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Johannes V. Jensen

AKA Johannes Vilhelm Jensen

Born: 20-Jan-1873
Birthplace: Farsø, North Jutland, Denmark
Died: 25-Nov-1950
Location of death: Copenhagen, Denmark
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author, Poet

Nationality: Denmark
Executive summary: The Long Journey

Johannes V. Jensen was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature seventeen times, generally acknowledged as an all-time record, before finally winning the award in 1944.

He worked as a reporter to pay his tuition to medical school, but left school to pursue his writing career. He is best known for his six-volume epic Den Lange Rejse (The Long Journey), which spans human history from the dawn of man to the discovery of America, and is intended as an alternative to the Biblical stories of Genesis. He wrote more than 100 essays, travel, and nature stories, published in eleven volumes all titled Myter (Myths), and a three-volume fictional biography of a Danish king, Kongens Fald (The Fall of the King). Though he was little known outside of Denmark, he has been called "the great linguistic innovator of the period". Analyzing his own work in his autobiography for the Nobel Committee, Jensen wrote:

"A probing analysis of the problems of evolution forms the basis of my prose. During half a century of literary work, I have endeavored to introduce the philosophy of evolution into the sphere of literature, and to inspire my readers to think in evolutionary terms. I was prompted to do this because of the misinterpretation and distortion of Darwinism at the end of the 19th century. The concept of the Übermensch had disastrous consequences in that it led to two world wars, and was destroyed only with the collapse of Germany in 1945. In the course of opposing this fallacious doctrine, I have arrived at a new interpretation of the theory of evolution and its moral implications."

In addition to his serious work, he wrote detective novels under a pen name, Ivar Lykke. His sister, Thit Jensen, was also a successful writer, and an activist for women's rights and abortion rights.

Father: Hans Jensen (veterinarian)
Mother: Marie Kirstine Jensen
Sister: Marie Kirstine Dorothea Jensen ("Thit", author, b. 1876, d. 1957)
Wife: Else Marie Ulrik (m. 1903, three sons)

    High School: Cathedral School, Viborg, Denmark (1893)
    Medical School: University of Copenhagen (attended 1893-98)

    Nobel Prize for Literature 1944

Author of books:
Danskere (1896)
Einar Elkjær (1898)
Intermezzo (1899)
Den Gotiske Renæssance (1901)
Kongens Fald (The Fall of the King) (1901, three volumes)
Madame d'Ora (1904)
Skovene (1904)
Hjulet (The Wheel) (1905)
Himmerlandshistorier (Himmerland Stories) (1910)
Eksotiske Noveller (1915)
Den Lange Rejse (The Long Journey) (1922, six volumes)
Evolution og Moral (1925)
Jørgine (1926)
Digte, 1901-41 (Poems, 1901-41) (1943)
Myter (Myths) (1945, eleven volumes)



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Danish Literature


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