Bjørneboe, Jens

(1920-1976)
   A Norwegian novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist, Bjørneboe was profoundly influenced by the culture of Continental Europe. His literary debut was a collection of poetry entitled simply Dikt (1951; Poems), which was followed by two more collections, Ariadne (1953) and Den store by (1958; The Great City). Restless by nature and deeply affected by the war experience, Bjørneboe wrote his first novel, Før hanen galer (1952; Before the Cock Crows), about medical experiments performed by Nazi doctors on concentration camp prisoners. It offers a portrait ofa man whose mind is divided; he is a caring and sensitive person in his private life, but his scientific objectivity leads him to commit the most gruesome crimes. This book was controversial, but even more so was Bjørneboe's next novel, Jonas (1955; tr. The Last of These, 1959), which through a portrait of a dyslexic little boy attacked the Norwegian school system.
   Under en hardere himmel (1957; Under a Harder Sky) portrays Norway's treatment of Nazi wartime collaborators and is a severe indictment of the country's judicial authorities. Blamann (1959) is a novel about artistic development, while Den onde hyrde (1960; The Evil Shepherd) argues that it is necessary to reform the way young criminals are treated; it is a good example of Bjørneboe's gadfly behavior vis-a-vis the Norwegian State Prosecutor's office. Drømmen og hjulet (1964; The Dream and the Wheel), a fictionalized account of the life of the Norwegian writer Ragnhild Jølsen (1875-1908), is another novel of artistic development. Jølsen was a promising novelist and short story writer when she ended her life with an overdose of sleeping powder.
   The war experience caused Bjørneboe to become fascinated by the problem of evil. After discussing it in the context of the war in both Før hanen galer and Under en hårdere himmel, he offers a more general investigation in a trilogy commonly referred to as "The History of Bestiality." The first volume, Frihetens øyeblikk (1966; tr. Moment of Freedom, 1975), has as its narrator a certain servant of justice in a small European principality, a man who sets out to record the various evils and atrocities of Western civilization. The other two volumes, Kruttårnet (1969; tr. Powderhouse, 1999) and Stillheten (1973; tr. The Silence, 2000), continute the same line of inquiry. The theme of evil is also present in Bjørneboe's final novel, Haiene (1974; tr. Sharks, 1993). Its tone is more positive, however, for although it tells the story ofthe struggle between the crew members of a ship, there is hope for reconciliation in the end.
   Bjørneboe's dramas were strongly influenced by the ideas of Bertolt Brecht and attempt to subvert the verisimilitude of such traditional theater as that associated with Henrik Ibsen. Til lykke med dagen (1965; Many Happy Returns) satirized the Norwegian penal system. Bjørneboe's best play, Fugleelskerne (1966; tr. The Bird Lovers, 1993), is set in an Italian village and thematizes the idea of ethical responsibility. A party of German bird lovers—former Nazi occupants of the area—wish to establish a bird sanctuary. They are recognized by some of the people whom they had tortured during the war, and the question is to what extent they are to be held individually responsible for their deeds 30 years earlier. Bjørneboe argues that ethical responsibility for such evils as the atrocities of war is collective, not individual. His next play, Semmelweis (1968; tr. 1996), tells the story of the Hungarian doctor who discovered the cause of childbirth fever, only to be silenced by the medical establishment of his time; it is once more a critique of authority. So is the parody Amputasjon (1971; tr. Amputation, 2003), in which society's members are literally trimmed to the desired length. Dongry (1975; Dungarees) is a satire on business life.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bjørneboe, Jens — ▪ Norwegian author in full  Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe  born October 9, 1920, Kristiansand, Norway died May 9, 1976, Veierland       Norwegian novelist, dramatist, essayist, and poet whose work was generally inspired by a sense of outrage at the… …   Universalium

  • Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe — Jens Bjørneboe Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe (* 9. Oktober 1920 in Kristiansand, Norwegen ; † 9. Mai 1976 in Veierland bei Tønsberg, Norwegen) war ein zu Lebzeiten stark umstrittener norwegischer Schriftsteller und Lehrer. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jens Bjoerneboe — Jens Bjørneboe Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe (* 9. Oktober 1920 in Kristiansand, Norwegen ; † 9. Mai 1976 in Veierland bei Tønsberg, Norwegen) war ein zu Lebzeiten stark umstrittener norwegischer Schriftsteller und Lehrer. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jens Bjørneboe — Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe (* 9. Oktober 1920 in Kristiansand, Norwegen; † 9. Mai 1976 in Veierland bei Tønsberg, Norwegen) war ein zu Lebzeiten stark umstrittener norwegischer Schriftsteller und Lehrer. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Leistungen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jens Bjørneboe — Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe (né le 9 octobre 1920 à Kristiansand, mort le 9 mai 1976 à Veierland, Nøtterøy) était un écrivain norvégien, notable pour sa vaste production et son fort engagement social. Biographie Cette section est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bjørneboe — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Jens Bjørneboe (1920–1976), norwegischer Schriftsteller Liv Benedicte Bjørneboe (* 1965), norwegische Organistin, Komponistin und Kantorin Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur U …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bjørneboe —   [ bjœrnəbuː], Jens Ingvald, norwegischer Schriftsteller, * Kristiansand 9. 10. 1920, ✝ Veierland (bei Tønsberg) 9. 5. 1976; prangert in Romanen, auch in Schauspielen und Essays die Bevormundung des Individuums durch staatliche Institutionen wie …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Jens Bjørneboe — Infobox Writer name = Jens Bjørneboe birthdate = birth date|1920|10|9 birthplace = Kristiansand, Norway deathdate = death date and age|1976|5|9|1920|10|9 deathplace = Veierland in Nøtterøy, Norway occupation = School teacher, author nationality …   Wikipedia

  • Бьёрнебу, Йенс — Йенс Бьёрнебу Jens Bjørneboe …   Википедия

  • Liste der Biografien/Bj — Biografien: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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