Svendsen, Hanne Marie


Svendsen, Hanne Marie
(1933-)
   A Danish novelist, short story writer, and dramatist, Svendsen grew up at Skagen, the northern tip of the Jutland Peninsula, and early acquired a love of the sea, which is present in many of her works. Her books also give evidence of her interest in postmodern theories of literature, especially magic realism, as the everyday and the fantastic exist side by side in them. Her first literary work was the short novel Mathildes drømmebog (1977; Mathilda's Dream Book), in which the protagonist's reality is juxtaposed with her dream world. Her definitive breakthrough came with the novel Guldkuglen: Fortælling om en ø (1985; tr. The Gold Ball, 1989), in which she weaves together both reality and the fantastic, both past and present, into a kaleidoscopic narrative in which an island functions as a microcosm of the world.
   The novel Karantæne (1995; Quarantine) tells about modern alienation with great psychological insight, while Rejsen med Emma (1996; The Journey with Emma) mixes high and popular literary forms into an internationally flavored account of the conditions of both liberty and creativity. Ingen genvejtil Paradis (1999; No Back Road to Paradise) emphasizes the role of women in the story of a multigenerational family. In Unn fra Stjernestene (2003; Unn from Stjernestene), a novel set in medieval Greenland, Svendsen provides much historical information as a backdrop to the story of a young woman's process of maturation.
   Svendsen has written two collections of short stories, Samtale med Gud og med Fandens oldemor (1982; A Conversation with God and with the Devil's Dam) and Kristines ting og andre historier om genfærd (1992; Kristine's Things and Other Stories about Ghosts), in which her magic realism is in full force. She has also written several well-received children's books and a number of dramas for theater, television, and radio, including Drømmen om byen (2000; The Dream of the City).

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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