Gymnastics between protestantism and libertinism from 1880 to 1940: A comparative analysis of two internationally renowned Danish gymnastics educators

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt


The purpose of this article is to analyze and compare two internationally renowned Danish Gymnastics teachers, Jørgen Peter Muller and Niels Bukh. Whereas Muller’s home gymnastics had a cosmopolitan agenda that appealed to everyone regardless of ethnic origin, including many Jews, Bukh’s gymnastics increasingly became embedded in a right-wing nationalist frame of reference. Muller created an individual system of home gymnastics with a focus on health by means of exercises and the cleansing of the body that included a cold shower. In contrast, Bukh’s system was a collective form of gymnastics that emphasised the beauty of the young body. Common to both of them, however, was propagation of sexual liberation, which in Muller’s case focused on the naked heterosexual body’s manifestations in the sunlight and the fresh air. By contrast, Bukh was homosexual and through his aesthetic gaze he encouraged well-trained and sweaty young men to show their muscular upper body in touch-tight choreographies wearing only boxer shorts. It is the main thesis of the article that the contribution of sport to sexual liberation from late Victorianism’s firm grip is far greater than hitherto assumed.
TidsskriftNordic Journal of Educational History
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)85-111
Antal sider27
StatusUdgivet - 2017

Bibliografisk note

CURIS 2017 NEXS 349

Antal downloads er baseret på statistik fra Google Scholar og

Ingen data tilgængelig

ID: 186711034