Antinous: Saint or Criminal?

Two Forgotten Danish Dramas

  • Dag Heede
Keywords: Antinous, gay drama, Danish gay literature, heteronarrativity


This essay explores how the ancient story of Roman Emperor Hadrian’s protégé Antinous and his mysterious death in 130 CE was rediscovered by late 19th century homosexual artists and how the narrative was used to address the theme of male homosexuality. Although the figure of Antinous is now almost forgotten, he played a large role in the era of early modern homosexuality as both role model and semisecret code. My focus is on two completely forgotten Danish dramas from 1898 and 1909 that in very different ways utilize the story of Antinous to address the problem of homosexuality. This essay thus seeks to deliver a small contribution to the larger project of constructing a history of early Danish gay literature and drama.  



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How to Cite
Heede, D. (2018). Antinous: Saint or Criminal? Two Forgotten Danish Dramas. Lambda Nordica, 22(4), 17-39. Retrieved from