- Category : Writers-Fiction
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 1
Danish writer Karen Blixen who wrote her poetic fiction and autobiography under the name Isak Dinesen and established herself as one of Denmark's leading literary figures.
One of five kids, she was born into a strict maternal bourgeois family that idolized the aristocratic class. Her father, Wilhelm Blixen, was an adventurer who spent his youth as a trapper in the U.S. Her father killed himself in 1895 when Karen was ten, leaving the young girl feeling alone among her conventional surroundings. She was an intellectual, fun-loving child who felt stifled by the strict upbringing of her mother. Blixen fell in love with her Swedish second cousin and when he didn't return her love, she became betrothed to his twin brother Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke. Soon after her marriage at the age of 28 in 1913, Blixen moved to what was then British East Africa.
With her family's financial backing they purchased a 6,000 acre coffee-farm. Her marriage faltered under her husband's philandering, which left her with syphilis, his incompetence in business and irresponsibility. She fell in love with Denys Finch Hatton, a dashing English army pilot and second son of the Earl of Winchelsea. Despite their love, Hatton refused to commit to their relationship and after eight years of marriage her husband wanted a divorce.
During her 17 years as mistress of a Kenya coffee-farm, Blixen went on adventurous hunting expeditions and spent many times alone. After the farm failed and Hatton was killed in an airplane crash, Blixen left Africa in 1931 and returned to her home, Rungsted overlooking the Oresund Coast. Encouraged by Hatton as a storyteller, Blixen began to write. "Seven Gothic Tales" was her first book published in English, 1933. It was a critical and commercial success in the U.S. but not in her home country.
Her most famous work, "Out of Africa," published in 1937, was her autobiographical account of life in Kenya. It was such a captivating tale that it was later made into the movie "Out of Africa" that won an Oscar for best picture in 1986. She continued to write and give lecture tours in the U.S., Europe and Denmark. Artists were drawn to her highly cultivated and intelligent personality. She spoke lovingly about her life in Kenya and the natives she encountered. Her views on women remained strong, that they were better than men and should be kept on pedestals. She felt that people should live in a free way and that women should experience sexual fulfillment. Her aristocratic status never faltered in her eyes and she always referred to herself as "baroness." Some of her critics considered her a social snob and elitist. Despite her interest in Social Darwinism and eugenics, Blixen continued to be admired and read around the world.
Blixen suffered long bouts of ill health in Kenya and back home in Denmark. Having had 1/3 of her stomach removed due to ulcers, she was very thin but loved to travel despite her frailty. Blixen died 9/07/1962 of poor nutrition at Rungstedlund, the house where she was born near Copenhagen, Denmark. In May 1991, the Karen Blixen Museum at Rungstedlund opened with a display of an extensive exhibition on her life in Denmark and Africa with a collection of her papers and early manuscripts. At her request, the grounds of Rungstedlund have been turned into a bird sanctuary.