HDCB01143U DCC H.C. Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard: The Quest for Identity in Modernity

Volume 2024/2025

“The Quest for Identity in Modernity,” is a course in English for all International Students offered each semester.
The questions concerning personal identity and transformation raised by the two Golden-Age writers, H.C Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard, are no less relevant today than they were almost 200 years ago. How is it that a person becomes himself? How does a person attain wholeness and truth?
“Searching for one´s identity,” refers to the process of self-examination, self-definition, and inner exploration. It aims at understanding one´s values, beliefs, passions, and purpose in life. Together with Andersen and Kierkegaard, we will explore these themes in their connection to cultural, social, emotional, and personal dimensions.
Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard hold a pivotal position in Danish Cultural Heritage. Though both writers are intimately connected to their contemporary society, there is something in their works that far surpass the limits of the national and historical consciousness to which they adhere, and extend to a wider, global, and modern consciousness. This is what has made them not only internationally renowned but also given them continual actuality and relevance to this day.

We will explore what it is in their writings that merits such a prolonged actuality and such an extensive, modern appeal.

Through a vast proliferation of conceptual, fictive, and allegorical narratives, Andersen and Kierkegaard outline a map for the individual to navigate a path toward self-realization, without giving any definite directions nor any fixed points of orientation. The answer, as we know, lies in the search itself, for as Kierkegaard writes, “The truth is the way”; or in Andersen´s words: “Every man´s life is a fairy-tale, written by God´s fingers.”



Name of Exam: HDCB01141E Danish Literature and Philosophy in Context of Danish Culture and Society.



Texts will be available online through Absalon.

The course is only offered to exchange and fee-paying guest students at the University of Copenhagen.
Lectures, class teaching and excursions.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 0
  • Total
  • 0
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Written take-home assignment with an optional subject following active class participation. 11-15 standard pages.

The active class participation consists of an approved synopsis 2-3 standard pages.

Retake in case of non-approved active class participation consists of a written take-home assignment with an optional subject. 16-20 standard pages.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

For students with an approved synopsis the retake consists of a free written take-home assignment of 11-15 pages.


For students without an approved synopsis the retake consists of a free written take-home assignment of 16-20 pages.