas, the oldest of which date back to the 14th century, with topics ranging from the local to the European (Charlemagne and the death of Roland, a Nibelungen analogue with references to Attila).

    Later travel writing by Lyngbye describes Faroese wedding rituals and the ballads people danced to at such occasions, and on the ruin of the medieval Magnus Cathedral in Kirkjubø.

    Lyngbye’s travel writing and explorations, while pulling the Faroes into the European cultural purview, highlighted many fields as exotically interesting and, hence, a marker of cultural specificity: from medieval archeology to manners and customs, from oral balladry to literary history.

    Word Count: 282

    Aalborg (DK)

    Müller, Peter Erasmus

    Schrøter, Johan Henrich

    Svabo, Jens Christian


    Manners and customs : Faroese

    The Ruin of Kirkjubø (1790)

  • Article version:
  • Lyngbye, Hans Christian (ed.); 1822. Færøiske Qvæder om Sigurd Fofnersbane og hans Æt (Randers: S. Elmenhof)

    Lyngbye, Hans Christian; 1820. “Færøske Oldsager. A. Om den gamle Kierkemuur ved Kirkeboe paa Færøe”, Antiquariske Annaler. Udgivne ved Den Kongelige Commision i Kjøbenhavn for Oldsagers Opbevaring 3

    Lyngbye, Hans Christian; 1820. “Færøske Oldsager. B. Efterretning om adskillige Oldsager og Mærkværdigheder paa Færøe”, Antiquariske Annaler. Udgivne ved Den Kongelige Commision i Kjøbenhavn for Oldsagers Opbevaring 3

    Lyngbye, Hans Christian; 1820. “Noget om Færøerne, især om de der brugelige Bryllupsskikke”, Magasin for Rejseiagttagelser 1

    Lyngbye, Hans Christian; 1826. “Om Grindefangsten paa Færöerne, tilligemed Bidrag til Grindens Naturhistorie”, Tidsskrift for Naturvidenskab

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    All articles in the Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe edited by Joep Leerssen are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://www.spinnet.eu.

    © the author and SPIN. Cite as follows (or as adapted to your stylesheet of choice): Mortensen, Agnes Mols, Simonsen, Kim, 2018. "Lyngbye, Hans Christian", Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe, ed. Joep Leerssen (electronic version; Amsterdam: Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms, https://ernie.uva.nl/), article version, last changed 10-08-2018, consulted 24-07-2019.