Jensen, Johannes Vilhelm


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Jensen, Johannes Vilhelm

(yōhän`əs vĭl`hĕlm yĕn`sən), 1873–1950, Danish writer. As a young man he studied medicine; his interest in biology and anthropology is obvious throughout his works. Jensen created a distinctive literary form in his "myths," brief prose tales with an element of the essay. Selections have been translated as The Waving Rye (1958, tr. 1958). His works, numbering more than 60 volumes, include essays, travel books, and lyrical poems. His epic novel cycle The Long Journey (6 vol., 1908–22; tr., 3 vol., 1923–24), a fantasy based on Darwinian theory, traces the story of humans from primitive times to the age of Columbus. Jensen was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Bibliography

See biography by S. Rossel (1984).

Jensen, Johannes Vilhelm

 

Born Jan. 20, 1873, in Farsø, Jutland; died Nov. 25, 1950, in Copenhagen. Danish writer.

Jensen studied medicine and worked as a journalist. His first novels were The Danes (1896) and Einar Elkjaer (1898). In his collections of stories Himmerland Tales (1898–1910), Jensen describes the natural beauty of northern Jutland and the everyday life of its people. His historical novel The Fall of the King (parts 1–3, 1900–01) portrays the struggle of the Danish peasantry against the feudal lords in the Middle Ages. He propounded a theory of the rebirth of the “Gothic race” in such works as his collection of essays Gothic Renaissance (1901). Jensen’s predilection for racial and biological theories is shown in his novel cycle The Long Journey (parts 1–6, 1908–22; Nobel Prize, 1944). In the novels Madame d’Ora (1904) and The Wheel (1905), he realistically depicted life in capitalist America. Jensen also published the collections Poems (1906), Myths (1907–44), Seasons (1923), and Jutland Wind (1931). Realism and modernistic tendencies are combined in his art.

WORKS

Samlede skrifter, vols. 1–8. Copenhagen, 1916.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–9. Moscow, 1911–12.

REFERENCES

Gelsted, O. Johannes Vilhelm Jensen. Copenhagen, 1938.
Elbek, J. J. V. Jensen. [Copenhagen, 1966.]
Nedergaard, L. J. V. Jensen. Copenhagen, 1968.

A. A. KITLOV