Biography of Martin Andersen Nexø (1869-1954)

Danish storyteller, born in Christianshavn (Copenhagen) in 1869 and died in Dresden (Germany) in 1954. His early inclination toward the world of literary creation was clearly determined by reading the works of some great Russian storytellers who, like Fyodor Dostoevsky and Maxim Gorky, influenced decisively in its original production. Like them, Martin Andersen Nexø was strongly interested in the social problems of his time, to become one of the most representative of the Danish working class literary voices.

Within this thematic line, his masterpiece is the extensive narrative titled Pelle Eroberen (Pelle the Conqueror, 1906-1910), a novel published in four volumes collecting the vital vicissitudes of the humble son of a worker, from its origins in the layers more casualties of the proletariat until its last social rise. Regarded as one of the leading works of Danish narrative from the first half of the 20th century, Pelle Eroberen resulted, many years after its publication, to a successful film adaptation of the Swedish director Bille August, who was awarded with the Golden Palm for best film at the Cannes Festival in 1987, and the Hollywood Oscar the following year.

The figure of the proletarian woman was also the literary interest of Martin Andersen Nexø, who became star of another extensive novel, published in three volumes under the title of Ditte Menneskebarn (Ditte, human creature, 1917-1919).

JRF