Goldschmidt - mellem dansk og jødisk


  • Søren Schou


Danish-Jewish Meïr Aron Goldschmidt (1819-1887) was one of the outstanding novelists and short story writers of his time. Romanticism was on the wane and a realism dealing with the problems of modern life was looming on the horizon. In some ways, Goldschmidt was a figure between the times, but in one important respect he dealt with a major contemporary issue, as he was the first significant writer who discussed the Jews’ often precarious situation in the mid-nineteenth century. It has been said that the central problem of his life was the struggle to belong. His first novel, En Jøde (A Jew) (1845), was a deeply pessimistic tale of the young Jew Jacob Bendixen who tries to reconcile Danish and Jewish culture, but in vain. After his failed engagement to the young Christian girl Thora Fangel, he leaves Denmark in order to join the social revolutions taking place throughout Europe at the time. His return to Denmark brings nothing but disappointment and misery, and Jacob becomes a pawnbroker in order to seek revenge over his enemies. The fundamental conflict between Jewish and Danish was an important motive in most of Goldschmidt’s work, but the pessimistic attitude was softened in some ways, and his late short stories in particular depict various types from the Jewish community with empathy and humor. The stories in his volume of tales from around the world – Kjærlighedshistorier fra mange Lande (Love stories from many countries) (1867) – deserve to be better known. Here Goldschmidt tries to show how differently and yet similarly human beings cope with fundamental feelings of love, jealousy, infatuation, resignation. Appropriately, the setting of this telling of tales from many parts of the world is the Paris World Exposition in 1867. This is the place where countries and cultures meet, and where people get acquainted with each other. Goldschmidt collected this volume of stories, all written by himself, about identity, and about the ways we human beings get to know ourselves when we are exposed to other cultures. An inexhaustible collection indeed, written by a man who had matured in many ways since the depression and doom of the first novel.





Schou, S. (2021). Goldschmidt - mellem dansk og jødisk. Rambam. Tidsskrift for jødisk Kultur Og Forskning, 28(1). Hentet fra