(1929-2001) Danish writer and critic, much of whose short fiction – assembled as Saere Historier (coll 1953; trans Maureen Neiiendam as Strange Stories 1956 UK; vt Tiger in the Kitchen, and Other Strange Stories 1957 US), Ufarlige Historier (coll 1955; trans Paula Hostrup-Jessen as Harmless Tales 1991 US) and Formynderfortaellinger (coll 1964; trans Hostrup-Jessen as Tutelary Tales 1988 US) – tends to use Thresholds into the Uncanny to represent the costs and abysses that attend modern humanity's incapacity to marry instinct and reason. The tales frequently invoke the power of Story – after the model of writers like E T A Hoffmann and Hans Christian Andersen – to knit the world back together, problematically. VS's style has a childlike clarity, but much of his work has a disturbing affect. "A Tale of Glass", for instance – from the third collection – depicts with seeming simplicity the consequences of an optician's invention of a glass which transforms the Perception of those who peer through it so that the world looks good; the consequences are savage. Ragnarok: En gudefortaelling (1982; trans Hostrup-Jessen as The Downfall of the Gods 1989 US) unpacks the Matter of Ragnarok in a manner which removes from the tragedy all hints of ultimate redemption, irritating some scholars.
Of VS's prolific critical work, Digtere of Daemoner ["Writers and Demons"] (coll 1959) contains an essay on Andersen, and Kafkas digtning ["The Works of Kafka"] (1968) is an important study. [JC]