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Dinesen, Isak

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of Danish author Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke (1885-1962), who also wrote as Karen Blixen, and as by Osceola and Pierre Andrézel; as Osceola she began to publish fiction as early as 1905, releasing much of this early work under a running head, Sandsynlige Historier ["Likely Stories"] between 1907 and 1909; some of this early work has been assembled in Efterladte Fortaellinger (coll 1975; cut, trans P M Mitchell and W D Paden of Danish-language stories, as Carnival: Entertainments and Posthumous Tales 1977). Her later fiction, dating from the late 1920s until her death, was written solely in English. She wrote no sf as such, but her literate and savvy tales both honour the Gothic fiction of the previous hundred years or so, and deepen its perceived relevance to contemporary European concerns, cultural and literary. Several films have been made of her work, none listed here. She was strongly influenced by the work of E T A Hoffmann, and sharp traces of his transgressive take on the "surface" world show throughout her fiction, where an ornate style teasingly conceals a steely vision. Her own influence has been widely perceptible in works of Fantastika over the past half century or so, especially perhaps where an author like Angela Carter apples a revisionist take to traditional material. It would seriously thin the concept of influence to suggest that she had more than a fleeting stylistic impact on authors of Steampunk, but the hieratic intricacies of her imagined rooms, castles, domains and cities suggest some links between her work and the Dying Earth tale. [JC]

Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke

born Rungsted, Denmark: 17 April 1885

died Rungsted, Denmark: 7 September 1962


  • Seven Gothic Tales (New York: Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, 1934) [coll: hb/F J Buttera]
    • Seven Gothic Tales (London: Putnam, 1934) [coll: with resorted contents: hb/Rex Whistler]
  • Vinter-Eventyr (Copenhagen, Denmark: Gyldendalske Boghandel / Nordisk Forlag, 1942) [coll: hb/]
    • Winter's Tales (New York: Random House, 1942) [coll: trans of the above: hb/George Salter]
  • Gengaeldelsens Veje (Copenhagen, Denmark: Gyldendalske Boghandel Nordisk Forlag, 1944) as by Pierre Andrézel [trans into Danish by Clara Svendsen: pb/]
    • The Angelic Avengers (London: Putnam and Company, 1946) as by Pierre Andrézel [English original of the above: hb/Michael Wickham]
  • Last Tales (London: Putnam, 1957) [coll: hb/Owen Wood]
  • Anecdotes of Destiny (New York: Random House, 1958) [coll: hb/uncredited]
  • Ehrengard (New York: Random House, 1963) [novella: first appeared December 1962 Ladies' Home Journal as "The Secret of Rosenbad": hb/Jeanyee Wong]
  • Efterladte Fortaellinger (Copenhagen, Denmark: Gyldendal, 1975) [coll: hb/]


  • Out of Africa (London: Putnam, 1934) as Karen Blixen [nonfiction: hb/uncredited]
  • Shadows on the Grass (London: Michael Joseph, 1960) [nonfiction: hb/Charles Gorham]

about the author


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