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Sørensen, Villy

Entry updated 31 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

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(1929-2001) Danish translator, literary critic, editor and author whose occasional sf stories are incorporated into collections whose overriding thrust is mythopoeic, with a faux-naif simplicity that seems directly sourced in the works of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). Some of the tales assembled in Sære historier (coll 1953; trans Maureen Neiiendam as Strange Stories 1956; vt Tiger in the Kitchen and Other Strange Stories 1957) are sophisticatedly modernist takes on twentieth century writers like Franz Kafka, about whom he wrote extensively, and on the more metaphysical aspects of the detective story, as in "Mordsagen" (here trans as "The Murder Case"), a tale beset, as is much of his work, by Doppelgangers. Formynderfortællinger (coll 1964; trans Paula Hostrup-Jessen as Tutelary Tales 1988) includes an sf novella, "A Tale of the Future", set in an indeterminate Near Future. The focus of the tale is less on the estrangement permitted by its future setting than on the possibility in this venue of a liberating (if patricidal) act on the part of the protagonist, who through a self-aware Oedipal murder replaces his father, and begins to rule the new world.

Sørensen's only novel translated into English, Ragnarok: En gudefortælling (1982; trans Paula Hostrup-Jessen as The Downfall of the Gods 1989), retells the Edda narrative of the End of the World in terms simultaneously contemporary and chthonic. [JC]

Villy Sørensen

born Frederiksberg, Denmark: 13 January 1929

died Copenhagen, Denmark: 16 December 2001

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