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Blixen, Karen

(Danish, 1885–1962)

Born into an upper-class family, Blixen's imagination was fired by the adventures of her father, a respected colonel, writer, and politician. Her famous autobiography, Out of Africa (1937), describes the years she spent in Kenya working as a coffee farmer. Blixen made her literary debut, however, with the publication of Seven Gothic Tales (1934), written under her pen-name Isak Dinesen. Using myth, the classics, and fantasy, Blixen explores a strange world inhabited by aristocrats, artists, romantics, and melancholics. One story, ‘The Dreamers’, follows the adventures of Lincoln Forsner, a wealthy Englishman, and a ‘dreamer’ who never takes charge of his own destiny, but lets the world glide by him. In this allegory of modern society, Blixen returns again and again to the damaging effects of civilization on individual instinct. A romanticist, Blixen believed that the artist is directly in touch with God and has, therefore, a unique vision: ‘The Young Man with the Carnation’ in Winter's Tales (1942) encapsulates this belief.

D. H. Lawrence  EW

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (A-Bo)