The Faroese literature has only been fixed in writing during the last few centuries. The oldest poems are medieval ballads (poems), sung to the Faroese chain dance, the quad dance, which is still alive today (see further Music). The linguistic and folk memory researcher Jens Christian Svabo answered in the 1780’s for the first written collection.
From the middle of the 19th century, the Faroese people were first recorded by VU Hammmershaimb, who with this and other efforts became the creator of the indigenous prose, later also by Jakob Jakobsen. The earliest printed prose works in Faroese are translations of the Gospel of Matthew (1823) and the Icelandic Faroese saga (1832).
A lyrical song and song poetry with patriotic elements emerged in the 1870’s among Faroese students in Copenhagen with Friðrikur Petersen as the leading name. His poem “I Secure the Way” (“I Islands Know”) was long used as a national anthem. The current national song, “Tu alfagra lands mit”, was written in 1906 by Simon of Skarði. Rasmus C. Effersøe also wrote plays with motifs from folk life and history. The boisterous noises in Jóannes Patursson’s poetry gave impetus to the language movement in the Faroe Islands.
A bit into the 20th century, the lyric got a breakthrough with Jens Hendrik Oliver Djurhuus and his profound thought-poetry, nurtured by classical European poetry. More popular was the brother Hans Andrias Djurhuus. popular poems and stories for children. Mikkjal Dánjalsson á Ryggi, with his fresh poetry about nature and popular working life, has been compared to the Norwegian seventeenth-century poet Petter Dass. Among lyricists born towards and around the turn of the century, Rikard Long, Poul F. Joensen and the linguist and literary researcher, Christian Matras, was noticed. A little later poets like Karsten Hoydal and Regin Dahl appeared. From the 1980’s can be mentioned Rói Patursson, who for his poetry collection “Líkasum” (1985; “Som”) received the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 1986, and postmodernists Carl Jóhan Jensen and Tóroddur Poulsen.
The Faroese prose has during the 20th century gained a productive and distinguished representative in Hans Jacob Jacobsen, better known by the pseudonym Heðin Brú, with among others. musty depictions of Faroese folk life in the transition between old tradition and new age. In the second half of the century, Jens Pauli Heinesen’s novel and novel art is the most important. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, a number of new novelists appeared with Oddvør Johansen, Gunnar Hoydal and KO Viderø at the forefront. Others, like a number of leading Icelandic prose writers in the 20th century, have written in Danish to directly reach a larger Nordic reading circle. Much talked about in his day became the early deceased Jørgen-Frantz Jacobsen’s posthumously published historical novel “Barbara” (1939). By far the biggest name is William Heinesen who, besides lyric, has written a long series of colorful novels with motifs from his home country. For “The Good Hope” he received as the first Faroese writer the Nordic Council Literature Prize 1965.
Faroese art history is limited to the last three generations. The first real artist was Samal Joensen Mikines. He, who received his education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, began his artistic career in the 1930’s with gloomy depictions of grief and missing and death camps. Over the next two decades, his paintings brightened in landscape and countryside depictions but also took on strong coloristic expressions in, for example, depictions of the bloody slaughter of gates. Mikines became a unifying figure for Faroese art. It was also from his natural motif world that many of the later painters were based.
Until about 1980, the painting has been predominantly naturalistic. The dramatic island world with the wild and often life-threatening sea outside, the fierce climate change and the question of survival, has been the natural background for art expressions.
The first significant sculptor was Janus Kamban from Tórshavn with depictions of people in daily work. A special color gift was owned by Ruth Smith of Vágur, who was also a sensitive artist and graphic artist. A prominent place also in the visual arts occupies the great storyteller William Heinesen, who in addition to his poetic art created paintings in oil and watercolors and above all collage. His many illustrated works gained wide importance for the book art in the Faroe Islands.
Many Faroese artists have received their education at the Kunstakademiet in Copenhagen with, among other things, painter Søren Hjorth Nielsen as a teacher. In the 1950’s, the British-born painter Jack Kampmann, who came to the Faroe Islands as a soldier during the Second World War, had an important role as mediator of European art trends. Ingálvur by Reyni carried the Faroese art from expressionism to non-figurative. Another prominent name is the sculptor Hans Pauli Olsen, who in the 1970’s approached the pure form after initially concentrating on representations of human figures. The third generation of artists include Barður Jákupsson, Zakarias Heinesen and Tróndur Patursson, who mix abstraction and nature interpretation.
The Faroe Islands’ own music tradition is exclusively vocal. The most prominent form of expression is the so-called quad dance, a kind of chain dance to far-fetched singing by a singer, who also usually leads the dance, and the other dancers, who unison fall into the choruses. The quad (quasi) is an epic poem, which is most closely matched by the Scandinavian medieval ballads, mainly the so-called fighting poems. The oldest quads have medieval roots, but over the centuries new quads have been added with, among other things. historical motifs. The melodies are formulaic and sung at a strongly marked tempo to the two steps of the dance to the left and one to the right. The quad tradition has been kept alive on the various islands until our time and since the 1950’s has also been cultivated in associations and societies.
Other local music traditions include seafood, cradle and children’s songs, which both textually and melodically belong in the common Nordic song tradition, and spiritual songs. Among the latter are Danish-language hymns and songs, mainly so-called Kingotons, which have had their own melodic design in the Faroe Islands, similar to the ornate folk coral variants in other Nordic countries and on the Scottish islands. In the Faroe Islands, however, the improvisational element is more evident in that the penalties are often designed differently.
The folk culture in the Faroe Islands is associated with life in the farmer’s farm, and this also includes the open boat, which stands for the finest in traditional crafts. The original farms had been developed into small villages or villages with dense settlements. The old dwelling house was made of wood with exterior walls partly of stone and with roofs of turf. In the kitchen, the fireplace was open and combined with the stove in the cabin. A number of houses with special tasks belonged to the countryside.
Open-boat fishing was developed into deep-sea fishing as early as the 19th century, which led to social changes in the growing population. Age-old working methods remained in agriculture, characterized by scarcity of soil and pasture. Owning land property resulted in a share in the land divided by inheritance in small pigs, the right to grazing outside it and a share in bird catching, etc. Gräsvallen gave hay to the cows. The care of the exit sheep is still regulated in accordance with the age-old custom. Sheep were extremely important, and knitted woolen garments a great commodity. The dried meat is now party food. Peat extract in the 1960’s had significance for the household and so is still the gate pick catch. The traditional men’s costume gained national significance as early as the turn of the century, and then the women’s costume was added. Faroese costume is worn mainly at holidays, like Olavvakan in Tórshavn July 29 and at a wedding, when you also dance the chain dance to the old-fashioned farewell. The Faroese folk songs were largely recorded by Hammershaimb and Jørgen Bloch (1839–1910) in the mid-1800’s and was published in 1941–72 as “Corpus Carminum Færoensium” (1–6). Jakob Jakobsen (1864–1918) published an important, commented collection, 1898–1901, “Færøske Folkesagn og Äventyr” (4th edition 1972–75). JC Svabo’s work “Reports from a Journey in the Faroe Islands 1781 and 1782” (published 1959) contains observations on language, way of life and traditions.
Research is done at the university and at the museum in Tórshavn, where collections are also available.