Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (17 April 1885 – 7 September 1962), née Karen Christenze Dinesen, was a Danish author also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen. She also wrote under the pen names Tania Blixen, Osceola and Pierre Andrézel. Blixen wrote works in Danish, French and English.
Blixen is best known for Out of Africa, her account of living in Kenya, and one of her stories, Babette’s Feast, both of which have been adapted into highly acclaimed, Academy Award-winning motion pictures. Prior to the release of the first film, she was noted for her Seven Gothic Tales, for which she is also known in Denmark.
Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, described it as “a mistake” that Blixen was not awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature during the 1930s. Although never awarded the prize, she finished in third place behind Graham Greene in 1961, the year Ivo Andri? was awarded the prize.
- I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. ~Out of Africa, 1937
- To be lonely is a state of mind, something completely other than physical solitude; when modern authors rant about the soul’s intolerable loneliness, it is only proof of their own intolerable emptiness. ~Out of Africa, 1937
- I know the cure for everything: Salt water…in one form or another: Sweat, tears or the sea. ~“The Deluge at Norderney,” Seven Gothic Tales, 1934
- When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.” ~Out of Africa, 1937
- He belonged to the olden days, and I have never met another German who has given me so strong an impression of what Imperial Germany was and stood for.” ~About General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, German commander during the East Africa Campaign.
- Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost!” ~Babette’s Feast, 1953