Skrivende kvinder Jane Austen og Thomasine Gyllembourg


Literary Women

Exhibition 12th April – 15th August 2019

We cordially invite you to dance, for tea, to a ball and the drafting of letters during Bakkerhuset’s grand summer exhibition.
The aim of the exhibition Literary Women is to shed light on the life of the English author Jane Austen and her Danish counterpart, the author Thomasine Gyllembourg. Jane Austen and Thomasine Gyllembourg were both born in the 1770’s and experienced how, in both countries, the circumstances for female writers constituted challenges and possibilities. Both authors used the novel to explore the themes of love, identity, marriage and the difference in opportunity that gender accorded.
This changed the ideals for their literary heroines of the first half of the nineteenth century, where the old style of arranged marriage made way for the modern love based marriage.
Austen and Gyllembourg departed from the traditional woman’s role by moving in to the field of writing. Jane Austen was the daughter of a rector in the Church of England and part of a large family, which always encouraged her in her writing. She remained unmarried all her life. Thomasine Gyllembourg divorced her first husband Peter Andreas Heiberg which was unheard at the time. This was one of the most famous divorces in Danish literature and the letters between the two reveal the extent to which the perception of love was transforming around the year 1800. Gyllembourg made her literary debut late in her life and published the majority of her works under a nom de plume.
Many are familiar with Jane Austen’s universe not least because of the many films and television adaptations whereas the works of Thomasine Gyllembourg remain, for the majority, unknown.

As a literary museum, we would like to go deeper into the two novelists’ literary universes, to take a step behind the culture of fandom and the cinematic representation of Jane Austen’s novels. We aim to do this by looking at the characters, the cultural norms and the social space inhabited by women in the novels.

At the exhibition, we will present two spaces, where women typically moved, namely the tea party and the ball.

We would like to express our gratitude to The Museum of Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Theatre, The Theatre Museum at The Court Theatre and the six private collectors who have kindly lent items to the exhibition. The exhibition is supported by the Augustinus Foundation.