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Isak Dinesen: The Life and Imagination of a Seducer

Pelensky, Olga Anastasia

2 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0821409689 / ISBN 13: 9780821409688
Published by Ohio University Press, Athens, 1991
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Sanctuary Books, A.B.A.A. (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Cloth-backed paper over boards; full-color illustrated dust jacket; 8vo; pp. 218, plus b/w photo-illustrations printed on glossy stock. Warmy inscribed by the author to Janet Juris, a reference librarian for the New York Public Library, a free-lance bibliographic researcher, and the program director for the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Isak Dinesen was one of her main collecting interests. Some very light rubbing along bottom edges of boards, otherwise book is fine, in near fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # ID11215

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Isak Dinesen: The Life and Imagination of a ...

Publisher: Ohio University Press, Athens

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title


Born into a Victorian Danish family, Karen Christentze Dinesen married her second cousin, a high-spirited and philandering baron, and moved to Kenya where she ran a coffee plantation, painted, and wrote. She later returned to Denmark, lived through the German occupation during World War II, and became a pivotal figure in Heretica, a major literary movement that flourished in Denmark after the war. By the time of her death, Dinesen was an international figure. Truman Capote would later call Out of Africa one of the most beautiful books of the century.

Despite the popularity of her writing, little is known about her life. For this provocative biography, Pelensky has uncovered hundreds of papers in libraries and private collections, and discovered new interview sources in Africa, Denmark, and England to help put the pieces of Dinesen?s life together. Her father?s outspoken sympathy for the plight of the American Indians, his suicide and the effects of his personal anguish as a failed adventurer are illuminated as major forces on Dinesen?s imagination. The Danish history of romance and masquerade and the tradition of pantomime in Denmark are also explored as themes that recur in Dinesen?s work.

From Publishers Weekly:

Best known for her autobiographical Out of Africa , Dinesen's odd life is the stuff of fiction. Her Danish father, a failed adventurer, braved the Nebraska frontier in the 1870s and evinced great sympathy for the plight of the Indians, an attitude which may have tilted his daughter to the tribes she met in East Africa, where she bought a farm. Shaken by her father's suicide, the dreamy, poetic youth who worshiped Bryon resolved to reinvent herself. This marvelous, compellingly frank biography lifts a veil of dissimulation off an elusive woman. After marrying her younger cousin, a high-spirited baron (having recently been in love with his twin brother), Dinesen was soon diagnosed with syphilis, infected by her philandering husband. According to Pelensky, who teaches English at Boston University, this emotionally devastating disease forced her into a Faustian "pact with the nether powers" that enabled her to write, or so Dinesen claimed. Fleeing from feelings of nonbeing, the megalomaniacal, at times suicidal baroness turned to writing for solace and self-definition. Pelensky draws on a wealth of previously untapped material to give novelistic immediacy to her account of Dinesen (1885-1962) as tortured soul and as creative artist, "seducer" of the imagination who was herself seduced by her preconceptions of "natural" Africans. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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