Karen Blixen: My Kind of Lady

The essay I submitted at 2013’s close had me researching through various articles, books and websites on the life of Karen Blixen (/Isak Dinesen).

It all started with a production of The Baroness that I saw (and wrote about; click and have a gander) which was over here from a stellar run in Denmark. The more I read, the more I wanted to know – she lead one hell of a life! During my research, I came across a biography written by Judith Thurman.

Rarely am I drawn to biographies. Actually… Edit: NeverI am never drawn to biographies.


They’re so horrendously misused these days, usually seen as a final plea for media attention to justify their existence. Sure, everyone has their story to tell. It isn’t reserved for the ‘famous’, we’ve just been led to believe it is. We are all unique, special individuals and none of us undergo the same journey to get to wherever we’re going.

I guess what bewilders me the most, though, is what possesses people to actually purchase biographies of people under the age of 40. You know, people who are probably still working, in the prime of whatever career path they are on and have a good 30+ years left. Granted, it has already been concluded among friends and family that at age 23, my biography would be an entire series, however, that is besides the point. Whatever that was. What was I talking about…

Thurman’s biography of Blixen is written with such passion, conviction and kindness, I continued my reading past the essay submission – and I am thoroughly glad I did. I discovered an absolute gem (within gems) of a letter Blixen wrote to an aunt.

If you’re of a weaker sensibility, have an underdeveloped sense of humour/the wider world, or have a tendency to take things literally because of either of the aforementioned, I’ll bid you good day and hopefully see you on another post!

Thurman, J. 1995. 'Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller', p. 209.

Thurman, J. 1995. ‘Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller’, p. 209.

PG 210, Isak Dinesen

Thurman, J. 1995. ‘Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller’, p. 210.

PG 211, Isak Dinesen

Thurman, J. 1995. ‘Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller’, p. 211.

Annnd back in the room. Hi!

I’ve been wanting to share this since I came across it, but Time is an elusive mistress…master…gigolo… What is the male equivalent of a mistress, besides a very naughty boy? 

Anyway, I simply wanted to share Blixen’s thoughts because when I finished the letter, I couldn’t breathe. So impassioned by her words, I was (and continue to be) compelled to tell anyone I know. Similar reactions to my own ensued. May have to buy it now…

She’s also my kind of lady, truth be told: dark humour, rational and opinionated. Yes please.

So much is articulated into concise statements, statements that are bursting at their individual word-seams with meaning. I read no malice, but observation and energy. Written in the thirties, my only sadness is that there still remains a little too much truth in her words.

I hope you enjoyed the letter as much I did. And even if you didn’t, I’d love to know why. I like discussions!

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6 thoughts on “Karen Blixen: My Kind of Lady

  1. Admittedly, there are few things in the world I enjoy more than dark humor. I try my hardest to work some of it into the stories I write, however that’s often easier said than done.

    • Likewise. My humour is pretty wide-ranging, but boy can it get twisted. I like to think it’s what I aim for in mine, but I often don’t think I’m as good as I could be. Then again, I am currently writing a piece where people keep jumping off a window ledge, so, y’know, we’ll see :)

      • Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I have a fair bit of morbidity in my own writing, however I think I’d enjoy reading that piece at some point.

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