A story about this — 5 years ago
She’s fascinating: a magical horrific tragic beautiful person.
I don’t often read biographies, but i had read some of Isak Dinesen’s stories and felt they addressed dilemmas and problems of a totally different cultural reality. And, in fact, they might, as her childhood might be considered a romantic rebellion against her bourgeois maternal family with in preference to her father’s aristocratic line, yet smack in the middle of the early Bohemian lifestyle of fin de siecle Denmark. Her stories are seeded then, and then she goes through another lifetime between 1913 and 1931: her life in Africa. When she returns to Europe, lover and farm torn from her, syphilitic, she creates something else out of herself.
A few notes from reading:
A mention of “Orm og tyr” by Martin Alfred Hansen in the book made me want to read it — “a history of Scandinavian religious literature and the relationship between pagan and Christian cultures” — but it seems to be only available in Danish.
Another marked page was about a challenge to write for the American magazine market. An English friend of hers, Geoffrey Gorer, advised her “Write about food. Americans are obsessed with food.” Thus, “Babette’s Feast”
Finally, through a struggle she learned, as she related to Marianne Moore, “When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, without faith and without hope . . . suddenly the work will find itself.”