As a Faroese author writing in Danish, William Heinesen holds an exceptional position in Faroese literature. This linguistic peculiarity results from his growing up in a Danish-speaking family in Tórshavn, and from the fact that until 1938 Danish was fhe official language of instruction in Faroese schools. William Heinesen's Danish wrítten language is then in a sense determíned by historical circumstances, but it soon became the subject of discussion in the Faroes, and it had a bearing on the
appraisal of his works.
For William Heinesen himself, his Danish literary language made for artistic difficulties. Descriptions in his early fiction are void of intimacy and intensity, a defect which was not completely remedied until in the revised version of De fortabte Spillemænd, which had ínitially been sent to Gyldendal in 1945. In this novel, published in 1950, William Heinesen created, as it were, his
own specific poetics, characterized by an artistic, linguistic conflation that arises out of his Danish upbringing in the Faroes in times of Faroese transition from a medieval farming community into a modern fishing nation.
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