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Isak Dinesen: The Life and Imagination of a Seducer *SIGNED*

Pelensky, Olga Anastasia

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ISBN 10: 0821410083 / ISBN 13: 9780821410080
Published by Ohio University Press, Athens OH, 1991
Condition: Fine Soft cover
From Bryn Mawr Bookstore (Cambridge, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

218pp. Glossy wrappers with 16 vintage black and white photos and illustrations; title lettering at top center front cover in green with some white thin line shadowing, above subtitle in white lettering; author name lettering in black across lower front cover; with front cover white black and red pastel portrait detail of "Isak Dinesen as Pierrot", copied from photo of same included in text. Signed and warmly inscribed to previous owner on top title page: "For - - -. . . Olga Pelensky". Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 004959

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Bibliographic Details

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

Publisher: Ohio University Press, Athens OH

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition:Fine

Signed: Signed and Inscribed By Author to Previous Owner

Edition: First Paperback Printing.

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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