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Biography of Johannes Wilhelm Jensen (1873-1950)


Poet and Narrator Danish, born in Farsø (Himmerland, Jutland) on January 20, 1873 and died in Copenhagen in 1950. He was older brother of the also author Thit Jensen. Author of a brilliant narrative and poetic production using formal and thematic myth models to reconstruct the history of his homeland, is regarded as one of the leading figures of the first half of the 20th century Danish literature. In 1944 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, "for vigor and fertility of his literary imagination, which has managed to combine a long range with a creative, bold and innovative style intellectual curiosity".

Tilted the scientific knowledge, in his youth, attended college of medicine at the University of Copenhagen, but soon was known for the cultivation of the passion that would make sense of his life: the literary creation. Thus, at the end of the 19th century, he broke into the Danish cultural landscape with a series of new stories that, as you would expect in a novel author, were indebted of the precious and decadent aesthetics of the time. These first narrative serial the young Johannes Wilhelm Jensen, include the novels entitled Danes (1896) and Ejnar Elkjær (1898), as well as the collection of short stories focusing on the life of his native province, published under the title of Hinmerlandsfolk (the people of Hinmerland, 1898).

The good reception given to these youth of the Danish author works encouraged him to publish, already in the first bars of the new century, other novels and short stories inspired by trips made to North America, land which had impressed him deeply - thus, v. gr., in his book titled Madame d'Ora, 1904-, and to the far East, which had also left a deep mark on the vision of the world which until then could have a young Nordic as It - embodied in Den lange Rjese (the long journey, 1907-09). At the same time, he hinted his early concerns about the historical and legendary past of his nation in Kongens Fald (the fall of the King, 1899-1902), work which offered a new myth of the reign and the miserable end of the monarch Cristián II.

Its evolution towards the aesthetic and ideological tenets of realism - and, consequently, their inclusion among the writers of the so-called "group Jutlandes" - was demonstrated in stories of the Cimbria (1898-1910) and, above all, at Det tabte Land (lost ground, 1909), first delivery of a lengthy cycle of extensive narratives that, fully insert in the genre of the historical novel, were conceived by Jensen as an attempt to romanticize the history of mankind and the evolution of the human being Since I was in the caves until became the world discoverer and architect of the things that surround him. Included under the general heading of "The long voyage" (1909-1922), novels that make up this fertile cycle cover, to the dessert, from the large glacial periods until the historical epic of Christopher Columbus. Their success among critics and readers of Northern Europe led to an immediate version in the English language, published between 1922 and 1924 under the title of "The Long Journey".

From 1907 to 1944, Johannes Wilhelm Jensen was also writing a series of texts, recogidos collected then in nine volumes that make up his work myths, they were an evocation of the historical and legendary past of his land through the elapsed time since it received its first settlers to the present day. But these writings of the author of Jutland are not myths themselves, but rather independent - although very parts related to each other - a genre of his own invention that, under that label, allowed him to express his particular views about life and art.

The rest of his prosistica production is completed with other titles as relevant as aesthetics and evolution (1923), evolution and morality (1925), the transformation of the animals (1927) and stages of the development of the mind (1928), in which highlights the interest of Jensen - remember, now, his first training steps by the field of science - the theory of the evolution of species propagated by the English naturalist Charles Darwin. In addition, printed left some works of maturity as the temptations of the doctor Renault (1935) and Gudrun (1936).

In his capacity as poet, Johannes Wilhelm Jensen achieved remarkable fame at the beginning of the 20th century thanks to the publication of his lyrical compositions which were hitherto scattered, compiled under the generic title of poems (1906). The influence of the great Patriarch of American poetry of the 19th century Walt Whitmanbecomes apparent in this volume.

J. R. Fernández Cano.


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