Peter Høeg

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Peter Høeg (2015)

Peter Høeg (born May 17, 1957 in Copenhagen ) is a Danish writer .


Peter Høeg was born in the Christianshavn district of Copenhagen in 1957 as the eldest son of a lawyer in the civil service and a lecturer in Latin and German. In 1976 he graduated from the Fredriksberg High School, and in 1984 the Magister Artium in Comparative Literature from the University of Copenhagen . He then completed training as an actor and dancer in Sweden and Paris. For a while he earned his living as an actor and dancer for classical ballet on various Danish and Swedish stages and as a lecturer at the University of Odense .

Following these trips, he set up a foundation for the benefit of women and children in developing countries . All of the income from his novel The Woman and the Monkey and fifteen percent of all other income that Høeg made over the next ten years went to the Høegsche Lolwe Foundation . This supports women and children in Africa and in the Tibetan refugee camps in India.

International fame he achieved in 1992 with the publication of his novel Smilla's Sense of Snow (Danish Frøken Smilla fornemmelse for sne ), including through the film with film producer Bernd Eichinger and director Bille August with Julia Ormond in the title role. The film was the opening film of the 1997 Berlinale . The English-language book was printed with a print run of 4 million copies - a sensation for the Danish writer, who had previously been relatively unknown internationally.

Since then, Høeg has been a bestselling author, whose works have been sold over 20 million times. The author is of the opinion not to allow any further film versions of his books: "There were several reasons for this, but one was that I do not want the reader's imagination to be limited."

Peter Høeg lives alternately near Copenhagen and Jutland (Denmark). He has two daughters with his wife Akiniyi, who comes from Kenya.


Peter Høeg (2012)


  • 1988, debut novel: Forestilling om det tyvende århundrede. (German: Presentation of the 20th century. Hanser , Munich 1992, ISBN 3-446-16110-4 ) Rowohlt , Reinbek bei Hamburg 2000, ISBN 978-3-499-22769-1
  • In 1990 Peter Høeg published a collection of short stories called Fortællinger om natten (German: About love and its conditions on the night of March 19, 1929. Hanser, Munich, 1996, ISBN 3-446-17309-9 ; new edition as rororo paperback, Reinbek near Hamburg, 1998, ISBN 3-499-22314-7 ). In a previous anthology of short stories he played with the magical realism of Latin America , here he is stylistically based on Karen Blixen . The original nine stories deal in variations with the theme of love.
  • 1992: The plot of the novel Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne. (German: Fräulein Smilla's sense of snow. Hanser, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-446-17683-7 ) is based in Copenhagen and Greenland . The main character Smilla Jaspersen, who as half a Greenlander constantly vacillates between her Inuit origins and her adopted Danish home, is a mathematician and geographer. She uncovered a crime when the little Inuit boy who lives in her apartment block in Copenhagen falls off the roof and dies. (A new paperback edition was published in 1996 by Rowohlt in Reinbek near Hamburg ( ISBN 3-499-13599-X ); made into a film , directed by Bille August , 1997)
  • 1993: De måske egnede. (German: The plan of the abolition of the dark. Hanser, Munich, 1995, ISBN 3-446-17820-1 ). This novel consists of two levels:
Superficially, it is about the path of the main character through orphanages, children's homes and a boarding school up to (saving) adoption during puberty. Experiences of violence, mistreatment by caregivers and other children, as well as survival strategies of fellow fates paint a tough picture of the reality of home children. At the boarding school, the tension arises because the children feel a plan that is controlled. But it remains subtle - the intentionality, motives and goals remain hidden.
A basic theme is incorporated into this framework: time . Time as a means of social domination and time and consciousness. The first sentence of the novel is "What is time?" At the micro level there are e.g. B. the precisely measured speaking pauses in class with which pressure is built up. On the macro level it is the standardization of the world time and the change of the clock from a work of art to praise God to a social behavior control instrument (which was not that long ago). Sporadically, considerations about the interlinking of time perception and consciousness are interspersed - a prerequisite for time to be used as an effective instrument of rule at all. From the child's development of the sense of time ( getting out of the “surface” into the “tunnel” of linear time) to the outstanding remark about the ability to develop and reflect on a concept of time at all: that there must be an unchangeable background against which Change can be experienced as change. The latter is even taken up and quoted in the current psychological specialist literature.
The novel seems autobiographical. The novel was nominated for the Nordic Council's Literature Prize.
  • 1996 is the novel Kvinden og aben. (German: Die Frau und der Affe. Hanser, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-446-18880-0 ) published. An alcoholic saves a giant monkey from biological experiments. Høeg uses history to criticize civilization . The "monkey" is actually a member of a more intelligent and ethical species than humans. The fact that he is externally wrapped in the “dress” of a monkey underlines the willingness of people to cling to a preconceived image / prejudice / mental model.
  • 1997: Hommage à Bornonville and judgment in the case of the court president Ignatio Landstad Rasker , stories, in: The lovers of one night. Five love stories by four European storytellers, with Gustaw Herling , Antonio Tabucchi , Aleksandar Tišma , dtv , Munich, 1997, ISBN 3-423-20011-1 .
  • 2001: Journey into a dark heart. Reflection of a young man in balance . Stories (translated by Monika Wesemann). Rowohlt , Reinbek near Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-499-22973-0 .
  • 2006: Den stille pige (German: The silent girl. Hanser, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-446-20824-7 ). The main character Kaspar Krone is in dialogue with the feminine . Here, too, he takes up the theme of love again.
  • 2010: Elefantpassernes børn. (German: The children of the elephant keepers. Hanser, Munich, 2010, ISBN 978-3-446-23552-6 ) is about the search for two children for their parents, which at the same time becomes a search for a door, “which leads to freedom opens “, to search for the moments of happiness or those of horror. Mysticism and different religions as well as criminal behavior intervene in the action.
  • In 2015, Effekten af ​​Susan (German: The Susan Effect , translated by Peter Urban-Halle, Hanser, Munich, 2015, ISBN 978-3-446-24904-2 ) is published. A plot to eradicate democracy in Denmark is under way against the backdrop of climate change. The protagonists have unusual communication and physical skills.


  • The novel Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow was produced as a radio play by SWF / NDR in 1995 .


  • Dag Heede: Biogram of Peter Høeg and the entries Forestilling om det tyvende århundrede , Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne and De måske egnede in: Kindlers Literatur Lexikon , 3rd, completely revised edition 2009.
  • Peter Høeg in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely accessible)

Web links

Commons : Peter Høeg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The biography of the author Peter Høeg
  2. ^ Munzinger: Peter Høeg, Danish writer
  3. Peter Hoeg
  4. Peter Høeg The Lost One returns
  5. Portrait: Høeg og hakkelse
  6. Do you have a feeling for God, Mr. Høeg? - Interview FAZ
  7. Forest Illing om Hvorfor vi læser slægtsromaner
  8. ^ Presentation of the twentieth century
  9. Presentation of the twentieth century It is about the dreams and ideas of the Danes in the course of the 20th century. The writing phase lasted six years.
  10. ^ Franz Resch (psychiatrist) ao: Developmental psychopathology of childhood and adolescence . Beltz Psychologie Verlags Union, 2nd edition 1999, p. 186.
  11. Alexandra Tischel: Monkeys like us. What the literature says about our closest relatives. JB Metzler, Stuttgart 2018, ISBN 978-3-476-04598-0 , pp. 25-38.
  12. Hö