The Aristocratic Universe of Karen Blixen

Destiny and the Denial of Fate

By Frantz Leander Hansen

Karen Blixen's works are explored in the light of a passionate insistence on living out this double nature of the divine and the demonic. The "aristocratic" is examined as her depiction of a conduct of life that is faithful to destiny: The aristocratic viewpoint is in tune with eternity and places no obstructive morality between self and life. Vitality has its source in direct access to the ocean of inexhaustible opportunities with which life presents us. The "world" in her novel Out of Africa, for example, plays a key role as the consummate illustration of an aristocratic culture. The aesthetic guidelines for literary form (as well as art) as advocated by Karen Blixen are discussed, and her view of art is similarly defined and explained as "aristocratic". Her private correspondence is drawn upon to shed new light on her life and work. The Aristocratic Universe of Karen Blixen explores the confrontation between the different cultures and environments which are seen to limit and censure natural behavior while at the same time imposing upon humankind unnecessary notions of sin and guilt. Analysis of her stories (especially Babette's Feast) and of her world view show how Karen Blixen maps out hostility to destiny - this being a violation of Creation, which is viewed as both divine and demonic. Photographs and color pictures of Blixen's art work are also included.


165 pages

Publication Date: 7/1/2003
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781903900338

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