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Johannes Linderoth

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Johannes Linderoth
John Bunyan by Thomas Sadler 1684.jpg
Portrait of Linderoth by Henrik Lundgren (c. 1658)
Jan Peter Odenberg

4 May 1615
Died23 August 1681 (aged 66)
EducationUniversity of Blåstad
  • Playwright
  • poet
  • novelist
Years activec. 1651 - 1674
  • Ulf Odenberg (father)
  • Marie Dieudonné (mother)

Jan Peter Odenberg (4 May 1615 – 23 August 1681), better known under his pen name Johannes Linderoth, was a Geatish playwright, poet, novelist, translator and Catholic apologist broadly considered to be the greatest writer of the Geatish language. Throughout his life, Linderoth published 18 tragedies, tragicomedies and histories, as well as 43 sermons, five narrative poems, and two novels. A pioneer of the realist literary tradition, his most famous works include the tragic plays Lord Tarchon and Épiphanie, the tragicomedies A Parishioner's Dillema and Tales of Satria, as well as the history play Gorm I. Outside of his work as a playwright, he is best known for his novel The Fire and the God, allegorizing the fall of Adam. Linderoth's plays are some of the most performed in the world, and his works have been translated into every major language.

Linderoth was born to a prosperous Geatish merchant father and a Gaullican petty aristocrat mother in Tidlin, Lågland. Age 18, he attended the University of Blåstad to become a physician, though he shifted his study to literature and poetry. Disaffected by his university education, Linderoth chose to briefly apprentice as a printmaker and scrivener in Blåstad before travelling to Gaullica, where he would stay for three years between 1640 to 1643. While in Gaullica, he would write the manuscript of his first play, Pitter-Patter. Upon his return to Geatland, Linderoth embarked on a successful career as an author, translator and poet, often patronizing royal courts and noble families. Though he wrote all of his plays, he never stage managed them and hired various companies to perform his works. He completed most of his major works by 1674, though he continued to write sermons and poems until his death.

A devout Solarian Catholic, Linderoth faced persecution in protestant Geatland, forcing him to conceal his religious beliefs. Later in his life, Linderoth became a prominent Catholic apologist and religious tolerance advocate. Linderoth's views were deemed heretical by Geatish authorities, and he was imprisoned between 1676 and 1677. Fear of facing further reprisals prompted Linderoth to flee to Gaullica, where he would publish translations of his works. He died alone in Gaullica in 1681.

Although modestly successful, Linderoth was not widely-known in his own lifetime. His association with Solarian Catholicism tarnished his reputation in Geatland, maligning him. Following his death, many of his works were banned on the Geatish Islands, though they circulated in Continental Euclea. He remained relatively poorly regarded until the mid-18th century, when he experienced a revival after his works were compiled and anthologized as The Complete Works of Johannes Linderoth. Since his revival, Linderoth has become critically acclaimed, hailed as Geatland's greatest writer and one of Euclea's preeminent dramatists. As one of the world's most quoted authors, many of his expressions and neologisms still survive today.


Early life

Tidlin Church, where Linderoth was baptized. Although they were Solarian Catholics, Linderoth's family attended a protestant church in order to not arouse suspicion from other members of the community.

Johannes Linderoth was born Jan Peter Odenberg on 4 May 1615 on his father's summer estate in the town of Tidlin, in Lågland province, Geatland. Linderoth's father, Ulf Odenberg, was a successful and wealthy merchant of aristocratic background, though he was not of direct lineage. Linderoth's mother, Marie Dieudonné, was likewise of a minor Verloian aristocratic family whom Ulf Odenberg encountered during a trip to Gaullica. Ulf Odenberg eloped with Marie Dieudonné, whose her first husband perished to smallpox, and returned to Geatland, where they had Linderoth's younger brothers Karl and Gustauvus in 1611 and 1614 respectively, as well as twin daughters Astrid and Angela in 1616. Dieudonné would later die giving birth to a stillborn child in 1619 or 1620.

Study and travels

Career as author

Persecution and imprisonment

Final years and death







Recurring themes, motifs and images

Philosophy and religion

Sotirian Catholicism

Religious toleration

Political thought



Personal life



Critical reception

17th century

18th century

19th century