Other Literary Forms
Kaj Munk was a prolific dramatist, and he was no less active as an essayist, poet, and preacher. Many of his sermons have been published, as well as much of his poetry and his essays, which dealt with a wide variety of topics, especially with the Danish theater and politics.
A Danish writer once stated that if one were to ask throughout Denmark which two people had meant the most to the country under the German Occupation, the answer would no doubt be the king and Kaj Munk. If one were to ask which single person’s death had made the greatest impression, the answer would surely be Kaj Munk’s.
That Munk became such an important influence in Denmark during the twenty years that he served as village priest in Vedersø, and particularly during the nearly four years that he lived under the Occupation, was the result not only of his literary abilities but also, to an even greater extent, of his strength of character, his extraordinary ability to rally the people of his country to resist the oppressor and to stand up for what was right. That Munk was a small-town preacher provided him with a pulpit from which to expound his ideas to his people, but his audience quickly became much broader. Even before World War II, he was well known throughout Scandinavia for his ability as a writer of drama. Many of his plays were presented in Norway and Sweden as well as in Denmark. Later he became well known in Germany, England, and elsewhere. Munk is remembered today at least as much for his political stance—as a rallying point for those opposed to the Occupation—as for his literary achievements. Of the latter, his drama is of great importance.
Harcourt, Melville. Portraits of Destiny. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1966. In one of the essays in this volume, Harcourt examines the life and works of Munk, the Danish writer and activist.