Jensen, Johannes V.


Jensen, Johannes V.
(1873-1950)
   One of Denmark's greatest and most prolific poets and novelists, Jensen deeply affected Danish literary and cultural life, ultimately winning the Nobel Prize in literature in 1944. He was raised in the district of Himmerland in northern Jutland, and his works are strongly influenced by life there; Jensen believed the area to be the homeland of the Goths, whom he saw as the driving force in the development of Western civilization. His home district is celebrated in his three volumes of Himmerlandshistorier (1898-1910; Stories from Himmerland).
   Jensen's works are permeated by a strong historical consciousness. Many of the poems in his collection Digte (1906; Poems; enlarged editions in 1917, 1921, 1943, and 1948) celebrate the technological and industrial innovations of modernity; a paradigm example is "Paa Memphis Station" (At the Memphis Train Station). Jensen celebrates the man of action at the expense of the contemplative spirit, and he therefore was deeply impressed with American culture, especially its pragmatism, which he regarded as a healthy counterweight to European metaphysical speculation.
   After writing two novels that are critical of the self-reflexivity and inwardness of the literature of the 1890s, Jensen published Kongens Fald (1900-1901; tr. The Fall of the King, 1933 and 1992), which demonstrates how dangerous it can be when excessive thinking is allowed to take the place of action. A central figure of the novel is Danish king Christian II (1489-1559), who is portrayed as losing his power due to his inability to act decisively. The contrast between contemplation and action is further illustrated by Christian's companion, the thinker Mikkel, and Mikkel's opposite, the man of action Axel. But Axel dies, and Jensen clearly holds that human life is ultimately futile.
   Jensen traveled widely, including visits to the United States. The novels Madame D'Ora (1904) and Hjulet (1905; The Wheel) depict American life, and stories written at this time are set in America, China, and Java. But his 11 volumes of Myter (1907-1944; Myths) have been more durable expressions of his ideas, especially as work preparatory to his great six-volume cycle of novels, Den lange Rejse (1908-1922; tr. The Long Journey, 1923). Thoroughly Darwinian, this cycle of novels tells the story of human society and culture from before the Ice Age to the height of the industrial period. Jensen's mythic imagination localizes humanity's evolutionary beginnings to the primordial rain forests of his native Jutland, and the Nordic people, or Goths, come into being as a single couple refuses to be forced south by the advancing glacier. The Goths are characterized by a longing for the sun and its warmth, and this longing ultimately motivates such decisive historical events as the Viking expeditions and the journeys of Columbus. Longing for the sun also results in religious feeling and a longing for paradise, the ultimate cultural expression of which is the Gothic cathedral. After receiving the Nobel Prize in literature in 1944, Jensen largely turned away from fiction and advocated his Darwinian worldview mostly in articles and essays.
   See also Jensen, Thit.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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  • Jensen, Johannes V. — ▪ Danish author in full  Johannes Vilhelm Jensen  born Jan. 20, 1873, Farsø, Den. died Nov. 25, 1950, Copenhagen       Danish novelist, poet, essayist, and writer of many myths, whose attempt, in his later years, to depict man s development in… …   Universalium

  • Jensen, Johannes V(ilhelm) — born Jan. 20, 1873, Farsø, Den. died Nov. 25, 1950, Copenhagen Danish novelist, poet, and essayist. He initially studied medicine but later turned to writing. He first made an impression as a writer of tales, including the more than 100 published …   Universalium

  • Jensen , Johannes Hans Daniel — (1907–1973) German physicist. See Goeppert Mayer, Maria …   Scientists

  • Jensen, Johannes Wilhelm — ► (1873 1950) Poeta y novelista danés. Fue premio Nobel de Literatura en 1944. Autor de Los daneses y Relatos exóticos …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jensen, Johannes V(ilhelm) — (20 ene. 1873, Farsø, Dinamarca–25 nov. 1950, Copenhague). Novelista, poeta y ensayista danés. Estudió medicina, pero pronto se volcó a la literatura. En un comienzo causó impresión como escritor de cuentos, como los más del centenar que publicó… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Johannes V. Jensen — Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (* 20. Januar 1873 in Farsø (Jütland), † 25. November 1950 in Kopenhagen) war ein dänischer Schriftsteller. Jensens Schwester war die Schriftstellerin Maria Kristine Dorothea Jensen, besser bekannt unter dem Namen Thit… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Johannes Vilhelm Jensen — (* 20. Januar 1873 in Farsø (Jütland); † 25. November 1950 in Kopenhagen) war ein dänischer Schriftsteller. Jensens Schwester war die Schriftstellerin Maria Kristine Dorothea Jensen, besser bekannt unter dem Namen Thit Jensen. Jensen studierte …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Johannes Vilhelm Jensen — Johannes V. Jensen Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (20 janvier 1873 25 novembre 1950) est un écrivain danois. Il a reçu le Prix Nobel de littérature en 1944. Il est né à Farsø un village dans le nord du Jutland au Danemark.Une de ses… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Johannes V. Jensen — Johannes Vilhelm Jensen Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (20 janvier 1873 25 novembre 1950) est un écrivain danois. Il a reçu le Prix Nobel de littérature en 1944. Il est né à Farsø un village dans le nord du Jutland au Danemark.Une de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jensen (surname) — Jensen is a Danish and Norwegian originally patronymic surname, literally meaning son of Jens . Today however it is used as a generic surname for both men and women. The prefix Jens is the most common Danish version of the biblical Ioanne ( en.… …   Wikipedia


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