Americans in Denmark: Comparisons of the Two Cultures by Writers, Artists, and Teachers

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F. Richard Thomas
Southern Illinois University Press, 1990 - Social Science - 156 pages
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A rare look at American immigrants to Denmark that reveals how, for some, the cultural differences between the United States and Denmark can generate creativity.

Thomas constructed an 11-point questionnaire designed to find out why American writers, artists, and teachers have chosen to live in Denmark. Of pivotal interest is whether these emigrants from America are happier and doing better, more creative work in Denmark than they were doing at home.

The immigrants who tell their stories here are the intellectually curious who have swapped one culture for another, who have dared enter a social and cultural limbo in which they can never be Danes, nor ever truly American again. As Niels Ingwersen, Managing Editor of Scandinavian Studies, notes, "The book is about a small group of people, but their reactions, thoughts, and emotions—not least their experience of existential ambiguity—is one that most expatriates know well."

These essays, Ingwersen explains, "bring out, often eloquently, often poignantly, why the authors left America and why they probably will not return to their native country even though they are quite critical of Denmark and admit that there is much in America that they will miss." In general, these people are not America bashers; some even object to the term expatriate as connoting a lack of patriotism.

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About the author (1990)

F. Richard Thomas is Professor of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University.

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