Brøgger, Suzanne

(1944-)
   A Danish novelist, essayist, epic poet, and playwright, Brøgger writes at the boundary between fact and fiction, on the line that separates her private life from the lives of her characters, including her first-person narrators. At times readers have not sufficiently distinguished between Brøgger's narrators and the person Brøgger, which she has exploited by creating a rapidly evolving mythic version of herself. Champions of residual Danish puritanism have been both attracted to and repulsed by the frank discussion of sexuality in her oeuvre.
   In her first book, Fri os fra kærligheden (1973; tr. Deliver us from Love, 1976), Brøgger criticizes the middle class for having domesticated the erotic force and thus limited the potential for freedom inherent in human life. In Kærlighedens veje og vildveje (1975; Love's Paths and Pitfalls, 1975), she maintains that women have the capacity to free themselves from male domination solely by an act of will. Understandably, this argument struck many contemporary feminists as both naive and excessively individualistic.
   Creme Fraiche: En føljeton (1978; Creme Fraiche: A Feuilleton), the story of a woman who travels around the world in pursuit of self-understanding, includes an uninhibited celebration of the erotic. The similarities between Brøgger and the first-person narrator are striking, and many readers ignored the distance between narrator and author. In Ja: Føljeton (1984; Yes: Feuilleton) this narrator tries to extend her outward liberation to her inward self, and this quest is continued in Transperence: Føljeton (1993; Transparency: Feuil-leton).
   The novel En gris som har været oppe at slas kan man ikke stege (1979; tr. A Fighting Pig's Too Tough to Eat, 1997) constitutes an exploration of the impact on a small-town environment on a woman's search for autonomy. Set in Brøgger's own home community, it seems particularly informed by her personal experiences.
   Much of Brøgger s essayistic and occasional writing is collected in Brøg: 1965-1980 (1980; Brew: 1965-1980) and Den pebrede susen: Flydende fragmenter og fixeringer (1986; Peppered Hush: Flowing Fragments and Fixations), as well as in the essay collection Kvælstof: 1980-1990 (1990; Nitrogen: 1980-1990). The volume Tone (1981) is an epic poem about a woman who lives her life according to the ideas presented in Creme Fraiche; the last third of the book, however, tells about her death from cancer. Brøgger has also written a successful drama, Efter orgiet (1992; After the Orgy), which mourns such aspects of the sexual revolution as the AIDS epidemic. The novel Jadekatten: En Slægtssaga (1997; The Jade Cat: A Family Saga) tells the story of a Danish Jewish family. Et frit og muntert lig (1998; A Free and Happy Corpse) extols everyday living, while Linda Evangelista Olsen (2001) offers portraits of Brøgger's two cats, juxtaposed with comments about her own life.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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