On October 8th, Kirstine Kastbjerg successfully completed the defense of her doctoral dissertation, “Reading the Surface: The Danish Gothic of
B.S. Ingemann, H.C. Andersen, Karen Blixen and Beyond.” Supervised by Professor Marianne Stecher, the dissertation examines the negotiation of
Gothic tropes by Danish authors with a particular emphasis on the excessive foregrounding of surfaces in the Gothic. Relying on excess,
spectacle, hyperbole, clichéd conventions, stylistic ornamentation and histrionic performances for its effect, the Gothic counter-narrative
questions not only good taste, but the distinction between popular entertainment and academic validity, and so it clashes dramatically with the
construction of Danish literary history, and the Danish discourses of realism and “Dannelse.” The dissertation argues that there is a distinct
but neglected Gothic tradition in Danish literature, from the early 1800s to the present day, from Ingemann, Andersen and Blixen (Dinesen) to
Peter Høeg and L.C. Skov.