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1. Seven Gothic Tales
2. Winter's Tales
3. Out of Africa and Shadows on the
4. Out of Africa (Modern Library)
5. Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller
6. Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard
7. The Illustrated Out of Africa
8. Longing For Darkness: Kamante's
9. Isak Dinesen's Africa : Images
10. The Witch and the Goddess in the
11. Carnival: Entertainments and Posthumous
12. Out of Africa (Penguin Modern
13. Shadows on the Grass
14. Isak Dinesen
15. Last Tales
16. Letters from Africa, 1914-1931
17. Isak Dinesen's Aesthetics (Kennikat
18. Out of Isak Dinesen in Africa:
19. Understanding Isak Dinesen (Understanding
20. The Necklace/The Pearls

1. Seven Gothic Tales
by Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 448 Pages (1991-12-03)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679736417
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Originally published in 1934, Seven Gothic Tales, the first book by "one of the finest and most singular artists of our time" (The Atlantic), is a modern classic. Here are seven exquisite tales combining the keen psychological insight characteristic of the modern short story with the haunting mystery of the nineteenth-century Gothic tale, in the tradition of writers such as Goethe, Hoffmann, and Poe.

"These tales are a modern refinement of German romanticism. ...They are peopled, or haunted, by ghosts of a past age, voluptuaries dreaming of the singers and ballerinas of the operas of Mozart and Gluck, young men who are too melancholy to enjoy love or too perverse to profit by it, maidens dedicated to chastity and others hopeful of a gentlemanly seduction; their generally fantastic adventures are exquisitely played."

-- The New York Times

"[Seven Gothic Tales is] in that special realm in which artistry is more real than reality" -- Time ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
My review will be of little use to you, as I cannot tell you why I disliked the book so much, except that I had to force myself to read two-thirds of it, and had to stop because it was boring. There were a few clever bits in these tales, but it was not enough for me. I think I understood most or all of it, but it was just not interesting enough. Of course I did not expect it to be a page turner like a Tom Wolfe novel, I understand some books are trickier to read but are worth the trouble. This was not such a book, the good bits were not enough to carry the whole book.I really enjoyed "Out of Africa", and enjoyed "Babette's Feast" and thought I would like seven Gothic Tales, alas I did not.

I think this book is one that you will other like or dislike, in the same way people like or dislike Shakespeare.

5-0 out of 5 stars Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen
Book condtion was as indicated by the seller, plus I received it shortly after ordering and am very satisfied with my purchase.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poetic and Unforgettable Labyrinths
I sometimes try to decide which is my favourite Isak Dinesen book and always after a lengthy quandary settle on "Seven Gothic Tales". These long stories, constructed with the most unassuming virtuosity, leave behind the same feeling of mingled enchantment, wisdom and sadness as reading Shakespeare or her countryman Hans Christian Andersen.

The author was Karen Blixen, a coffee-planter in Kenya who wrote the wonderful "Out of Africa", (which has little in common with the movie.) But as Isak Dinesen, she moved through an imaginary but meticulously evoked late-18th century Europe, where the paradoxes of love and fate, innocence and disillusion, order and dream, are played out gracefully and remorselessly.

Where did she get her stories from? I feel as if I never had to read them, as if I have always known them. Artificial and stylised yet almost unbearably true, they linger like music and burn like ice.
I envy anyone who has yet to read them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scheherazade-orama
dinesen/blixen was a true, living Scheherazade. this is an astounding collection of stories within stories within stories within stories. beautifully, elegantly written and set in various european locales, starring wonderfully alive characters straight out of fairytales, dreams and myth. these are strange, magical narratives (novellas, to be a stickler) with a modern sensibility. brimming with metaphors that will make you pause. kind of a cross between e.t.a. hoffman and a.s. byatt. definitely going to read more of her stuff.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Like an Echo in the Engulfing Darkness"

These are strangely compelling stories, all of which evoke a sense of mystery and poetry.Floods and monkeys, skulls and puppet shows, vie with each other and figure here in short works that are too realistic for fables but too bizarre to be mistaken for reality.

Gothic surrealism might be the best way to describe the tone achieved by the author, whose real name was Karen Blixen (made familiar to modern audiences by the film "Out of Africa").This is a reissue of a volume that first appeared in 1934.

Borrowing the author's phrase, each story is "like an echo in the engulfing darkness."Atmospheric and brooding, these tales are part Poe and part Brothers Grimm.Exotic in characterization as well as setting, we are introduced to a polyglot collection of virgin nuns and wandering n'er do wells, who cling to rooftops and journey on rhino-horn laden dhows.

Escape from the ordinary world is promised and delivered, but somehow, the people in these stories also remind us of people we know and situations that might not be as straightforward as we have assumed.A scarf may not be a scarf.The wind may be more than the wind.A scarf blown in the wind recalls to one character the memory of a little white snake -- madness is hinted at, at every turn.

They are seven distinctive tales.Yet, the evocation of place, the depiction of eccentricity, the precariousness of life, suffuse them all.They are magnetic and memorable.Even so, some readers may find the tales a bit too weird for their tastes.

If you find this review helpful you might want to read some of my other reviews, including those on subjects ranging from biography to architecture, as well as religion and fiction. ... Read more

2. Winter's Tales
by Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 313 Pages (1993-06-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679743340
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In Isak Dinesen's universe, the magical enchantment of the fairy tale and the moral resonance of myth coexist with an unflinching grasp of the most obscure human strengths and weaknesses. A despairing author abandons his wife, but in the course of a long night's wandering, he learns love's true value and returns to her, only to find her a different woman than the one he left. A landowner, seeking to prove a principle, inadvertently exposes the ferocity of mother love. A wealthy young traveler melts the hauteur of a lovely woman by masquerading as her aged and loyal servant.

Shimmering and haunting, Dinesen's Winter's Tales transport us, through their author's deft guidance of our desire to imagine, to the mysterious place where all stories are born.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank You
This product was good, i think it took a little long to recieve it. but it was good.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure storytelling.
These tales don't start with "once upon a time," but they ought to. These beautiful stories-within-stories are dazzling at times, disorienting at others--how deeply in can we go before the enframing story is lost? But the plots are intricately interwoven, the threads all tie into one another, and all makes sense as we move in and out of these complicated tapestry tales. And thanks to the previous reviewers who are providing overviews of her other fiction; I appreciate it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of her very best books
This is a terrifc book by a unique writer.

That's no surprise, because Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) wrote a number of fine books. Her ledger contains a couple of volumes of reminiscence about her life in Africa, a pseudonymous novel of adventure (_The Angelic Avengers_), and posthumously published books of stories (_Carnival_) and essays (_Daguerrotypes_). Despite the interest and occasional excellence of these books -- especially in the case of _Out of Africa_ -- it's as a writer of long stories that she exhibited her greatest artistry and achievement.

She published 4 collections of short stories in her lifetime: _Seven Gothic Tales_, _Winter's Tales_, _Anecdotes of Destiny_, and _Last Tales_. She also published a slim novel (really a novella), _Ehrengard_. As a devoted reader, I've enjoyed every one of these books.Still, it does her no disservice to point out that some are better than others.

Her first book, _Seven Gothic Tales_ is usually the book of stories that people remember first -- deservedly, because any book that contains "The Deluge at Norderney," "The Monkey," and "The Poet" gets high marks.The other stories in the book aren't exactly chopped liver, either.

However, I will submit that _Winter's Tales_ deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the earlier book. I approached _Winter's Tales_ the first time expecting to be disappointed after the bravura performance of _Seven Gothic Tales_. I was surprised in the most pleasant manner imaginable. Indeed, in some ways, _Winter's Tales_ surpasses the earlier book as a work of art. The level of writing is uniformly high; the style is still ornate and surprising, but better controlled. And there are still the touches of melodrama and the gothic that give much of her work a strange feeling of having emerged from the 19th Century, while at the same time being very modern.

Although I found the whole of _Winter's Tales_ to my taste, some of the stories stand out. Two stories that I particularly liked were "Alkmene" and "The Fish"; but what puts this book over the top is that it contains "Sorrow Acre," arguably the best example of Blixen's fiction.In fact, one could argue that "Sorrow Acre" is one of the finest stories written in the 20th century by *anyone*. An historical and philosophical novella that reconstructs a day in 19th century Denmark, it plays out personal tragedy and comedy on an aristocratic estate with a subtle irony worthy of Theodor Storm or (dare I say) Thomas Mann. By itself, it was worth the price of admission. I've read it many times since. The thematic connections between this story and the earlier "The Deluge at Norderney" are patent.

Her two later collections, _Anecdotes of Destiny_ and _Last Tales_ have their moments. In particular, several stories from _Anecdotes..._ have grown on me over the years, such as "Babette's Feast" and "Tempests." Still, to my mind, she hit her high water mark in _Seven Gothic Tales_ and _Winter's Tales_.

5-0 out of 5 stars Winter's Tales is refined prose and wisdom of a lost age.
Isak Diensen's book of ornate, Baroque prose is on an unreachable echelon separate from any writer writing literature today or even from her era. Her stories transport readers to a period where thinking and intelligence wereelegant and refined, smooth and intermixed with tints of religiosity.Stories such as "The Invincible Slave-Owner" and "TheSailor-Boy's Tale" show Diensen's strong knowledge of Danish folkloreand Baroque description. Mind you, this is not easy reading! The messagesare simple, but yet they are dense, and it is very easy to overlook thesesimple truths as a result of that flamboyance and extravagant complexityfor which she has become internationally recognized. Her themes are likethose of any writer: strength, courage during adversity, love, etc... Butit is how these themes are conveyed that make these tales remarkable. IsakDiensen a.k.a. Baroness Karen Blixen's childhood was not one of the best,and these tales seem to indicate that. They transport the reader, take himor her away to places that seem unreachable, but her life does not mitigatethe beautiful intelligence and language that she is able to convey. Diensenwas twice nominated for the Noble Prize in Literature, losing to ErnestHemmingway and Albert Camus. For more on her life and stories, read JudithThurman's Life of a Storyteller: The Biography of Isak Diensen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Her "other" great book of short stories
Karen Blixen wrote a number of fine books, but only 4 could be called short story collections. Her first book, _Seven Gothic Tales_ is usually the book of stories that people remember first-- deservedly, because anybook that contains "The Deluge at Norderney," "TheMonkey," and "The Poet" gets high marks. The other storiesin the book aren't exactly chopped liver, either.

However, I will submitthat _Winter's Tales_ deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as _SevenGothic Tales_. Indeed, in some ways, it surpasses the earlier book as awork of art. The level of writing is uniformly high; the style is stillornate and surprising, but better controlled. There is some excellent workhere, such as the story "Alkmene." But what puts this book overthe top is that it contains "Sorrow Acre," probably the best ofBlixen's fiction. In fact, one could argue that "Sorrow Acre" ison of the finest stories written in the 20th century by *anyone*. It's amarvel of subtle irony. By itself, it was worth the price ofadmission.

Her two later collections, _Anecdotes of Destiny_ and _LastTales_ have their moments, but to my mind, she hit her high water mark in_Seven Gothic Tales_ and _Winter's Tales_. ... Read more

3. Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass
by Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 480 Pages (1989-10-23)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679724753
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
With classic simplicity and a painter's feeling for atmosphere and detail, Isak Dinesen tells of the years she spent from 1914 to 1931 managing a coffee plantation in Kenya.Amazon.com Review
Out of Africa is Karin Blixen's love letter to the country she called home for nearly 20 years. Arriving in British East Africa (now Kenya) from Denmark in 1914, Blixen--Isak Dinesen was her pen name--was immediately seduced by the landscape of the Ngong hill country, not to mention the animals and people who inhabited it. Her descriptions bring this wonderland alive for readers: out on safari, she recalls the movements of a group of giraffes, "in their queer, inimitable, vegetative gracefulness, as if it were not a herd of animals but a family of rare, long-stemmed, speckled gigantic flowers slowly advancing." Blixen laces into her reverie the account of her coffee plantation--which ultimately succumbed to high altitude, droughts, and tumbling international coffee prices--and tales of her friendships with other colonials in Nairobi. But one should read her memoir for the stories she tells of cooking with her Kikuyu chef (who almost never ate any of the European delicacies he so expertly created), adopting an abandoned infant antelope, flying over the countryside in her lover's plane--"the greatest, most transporting pleasure of my life on the farm"--and watching the children of her tenant farmers collect at her house each day at noon for the spectacle of her cuckoo clock.

Though some of her references to native Africans will likely make today's readers uncomfortable, Blixen can also be perceptive, particularly in her articulation of the differences between European and African culture and her excitement over what she learns from "her" Africans. It is not long before she is attuned to the rhythms of nature: she can foresee when the rains will come, can spot the new moon before anyone else on the farm, and knows exactly what the silence of night should sound like. Though her sorrow is almost unbearably palpable when at last--after the collapse of the farm, the loss of her lover, and the war looming--Blixen leaves Africa, the reader will close the book richer for her sojourn. --Jordana Moskowitz ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars isak dinesen
I have been wanting to read her for a long time,It was worth the wait!Joe

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning read
First of all this book has little to do with the movie Out of Africa.
I picked up this book after watching the movie and was surprised not to find the familiar story of Karen and Denys but I discovered what a wonderful story teller Karen Blixen really was.
The book is a set of short stories, autobiographical memoirs that primarily is a description of Africa and the country of Kenya in particular.
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It contains such beautiful, insightful and poetic descriptions of landscapes, the native inhabitants, their traditions.. These stories will transport the reader to a different place and time, to Kenya just as the author experienced it. Very satisfying read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time in Africa
"I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills."

This simple sentence, so ripe with the promise of countless tales, begins Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (the pen name of Baroness Karen Blixen) whose memoir of running a coffee plantation in Africa between 1914 and 1931 has captured the imagination of countless readers.I had never read the book, but I had seen the movie with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.I liked the movie, but I had always thought the book would be better.

It is.The movie often seemed vague and rambling at times and occasionally lost my attention. The book also rambles, butin a most delightful way.In Out of Africa we have a heartfelt recounting of the wildlife, the weather,the customs, and the many people who shaped Africa in the 1920's and 30's.

To our modern perspective, Dinesen's thoughts and feelings about the native Africans may seem paternalistic and patronizing. In fact, her actions were often viewed by her contemporaries as being overly sympathetic to the native people.She includes many vignettes of Africans, particularly of theKikuyutribe. In each story she seems to capture the depth and the intelligence as well as the poignancy and heartbreak of the native peoples as they made thedifficult adjustment to living among the empire-building European settlers. Particularly disturbing is Dinesen's account of the flogging death of one young African, whose murderer, his white employer, received an outrageously short prison sentence.Such stories are painful to read but important to remember.

On the other hand, Dinesen, like most of her contemporaries seems to have had no problem at all with the idea of shooting Africa's wildlife.Her accounts of safaris are filled with pride as she recounts the many trophies of the hunt.Yet, because she also possesses a poetic soul, she does occasionally lower her rifle, caught up in admiration of beautiful African animals she could not bear to kill.

Dinesen's story is never pedestrian.Not only does she experience many thrilling adventures and make numerous deep and enduring friendships, she is also stirred to a kind of ecstasy in her love of the land and its unique beauty.Many of the passages in the book seem to be breathing poetry on the page.You can feel the deep longing she feels for the land when she finally is forced to leave due to the eventual failure of her farm.

You know that her heart belongs in Africa. When reading Out of Africa,becomingdeeply immersed in the haunting mystery of the place, any reader is sure to feel the ancient pull of Africa as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another title you will love
I loved this book, and if you did too you will love West With the Night by Beryl Markham.If you can get your hands on the illustrated version, even better as it has fantastic photos of Africa from the 1920's.Karen tries admirably to describe Africa - Beryl knocks it out of the park.Absolutely enchanting prose, exciting adventures by air, wonderful atmosphere.Buy it today and be swept away.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Her Hands Education...Was A Great Noble Conspiracy...Pupils Were By Privilege Admitted
What is Pride ? Is it `Pride' to Review a Classic ?

I've always loved the movie version of `Out of Africa' with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Whether it was the character development, or the wild life, or the Mozart throughout the film score, the symbiosis of all of the above consistently moves me & holds my attention. Then there were the excerpted portions of the book I was introduced to in Literature class. Somewhere among the multitude of reviews of this book are plenty of words to describe how I `feel' about the prose and the somewhat dis-similar treatment by the movie.

But who can compete with the authors own words ?

"The discovery of the dark races was to me a magnificent enlargement of all my world."

From the view to promote the perspective of a tribal native, in this country or any other, I'd like to point out that Baroness Karen Blixen/ a.k.a. Isaac Denison has recorded some highly unique perspectives about the Kenya tribal peoples and their respective roles in the predator vs prey aspects of human slavery.

How the Mohammedans played the role of predators in concert with Arab slave traders to capture and sell Africans to the European slave ship masters is treated with pragmatism. The proud people of the Masai game reserve were sometimes assisting the Mohammedans, but if captured and sold themselves were unlikely to survive in captivity. The 'prey' class of social strata, named Kikiyu, who were beneath the 'marriage' qualifications that would suit the upwards-mobility of the Mohammedan women were yet accounted acceptable breeding stock as wives of the Masai, noble and proud.

These variations are irregular to the politically correct assumptions of our society, yet as real as they may be in middle eastern cultures, they were described in pre-World War I central Africa.What the American descendants of Mohammedan Africans might be 'sensitive' to or 'offended' by in our culture were matters of 'pride' to the Kenyans of the post Colonial era leading up to World War II. Some readers might enjoy discovering what praise Baroness Blixen had to report about her Mohammedan servant Farah, or the Holy man from India who visited her farm, or the virtues of the Mohammedan women in obtaining a husband.

Our culture is perfectly content to adopt a presidential canidate for the sake of lauding his skin color, without appreciating any of the virtues of the Kenyan ancestors who brought him to American territory. But this is one author who has uniquely appraised the strengths of the Kenyan people she knew, from living with them and learning to respect and love them. Consider a bit she writes about 'pride',

"...Very proud things were about, and made their presence felt...Pride is faith in the idea that God had, when he made us. A proud man is conscious of the idea, and aspires to realize it. He does not strive towards a happiness, or comfort, which may be irrelevant to God's idea of him. His success is the idea of God, successfully carried through, and he is in love with his destiny...the fulfillment of his fate."

"People who have no pride are not aware of any idea of God in the making of them, and sometimes they make you doubt that there has ever been much of an idea, or else it has been lost, and who shall find it again ? They have got to accept as success what others warrant to be so, and to take their happiness, and even their own selves, at the quotation of the day.They tremble with reason, before their fate."

[she distils a faith like to, but not to be confused as 'Christian' faith, thus]

"Love the pride of God beyond all things, and the pride of your neighbour as your own. The pride of lions: do not shut them up in Zoos. The pride of your dogs: let them not grow fat. Love the pride of your fellow-partisans, and allow them no self-pity."

"Love the pride of the conquered nations, and leave them to honour their father and their mother."

`Out of Africa' is filled with beautiful descriptive prose. But someone also learned from Africa and her people, and was good enough to leave us a chronicle.
... Read more

4. Out of Africa (Modern Library)
by Isak Dinesen
Hardcover: 416 Pages (1992-09-05)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679600213
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors--lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes--and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.

The Random House colophon made its debut in February 1927 on the cover of a little pamphlet called "Announcement Number One." Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, the company's founders, had acquired the Modern Library from publishers Boni and Liveright two years earlier. One day, their friend the illustrator Rockwell Kent stopped by their office. Cerf later recalled, "Rockwell was sitting at my desk facing Donald, and we were talking about doing a few books on the side, when suddenly I got an inspiration and said, 'I've got the name for our publishing house. We just said we were go-ing to publish a few books on the side at random. Let's call it Random House.' Donald liked the idea, and Rockwell Kent said, 'That's a great name. I'll draw your trademark.' So, sitting at my desk, he took a piece of paper and in five minutes drew Random House, which has been our colophon ever since." Throughout the years, the mission of Random House has remained consistent: to publish books of the highest quality, at random. We are proud to continue this tradition today.

This edition is set from the first Americanedition of 1937 and commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of Random House. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (54)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great...but could be better
The sum, in this instance, is not greater than its parts.
"Out of Africa" is essentially one woman's personal account of years spent living in Africa, surviving and struggling to maintain a farm and the number of people dependent on it.Isak Dinesen, also known as Karen Blixen, is a talented writer and does a wonderful job conveying both the objective reality and the subjective effects of each scene she describes.She writes about her own personal struggles maintaining her farm, describes the natives she encounters and, with much respect and obvious admiration, records some of their rituals and habits.In many ways, the work is a love letter to Africa because even in times of hardship and doubt, Dinesen's respect and awe for the land and its people is never in doubt.
Unfortunately, each of the individual stories- and that is really what this book consists of, a collection of stories- does not really add up to a whole that transcends its parts.Because Dinesen's reverence for the land is obvious from page one, the reader is not privvy to any growth or spiritual journey that she undergoes.There are hints of romance, tales of overcoming obstacles, and the closing stories do find her packing up and moving back to Holland, but she, as an individual, does not really change.
This is an excellent book and not only highlights Dinesen's strength as a writer and the ease with which she manipulates the language, but pays great homage to the land and the people of Africa.It could have been more, however, and ultimately leaves the reader a little unsatisfied.

5-0 out of 5 stars Out of Africa
"Out of Africa" is the beautiful memoir of Isak Dineson. I went into the reading of it with high expectations-because I had watched the movie. "Out of Africa" the movie contains high drama, a mystical score, and a passionate love story that streaks the cheeks in tears.

The book doesn't follow a dramatic through line, as the movie did; rather, it is a delicate sweep over the whole of Isak's decade and a half in Kenya.

Dineson doesn't touch particularly close upon any subject. Rather, she hops from topic to topic, discussing the Somali women, the Swahili numeral system, an earthquake, deaths, drought, tragic friendships, birds, myriad visitors from Europe and the Masai Reserve, the Kyama (an assembly of elders of a farm in her day, which was authorized by the government to settle local differences among squatters), a visit by the Prince of Wales (he is given far less coverage than the visit and later death of her friend Chief Kinanjui of the Kikuyu people), Nairobi, coffee-farming, the geographical position of her farm, safaris, giraffes, majestic lions, her medical practice on the farm, Kamante (her Kikuyu cook), and Ngomas (native dances.)

Isak Dineson was a poet, and every paragraph of her memoir is a song. You could open to any page in Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" and hear a melody. So too you hear music in Dineson, on any page and upon any subject. Her phrasing is so spiritual and fragile it seems to weep from the pages, and yet in that weeping is very deep love and very deep respect-so deep that she cannot separate one memory from any other. It's for this reason the through line isn't there. There is no start, finish or climax to her memories. It's one continuous thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond My Expectations
I decided to read this book for two reasons.First, I liked the film from the 80s that was based on the book.Second, I have visited Africa several times (six and counting).I anticipated that the style of writing would be old fashioned but that I would enjoy the subject matter (Africa) enough to make it enjoyable.

My expectations were far exceeded.The author "paints vivid and beautiful pictures" with her story telling.For example, some of the sad tales left me feeling personally sad.The book was very enjoyable.

For those interested in the history of the British Kenya Colony, I also recommend the books "Something of Value" and "Uhuru" by Robert Ruark, set at the time of the build up to, and then, independence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Writing!
When I ordered this book, I thought that I had previously read it and was simply replacing a lost volume.Apparently, I had confused Dinesen's work with that of Markham's "West With the Night", another excellent chronicle about the same time and place.As much as I loved Markham's book, this one is better!

The book not only offers sensitive portraits of a range of characters who played a role in the daily life of Blixen (Dinesen)when she lived on her famous farm (at the foot of the Ngong Hills), but it also reveals, thereby, the surprising depth of Blixen's empathy with the people around her.Blixen, a Danish baroness, gives us a truly remarkable rendition of West Africa in the era of early European colonialization, as the traditional lives of the Somalis, the Masai and the Kikuyu were just beginning to be impacted by "modern" civilization.Her language is beautiful.

This fond and poingnant look into the past gives one a new and expanded insight into the condition of Africa and its sons and daughters in today's world, as well as an appreciation for the complex personality of at least this one specimen of European aristocracy. The book is so VERY much better than the movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Out of Africa
It arrived promptly and was in excellent condition.The picture of the book didn't match the book cover I received, but that's no big deal :) ... Read more

5. Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller
by Judith Thurman
Paperback: 512 Pages (1995-10-15)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$6.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312135254
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
With exceptional grace, Judith Thurman 's classic work explores Dinesen's life--her privileged but unhappy childhood in Denmark, her marriage to Baron Blixen, their immigration to Africa on the eve of World War I, and her passionate affair with Denys Finch Hatton.Until the appearance of this book, the life and art of Isak Dinesen have been--as Dinesen herself wrote of two lovers in a tale--"a pair of locked caskets, each containing the key to the other."Judith Thurman has provided the master key to them both.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Isak Dinesen: Life of a Storyteller
While reading "Out of Africa," I found "Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller" in a used bookstore. I didn't buy it because it was a paperback (and I seldom, if ever, buy a paperback), but being fascinated with "Out of Africa" I wanted to learn more about Isak Dinesen and Thurman's book sparked my interest.

So, I wrote down the title and decided to do some online research. I found that Thurman's book was highly respected and it seemed every reputable source, including reader reviews, indicated it was the best biography written on Dinesen. That began a long search to find a reasonably priced hardcover with dustjacket in very good/new condition; no easy task. Eventually I found a copy and ordered it.

Meanwhile I checked out Thurman's book from Meyer Library on the Missouri State University campus. I was immediately impressed with Thurman's skill as a writer. Eventually, the book I ordered came in the mail, a pristine copy, which I shelved at home while continuing to read the University's copy. (Let me add, that I am so glad I purchased the book, now that I have finished reading it. It is a welcomed addition to my home library.)

I also checked out another volume, entitled "The Life and Destiny of Isak Dinesen," by Frans Lasson and Clara Svendsen. I would call this a picture book with text. I recommend that anyone who reads Thurman's book find this book as well, because the pictures are excellent and will add to your reading experience.

For the last month, I have been carrying Thurman's book everywhere I go, reading it in snatches. I meticulously read every word and every note given in the lower margin. About halfway through the book, I was so impressed that I looked up Thurman online to learn more about her. I believe she is a gifted writer. (I worked as an editor for nearly 5 years, and I am selective in what I read; I know a good book when I read one.)

After many hours of reading, I finished Thurman's book early this morning. I am impressed with the book on many levels, including how the book is sectioned, chaptered, etc. I believe the book is well researched and written. Thurman makes Dinesen real and lifelike. I believe readers come to know Dinesen and share in her life in a personal way. Thurman also gives summaries of Dinesen's shorter works.

If you are wanting to read a great biography on Isak Dinesen, read this one. I read it because it was reputed to be the best biography available, and after reading it, I have no reason to doubt it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Biography as Literature
Isak Dinesen, by Judith Thurman, is easily, although a biography, one of my favorite "stories", and one of the best books I've ever read. Thurman's style is such that her book comes across as more then just a biography, but a novel as well. Her writing is beautiful, and really does her subject, also a master story-teller, more then justice.

Most importantly though, she thoroughly examines Dinesen's life objectively, even the awkward, sometimes reprehensible parts. Despite her subject'sless than perfect character (whose perfect anyway?)she admires Dinesen's writing in a way that is not slavish but insightful and thorough.

At many points, Thurman includes Dinesen's writing to state a point about her character, and the letters to and from the people in Dinesen's life are quite revealing, something that is a crucial part to understanding this complicated woman. Thurman rarely if ever judges her subject (that has to be pretty difficult as a biographer) butgives her opinion on what Dinesen's thoughts might have been concerning a situation, or a person. She also sometimes gives insight into what Dinesen's psychological motivations may have been at times. Never does Thurman insist she has the last word on this, but it is interesting to see what she has to say about her character, considering she studied Dinesen extensively for years. Additionally she also met/interviewed many of Dinesens's friends and family, and so includes their account of events as well.

Last but certainly not least, as a woman and gender studies major in college, I thoroughly appreciate Thurman's feminist viewpoint, and she often makes insightful, women centered observations about Dinensen, her life, and her writing.

Overall, a wonderful, fully 5 star book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitive Isak Dinesen Bio
Before reading "Out of Africa" again, I realized I had no real knowledge of Karen Blixin/Isak Dinesen.Of course I found the best source of information about her in Thurman's detailed and engrossing biography.It's slow going for me since I'm often tempted to refer to Thurman's extensive bibliography.I cannot imagine a better companion work for the book or movie "Out of Africa."

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding.
"Out of Africa" was first published by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) in 1937. The movie came out in 1985; it is obvious Karen's series of essays was the inspiration for the movie, but it was Judith Thurman's authorized biography that came out in 1982 that provided the story line.

"Out of Africa" provides none of Karen's life leading up to her arrival at the farm. Thurman completes the story, beginning to end. After reading this book and seeing the movie, you will be forever haunted by the emotional and physical scars that Bror inflicted upon Karen, only briefly touched upon by the movie. The movie certainly proves the Russian proverb, "there is no such thing as happiness, only happy moments."

Thurman's biography will probably never be duplicated; it is extremely well-researched, and includes 25 pages of citations; 2 1/2 pages listing all of Isak's works; 3 1/2 pages of a selected biography; and, 19 pages of exhaustive index. The amount of information could easily overwhelm any reader, but Thurman has broken Isak's history into short, bite-size chapters, which keeps the story moving along.

This is a must-read for the serious student of Isak Dinesen, or of Nordic literature in the 20th century. For the more casual reader who enjoyed the movie, just reading the chapter about Isak's experiences in Africa is well worth the cost of the entire book, which, by the way, is now very inexpensive at discount bookstores if available.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Woman Behind "Out of Africa"
"Isak Dinesen" is a thorough book on the life of this very interesting, hard-to-understand writer. Judith Thurman took on quite a helfy task in writing about this author. Dinesen's life was not easy, specifically because she didn't choose to make it so. She seemed to be after one thing in life ....pleasure, in its many forms. Her choices in men only led to heartache...Bror Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton...both strong, independent men held her love but this adoration was never returned to her. When Karen Blixen(another name she uses) is happy she is soaring. When she is sad, she plummets to the depths of darkness. There seems to be no middle ground for Karen. The author of this tale shows you all sides of Karen Blixen and leaves you to your own conclusions. Interesting story of a real person who really lived life to the heights. ... Read more

6. Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard
by Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 288 Pages (1993-06-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.18
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679743332
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars The Immortal Story and Others
It's a fact that the best stories of all are those that nowadays are told mainly to children. No grown-up author would dare to invent a story like "The Snow Queen", "Thumbelina" or "Beauty and the Beast", and few would be able to.
If any writer comes close to the unforced magic of those stories no-one ever had to write, it must be Isak Dinesen. Sadly her output of fiction was small: this book, "Seven Gothic Tales", "Winter's Tales", "Last Tales", and her novel, the curious "Angelic Avengers", not quite a parody but not exactly serious, an entire book written in inverted commas.

Is there such a thing as Destiny? Do our intertwining lives somehow form a pattern like an inconceivably vast parquet-floor? Looking around I'm forced to say, No. But the creators of the "Arabian Nights" thought so, and Karen Blixen, at least when she turned into Isak Dinesen, clearly agreed with them, or tried to. Perhaps that's why she liked to dwell in the past, usually the late 18th or early 19th centuries, when it still seemed credible that a life might form an intricate shape, as if poured into a mould.

These stories are conceived and executed with a skill as dazzling as lightning and as quiet as summer grass. You feel she could amaze the reader far more if she chose, but that her profound courtesy prevents her. When she pauses for a moment to explain how her characters feel or why they react the way they do, she tells you things so piercingly correct that you feel almost shocked. At the bottom of these stories is a mystery that is not at all philosophical, a sadness that is not tragic, a poetry not made up of beautiful words, and a wisdom like that of a child who says things that she herself doesn't understand.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anecdotes of Destiny
This volume contains Babette's Feast which is the basis for the Oscar winning movie of the same name.A simple, beautifully told story of love and redention.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another set of fabulous stories from Isak Dinesen
The stories in this book are completely in line with all her other works. Absolutely amazing! I highly recommend it to both newcomers and people who have already taken an interest in this author. But beware! Once you start reading the fantastic stories from this lady, you will want more. ... Read more

7. The Illustrated Out of Africa
by Isak Dinesen
 Hardcover: 288 Pages (1989)

Isbn: 0712624058
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8. Longing For Darkness: Kamante's Tales from Out of Africa
by Peter Beard
Paperback: 264 Pages (1998-04-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$106.27
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811821056
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Isak Dinesen and the land and people she loved are nowhere so real and compelling as in LONGING FOR DARKNESS, written by Dinesen's majordomo, Kamante. Readers familiar with OUT OF AFRICA may recognize many of these enchanting stories--retold here from Kamante's perspective and enhanced with his drawings, letters, Dinesen's words and snapshots, and photographs by Peter Beard throughout. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Out of Africa
If you are a fan of "Out of Africa" you will enjoy this book by Karen's cook.His drawings and stories help fill in the time of the "farm in Africa".The photos collected by neighbor Peter Beard are also helpful.

Good reading !

5-0 out of 5 stars Longing for Darkness
For anyone who fell in love with Peter Beard's writing and stories, this book is an interesting follow-up.Probably best for big fans of African adventure stories.A must for travel journal writers, due to it's handwritten text and drawings.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice pictures but ultimately boring
I love the subject and the presentation of this book, but the text, which is written in Kamante's naive and simple English, lacks substance. There is no point to his quaint observations and this kind of narrative can only appeal to the real Dinesen and Out of Africa fanatics who have to collect her every account. It's the kind of book you read once, think it looks great on the coffee table, perhaps try to give it to your young niece, was unsuccessful, and ultimately lob off at a garage sale.I returned it promptly.

5-0 out of 5 stars The book as dream and fondest memory
I had a hardback copy of a previous edition which somehow slipped through my grasp and for which I have been searching vainly for twenty years. The combination of cultural perspectives effortlessly and simulataneouslypresented in a correspondent range of visual and graphical styles, tellingstories of quiet appreciation and respect enchanted me like no other book,and I am grateful at least for finding a paperback edition and a thread tokeep my hopes alive.

5-0 out of 5 stars For all Karen Blixen lovers
Peter Beard has lived near Karen Blixen's farm and collected her story from many of her friends and staff in Africa. In this beautiful book he assembles excellent original photographs of Karen Blixen and enhances themwith photographs of his own from Africa. The commentary is by KamanteGatura, Karen Blixen's cook. A fascinating book, especially becauseKamante's version differs from that of some of Karen Blixen's biographers.The illustrations compliment a reading of Linda Donelson's "Out ofIsak Dinesen in Africa: Karen Blixen's untold story." ... Read more

9. Isak Dinesen's Africa : Images of the Wild Continent from the Writer's Life and Words
by Isak Dinesen
 Hardcover: 142 Pages (1985-10-12)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0871568217
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10. The Witch and the Goddess in the Stories of Isak Dinesen: A Feminist Reading (Challenging the Literary Cannon)
by Sara Stambaugh
 Hardcover: 180 Pages (1988-06)
list price: US$39.00 -- used & new: US$97.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0835718840
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11. Carnival: Entertainments and Posthumous Tales
by Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 345 Pages (1979-10-15)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$6.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226153045
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Carnival is an animated collection of works from every stage of Isak Dinesen's career. Many were written during her most creative years but set aside; others she wrote "just for entertainment." The collection includes "Second Meeting," her last work, and the title story, the first written under her now-famous pen name. None of these stories has previously appeared in book form in English. Three of them were translated especially for this collection by P. M. Mitchell and W. D. Paden.

"The editors have included only material that will stand easily with her more familiar work and satisfy her large following. . . . The rough drafts and variant treatments have been set aside for scholars."—Joseph McLellan, Washington Post

"The wit, the imagination, the elevated philosophical dialogue mark most of the stories in this volume as vintage Dinesen . . . of special interest to Dinesen fans."—Robert Langbaum, New York Times Book Review
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Master Storyteller:Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen
Recently back in print!Here is a collection of eleven Dinesen tales which cannot generally be found elsewhere, but which are discussed in most of the prominent biographies of this author.

This collection was first published in 1977 after Karen Blixen's death in 1962.Blixen's literary executors exercised great care in selecting a beautiful ensemble of archived stories to fully delight and entrance the modern reader.

Bask in the intricate dreamworld Dinesen created in her early tales (juvenilia) of "Uncle Theodore" and "Carnival" plus "The DeCats Family" which is my personal favorite!Or treat yourself to a grownup's bedtime story called "The Ghost Horses" with a lasting bittersweet aroma that will spark even more curious wonders within your own dreamscape.

The final tale in this volume called "The Second Meeting" will also inspire you to create your own tale of what it might be like to have one last unforgettable moment with Isak Dinesen herself!

Yes, everyone... this modest paperback will feel (figuratively anyhow) like some wonderful old gilt-edged storybook bound in fine Moroccan leather.How I wish it were! ... Read more

12. Out of Africa (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 336 Pages (2001-09-27)
list price: US$16.50 -- used & new: US$9.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141183330
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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From the moment Karen Blixen arrived in Kenya in 1914 to manage a coffee plantation, her heart belonged to Africa. Drawn to the intense colours and ravishing landscapes, Karen Blixen spent her happiest years on the farm and her experiences and friendships with the people around her are vividly recalled in these memoirs. "Out of Africa" is the story of a remarkable and unconventional woman and of a way of life that has vanished for ever. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Third on the booklist
One of several books needed for the English class, and the school library needed to provide. I was very satisfied with the price and the condition of the book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Out of Africa
I did not enjoy this book because I found that it was very long and did not "Catch" the reader. I kept reading only because I was doing a review on it and I had to keep reading. I saw the movie and it is muchbetter!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfull book that gives a picture of a strong woman
Karen Blixen (Isac Dinesen) is one of Denmarks best writers. Out of Africa is her main book that tells the story of her life in Africa. Read the book it is much more than the loveaffair with Dennys Finck-Hatton (Out of Africawith R. Redford and M. Streep)

The book gives a wonderfull picture ofBlixens relationship with the natives and have that ancient athmospherethat appears in all colonial litterature.

Read the book it gives apicture of a vere strong woman who knew what she wanted but again and againhad to compromise according to her life and the oppotunities it gave her.

The book is one of my favourits because it has got everything. Love,death, hope, history, feminism, nature, africa. ... Read more

13. Shadows on the Grass
by Isak Dinesen
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1974)

Asin: B003WM9BVC
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars Nothing but a killer
The first chapter about her most loved servent, Farah is good. After that she gets into her absolute LOVE of killing the animals of Africa. She just loves to hunt. If she sees a lion while driving she will stop and kill it. She kills elephants....she kills everything.I couldn't read any more it was disgusting. ... Read more

14. Isak Dinesen
by Judith Thurman
Paperback: Pages (1983-09)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312437382
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15. Last Tales
by Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 352 Pages (1991-12-03)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$5.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679736409
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Last Tales is a collection of twelve of the last tales that Isak Dinesen wrote before her death in 1962. They include seven tales from Albondocani, a projected novel that was never completed; "The Caryatids," an unfinished Gothic tale of a couple bedeviled by an old letter and a gypsy's spell; and three tales of winter, including "Converse at Night in Copenhagen," a drunken, all-night conversation between a boy-king, a prostitute, and a poor young poet. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Tales By A Great Storyteller
Old-fashioned, elegant entertainment and first-rate literature in the bargain.These stories have the magic of fairytales (for grown-ups) and the wisdom of great art.

5-0 out of 5 stars Last works of a master writer
More fictional than Out of Africa, more along the lines of Babette's Feast.Stories are set throughout Europe, sometimes in locales only hinted at through the character's names.Dinesen reminds me of the sudden twists in Borges or Edith Wharton's short stories.340 pages, 12 stories. ... Read more

16. Letters from Africa, 1914-1931
by Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 516 Pages (1984-04-15)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$13.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226153118
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"Here is a rich new biographical perspective on the brilliant storyteller whose sophisticated romantic fiction . . . made her an international success and perpetual candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. . . . [These letters] contain the raw material that was later transformed into her classic memoir Out of Africa (1937). They also reveal her as a highly intelligent and sensitive analyst of a strange new world."—Bruce Allen, Christian Science Monitor

"Letters from Africa is literary gold, 24 karat."—Alden Whitman, Boston Globe
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A real woman
These letters are the life and thoughts of an honest-to-God human female--a real woman, not a trumped-up tricked-out product of society. She is inspiring, honest, real, and as wild and natural as Africa itself was during her time. Every woman who has truly lived, even a little, will see herself in these pages. I reread it every few years as a pep-talk for courageous living, humility, and honesty. I will forever feel sad that she had to leave Africa.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
I actually had several of Isak Dinesen's works - "Out of Africa," her seven tales, and her book of letters. I hadn't seen the movie and I honestly wasn't even that interested in Africa or Danish people. But I'm fascinated by women's letters, and that is why I bought this book. I have read these letters and nothing else by her, to be quite honest, and these letters have inspired me to read more of her writings (once I stop finding other women's letters in book form to read).

I share all of the other reviewers' observations and feelings toward this book, so I won't repeat them. One thing I will add is that it is truly fascinating to read passages of her letters that have to deal with hunting game ... I don't know much about Africa or its colonizations, but if I recall, the colonizing didn't start until late in the 19th century - when "game" was more than plentiful. Even with this in mind, I couldn't help but be appalled when she recited the numbers of animals that were killed simply for sport. This bias aside, these letters made it easy to see how animals became endangered and extinct.

Obviously, there is more to the letters than hunting - otherwise I never would have read the entire book. Karen Blixen was obviously a very determined, passionate woman and this came through in her letters. Her voice and her descriptions of her life in Africa made these letters worth reading to someone who previously had no interest in the colonization of Africa.

5-0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFULLY DESCRIBED
"... huge distant blue mountains and the vast grassy plains before them covered with zebra and gazelle, and at night I can hear lions roaring like the thunder of guns in the darkness". Passages such as this one make it worthwhile to read this book.Karen Blixen is a master at poetically describing her foreign surroundings. If you enjoy the movie and the book Out of Africa then you will enjoy reading this book. Although at times the letters are repetitious and the author tends to ramble on, it is still an interesting book as it allows the reader to look through a window into Colonial East Africa from 1914 to 1931. The reader is able to go into Karen Blixen's mind and follow her daily struggles, joys and sorrows during her long stay in Africa and through her many safaris.This book unlike Out of Africa is not written through rose colored lenses.As you read this book, you feel a much harsher Africa.Also in this book she writes about her lover Dennis Finch-Hatton and doesn't hide the fact that she's crazy about him from her family. I highly recommend this book to any fan of Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than Out of Africa
Isak Dineson, or Karen Blixen, was a fascinating woman. Most people know her as the main character from the movie Out of Africa or as the auther of the book of the same name. While the movie and the book are both good, I feel that this collection of her letters gives the best picture of who she was and what was important to her.The struggles of trying to make a go of her farm are heartwrenching, but the joy she expresses in her surroundings is enchanting.She describes the people in her life, especially the Kenyans who worked on her farm, so well that you feel you know them almost as well as you know her. Her description of the Europeans who lived in Kenya for economic or political reasons has enough of compliment and criticism to seem much more fair than many books from the colonial era. By the end of the book, it is easy to think of Karen as a friend.

4-0 out of 5 stars Like reading a personal diary
There's no better way of getting to know the real Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen than by reading her Letters. Blixen shares her life with you a letter at a time, and in such rich detail that one feels a bit inclined to purchase a ticket to Kenya and appear on her veranda for tea!

Blixen's deep love for "her people" finally comes out in its truest sense in that she considered the African natives her soul mates.

The letters to Ingeborg, Aunt Bess, and brother Tommy, reveal (to me at least) that Blixen felt a greater kinship and sense of mutual acceptance with her "black skinned brother" than she did with her Danish relatives.

"Letters From Africa" is essential reading for any Dinesen fan. ... Read more

17. Isak Dinesen's Aesthetics (Kennikat Press National University Publications. Series in Literary Criticism)
by Thomas R. Whissen
 Hardcover: 130 Pages (1973-06)
list price: US$12.95
Isbn: 0804690596
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18. Out of Isak Dinesen in Africa: Karen Blixen's Untold Story
by Linda Donelson
Paperback: 440 Pages (1998-04-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$67.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0964389398
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This new analysis of "Out of Africa" describes the young Baroness Blixen's struggles with a difficult marriage, a pioneer coffee farm, and a complicated love affair in Kenya. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Out of Isak Dinesen in Africa: Karen Blixen's Untold Story
If you loved the movie "Out of Africa,"you will love this book. Isak Dinesen is a superb storyteller.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully balanced biography of a fascinating woman
Dr.Donelson's well-researched biography of Karen Blixen is a balanced look at the Danish writer's years in Africa. Wonderfully sympathetic and leisurely paced, this "Untold Story" is less a revelation of startling new facts as a skillful new presentation of the many facets of Blixen's life on a Kenyan coffee farm.Donelson's sensible narrative is enhanced by a keen insight into Blixen's literary works. The biographer peels back the onion to reveal the link between Blixen's fantastic adult fairy tales and her relationships in Africa.

I am a great fan of literary biographies and this book remains a solid favourite. Donelson shows a great understanding of Blixen's story but her restrained approach lets both Blixen herself and Africa share in the telling.

3-0 out of 5 stars Well research
The difficulty with writing a biography about Karen Blixen lies in the fact that until the latter part of her life, she lived very much as a solitary and intensely private individual. Consequently, the part of her life we are most interested in, her time in Kenya, are closed except for the glimpses one gets from her letters back home. Donelson has done an admirable job of trying to move beyond Blixen's letters. She relies primarily on interpretations of Blixen's books to give more flavor to Blixen's motivations and state of mind. Naturally, it will always be speculative to speak of someone else's intentions. What I appreciated most in this book was the presence of hard numbers. We do get a better sense of the economics of the whole farm deal than with Thurman's biography.

Ultimately, the picture that emerges of Blixen is an unflattering one. Donelson downplays Blixen's self-avowed attachment to Africans and points at her neediness and helplessness. I'd recommend this book as a good counterpoint to the unrestrained romance of "Out of Africa". Why did Blixen write "Out of Africa" the way she did? On reading "Out of Isak Dinesen in Africa", as was suggested in the introduction, Blixen wrote the book to convince others that her experience in Africa was not a failure; but perhaps also to convince herself that despite the trauma of personal and financial loss, it was worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond the myth
Linda Donelson's book is so far (to my knowledge) the only work on Dinesen to move beyond the Hollywood movie "Out of Africa", the glossy version of Dinesen's own glossy memoir by the same name. Judith Thurman in her wonderful and lauded biography also writes a great deal about Dinesens's years in Africa, but Donelson's book is concentrated wholly on Dinesens's time there.

Donelson's writing is wonderful, transporting the reader to another time and place, but at the same time making Dinesen seem very real and very human. It is also the only work that gives us a Dinesen profile that in fact fits the one that comes to light through Dinesen's OWN letters from Africa (still in print and a must read for any true Dinesen fan) to her family in Denmark during the years 1914-31.

Her memoir "Out of Africa" was Dinesen writing nostalgically in retrospect about her lost paradise several years after her return to Denmark from Africa. The film "Out of Africa" is without doubt a gorgeous and highly entertaining composite version of Dinesen's memoir as well as other works on Dinesen, including Thurman's bio. However, Donelson's book gets at the truth. Whether one likes her work or not depends. If you are the kind of Dinesen fan who prefers the glossy nostalgic version, you might be irritated that someone would "dare" to go beyond the pretty fiction. If however you want the truth, confirmed in Dinesen's own letters, you will enjoy Donelson's book immensely.

5-0 out of 5 stars Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen
Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen

Inthe movie "Out of Africa" I believe that the writers of the film script missed a wonderful opportunity. In the book "Out of Isak Dinesen in Africa, Karen Blixen's untoldstoy, by Linda Donelson" a reader can find an exciting, wonderful, semsual, complex woman. A woman that is not the same person that appears in the movie. Sometimes, too often movies are made with just the vision of great profits alone, artistry be damned. Too often movie moguls seem to be most interested in maintaining the glory of the lead characters and less interested in telling the great story they have to work with. The Out of Africa Movie would have been so much better with new leading people and a script that didn't have to paint Barron Blixon as such a heavy and could have given a more realistic picture of the marvelous unique man, Denys Finch Hatton. I suspect that the script may have been contaminated by impute from forces that might have been less than insightful. As past history has demonstrated the Moguls some time miss the mark by a long ways.

Linda Donelson in her book, which is smooth reading, does a most wonderful job of letting us see inside the rich character of the real people in this story. But not only that, a long the way you taste and feel Arica and you begin to understand the remarkable history , not only of Nairobi and it's surrounding African wonderlands, this book is magic in the way it blends in social history and world events with close personal feelings and experiences. ... Read more

19. Understanding Isak Dinesen (Understanding Modern European and Latin American Literature)
by Susan C. Brantly
Hardcover: 235 Pages (2002-03-01)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$31.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570034281
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Susan C. Brantly's introduction to the writings of Isak Dinesen elucidates the subtle complexities of a Scandinavian writer whose works have attracted a large, passionate following in her homeland, throughout the world, and especially in the United States. Highly regarded by a generation that followed her televised trip to America in the 1950s and by a later generation mesmerized by the Oscar-winning 1985 film Out of Africa, Dinesen gained her initial literary success in the United States. Brantly suggests that despite Dinesen’s wide appeal, her irony, allusiveness, obliquity, and mystery elude many readers, depriving them of a full appreciation of the writer's artistry. In this guide Brantly illumines the easily missed literary references, cultural kaleidoscope, and other complexities that enrich not only Dinesen's fictional works but also the memoir she wrote of her time in Kenya.

Brantly addresses the ambiguous qualities of Dinesen's life and literature that have caused critics to disagree on fundamental points of interpretation, examines her ties to English Gothic, German Romanticism, and other nineteenth-century trends, and considers her work within the contexts of modernism and postmodernism. Brantly reveals the thought and care that Dinesen devoted to the construction of her stories, her expansive knowledge of world literature, and the great pleasure awaiting readers as they unravel the mysteries embedded in her texts. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding Isak Dinesen
This is quite possibly the best book on Karen Blixen ever written.Brantly has synthesized most all scholars into a comprehesive look at Blixens work. ... Read more

20. The Necklace/The Pearls
by Guy de Maupassant, Isak Dinesen
Paperback: 64 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$5.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1906548021
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

A necklace of pearls and a necklace of diamonds are at the center of these two contrasting stories. The Necklace is a story of vanity, of two lives blighted by the loss of a diamond necklace, celebrated for its twist ending. From the fairytale-like collection Winter's TalesThe Pearls is a story of love and fear.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

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5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Kept Secret for ESL Teachers
ESL teachers you don't know what you're missing.Students love this play, get excellent practice with pronunciation, and even become familiar with the Guy de Maupassant original.Lots of humor anda much more satisfyingending than the original. ... Read more

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