Leonora Christina (1621-98)

   Daughter of Christian IV (1588-1648) and Kirstine Munk. Leonora’s parents were not married in Church and she was not recognized as a princess. Instead she was given the title of countess of Schleswig Holstein (now a part of Germany). Her times; the establishment of an absolute monarchy in Denmark where a progressive notion of the economy was coupled with the strict regulation of intellectual and spiritual life.


1636—marries Corfitz Ulfeldt, a favorite of the king—known as the signer of a peace treaty with Holland, as a traitor, and now, mainly as leonora’s husband.

Christian dies in 1648, is succeeded by leonora’s uncle Frederik III and his Queen Sophie Amalie who is jealous of L and U ‘s power and influence.

1651: there is a probe of Ulfeldt’s conduct—he is found to have taken money off the top of some govt’t contracts. He and Leonora flee to Stockholm and he is declared an enemy of the state. He becomes an open traitor when he supports the Swedes when they attack the Danes. The Swedish King Karl X Gustav, however begins to suspect Ulfeldt and sentences him to death. 1657: Swedish victory—treaty of Roskilde—Danes lose skane, blekinge and halland.Ulfeldt and Leonora flee to Copenhagen where they are arrested and sent to the island of Bornholm, Hammerhus castle is their jail for 1 and 1/2 years. They are released but Ulfeldt continues his intrique, he is forced to flee the country, and Leonora is arrested while on a trip to England. She is imprisoned in Copenhagen castle from Aug. 8 1663-May 19, 1685.

Leonora’s Christine’s authorship:

10 Chronicles of her experience set in the light of political events:

1)      Kong Karl X Gustav’s Bryllup (1654)

2)      Rejsen til Kørsør (1656)

3)      Confrontationen I Malmö (1659) trial

4)      French autobiography (1673)

5)      Jamersminde: ist third Aug. 8-Aug.31—imprisonment and doubt to religious experience,2nd part—realist depictions, 3) experience with a series of women.

6)      Postumous work: Hæltindes Pryd (not published until 1977 Herione’s adornment) : series of sketches of both mythological and historical heroines. She writes here : “The soul is no regarder of sex and remains unchanged by outward aspect and form.”



Jammersmind: autobiography as resistance and the construction of the Lutheran subject in a personal relationship to God. The text opens up with an address to her children: There she compares her self to Job and argues that while it might be better to forget one’s sorrows and burdens, she desires to remember them, to write them down as a testament to how these sorrows, while an earthly burden, are as light as a grain of sand when viewed from the optic of the eternal. She goes on to state that her sorrows were the vehicle through which her relationship to God and her understanding of his mercy developed. It is here that we can see that the Birgitine notion of revelation and witness, the woman as the vehicle of divine law, is replaced by the woman who experiences a direct relationship with the eternal. The notion of subjectivity has changed from Birgitta’s role as a conduit to Leonora’s conviction that the subject has a personal responsibility within a nexus of relationships. This is further evident when we look at the end of Jammersminde and see thet Christine expresses her gratitude towards those who have shown her kindness and mentions that the 11 people who treated her badly died a painful death. It was part and parcel of her Lutheran perspective that God settles his score with individuals even in life.

The text itself, when seen in its totality, offers us an example of autobhiography as resistance and the construction of subjectivity as the assumption of personal responsibility for suffering. There is also a strong proto-feminist component as when LC was imprisoned she was offered the possibility of amnesty—all she had to do was to state that because of her womanly weakness—she was seduced by Ulfeldt into treason—she was even read his death sentence—her reaction was to take personal responsibility and she wrote: That day God enacted a great miracle and gave me a sign, in that he gave me the strength to master my weak mind and wild tongue, and preserved my restraint. God is therefore honored thousandfold.”

She calls herself” “Christikorsdragerske” (88)

Also an pg. 88 she states, “ God was the one who came in himself and approached me at the gate of tears, he was the one who reached out his hand and fought for me inside of the sinner’s prison that is called the dark church (mørke Kirke).