Isak Dinesen Additional Biography


ph_0111204718-Dinesen.jpg Isak Dinesen Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Baroness Karen Christenze Blixen-Finecke, who later used such pen names as Isak Dinesen (DEE-nuh-suhn), Karen Blixen, Pierre Andrezel, and Tania B., was born in a house by the sea in Rungsted, Denmark, on April 17, 1885. The house in which she was born had once been occupied by Johannes Ewald, the man usually considered to be Denmark’s finest poet. When she was only ten years old, her father hanged himself, a tragic event that marked the rest of her life and profoundly affected the tone of her stories.

Dinesen had no formal schooling as a child but did attend a private school in France during her teen years. In 1903, she entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen to study painting, but for the next seven years she also devoted herself to writing—and to a painful relationship with Hans Blixen-Finecke. In 1910, she left Denmark, intending to study art in Paris, but she abruptly returned home and continued her writing. Profoundly depressed by the various setbacks and apparent lack of direction in her life, she took a brief vacation trip to Rome. On returning, she became engaged to Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, the twin brother of her former lover. In 1914. she followed Bror to Kenya, and they were married in the capital city of Nairobi.

The marriage with Bror Blixen was rocky at best. From him she contracted syphilis, which rendered her sterile and contributed to the progressive deterioration of her health over the rest of her life. Bror Blixen was a famous sportsman and notorious womanizer who mismanaged the coffee plantation he had bought with money provided by Dinesen’s family. They divorced in 1921, and she took control of the plantation, which became known as the Karen Coffee...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Isak Dinesen was one of those rare writers who was able to combine the real and imagined spheres of existence. Her talent depended on a kind of verbal alchemy that allowed her to change words and deeds into timeless, enchanting creations. Events in her life were translated into symbolic experiences that became the basis for her tales and memoirs. Few human beings are endowed with that kind of power. After Out of Africa was released as a film in 1985, another 650,000 copies of the book were sold during the next two years. Her work still attracts readers and will continue to do so as long as people believe in a world of infinite possibilities.


The Danish writer Isak Dinesen was born Christentze Dinesen on April 17, 1885, in Rungsted, Denmark. Throughout her life, she was also known...

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Isak Dinesen was born Karen Christentze Dinesen at the estate of Rungstedlund, near Rungsted, fifteen miles north of Copenhagen, Denmark, on...

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Karen Blixen (also known as Isak Dinesen) was born Karen Christentze Dinesen on April 17, 1885, near Copenhagen, Denmark. Her father was...

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Isak Dinesen Published by Gale Cengage

On April 17, 1885, Dinesen was born Christence Dinesen in Rungsted, Denmark. Her love of painting prompted her to study art at the Royal...

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Like Oswald Spengler, Thomas Mann, Sigrid Undset, and Hermann Hesse, Isak Dinesen (1885-1962), whose real name was Karen Blixen, was born in...

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