Aakjaer, 1866 – Jenle, 1930) Danish novelist and poet. Belonging to a peasant family, rigid practitioner of Pietism, in his youth he alternated working in the fields with attending popular school, where he was influenced by the Grundtvigian interpretation of Christianity. He himself narrates episodes of his childhood and youth in Years of childhood ( Drenge Aaar ), Adolescence ( Knøseaar ) and Before the day ( Før det dages ), as well as in the novel The son of the peasant ( Bondens Søn ).
At the end of the century he worked as a journalist for some years in Copenhagen, where he was attracted by the ideas of G. Brandes and by socialism. He was considered an agitator, being a prominent member of the reformist student movement inspired by Brandes. The novel The Children of Wrath ( Vredens Børn , 1904), in which he expresses his protest at the exploitation of rural laborers, ignited a debate that led to improvements in the situation of these workers.
In his next novel, Arbejdets glæde (1914), his love for the peasant lifestyle (threatened by advances in industry) as well as the traditions and dialect of Jutland appears. As soon as it was possible, he moved back to Jutland (1907), to continue his literary work there, while at the same time taking care of the education of the peasants. The importance of the book for him in the social struggle is evidenced by the novel Forces in ferment ( Hvor der er gaerende Kraefter ).
While aggressive and subversive accents predominate in his novels, his lyrics are of all the greater merit the more linked they appear to traditional values. Among his poetic works, Campo libre ( Fri Felt , 1905), Songs of Rye ( Rugens Sange , 1906) and Under the Evening Star ( Under Aftenstjernen ) deserve to be highlighted . His best known book is Songs of the rye ; it includes poems of great sensuality to which the Danish composer Carl Nielsen put music, but neither is social criticism absent. The biography The tragedy of the life of Steen St. Blicher ( Steen St. Blichers Livstragedie, 1918) testifies to the affection he felt for the romantic and unfortunate Jutland poet Blicher.