Thorup, Kirsten

(1942-)
   A Danish poet, novelist, and dramatist, Thorup started out as a modernist who wrote about alienation, fragmentation of one's worldview, meaninglessness, and schizoid states of mind. Her literary debut was a volume of poetry entitled Indeniudenfor (1967; Inside-Outside), which was followed by a small collection of short stories, I dagens anledning (1968; In Honor of the Occasion). Other early volumes of poetry are Love from Trieste (1969; tr. 1980) and Idag er det Daisy (1971; Today It's Daisy). Thorup was born into a working-class family and has a sense of identification with outsiders of various kinds. The characters in her first novel and literary breakthrough, Baby (1973; tr. 1980), live on the margins of society. Although Baby has some experimental features, her story and plot are complicated and show that Thorup has a flair for traditional narrative. This is even more pronounced in her next two novels, Lille Jonna (1977; Little Jonna) and Den lange sommer (1979; The Long Summer), which are works of psychological realism. They are thematically similar to Baby in that the lower-middle-class characters find themselves sinking socially. There are autobiographical elements in both books, and especially in Den lange sommer, in which a working-class girl suffers the alienating effect of receiving an education.
   The psychological realism and convoluted plots continue in Himmel og helvede (1982; Heaven and Hell) and Den yderste grænse (1987; The Outermost Border). While Thorup's characters experience all manner of vicissitudes, they nevertheless manage to hold on to such fundamental values as their family relationships. Thorup also discusses issues concerning one's sense of identity in the two novels Elskede ukendte (1994; Beloved Unknown) and Bonsai (2000); the latter also offers a critique of an overly aesthetic approach to life. Ingenmandsland (2004; No Man's Land) tells the story of a man who suffers from senile dementia and wants to escape from the rest home in which he is living so that he can put a flower on his wife's grave. Its social criticism is severe. Thorup has also written plays for the theater, television, and radio.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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