A Difficult Death (Hardcover)
The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen
Yale University Press, 9780300218930, 272pp.
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
While largely unknown today, Danish writer and Darwin translator Jens Peter Jacobsen was the leading prose writer in Scandinavia in the late nineteenth century and part of a generation that included Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun, and August Strindberg. His novels Marie Grubbe and Niels Lyhne as well as his stories and poems were widely admired by writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Mann, and James Joyce.
Despite his untimely death from tuberculosis at the age of thirty-eight, Jacobsen became a cult figure to an entire generation and continues to occupy an important place in Scandinavian cultural history. In this book, Morten Høi Jensen gives a moving account of Jacobsen’s life, work, and death: his passionate interest in the natural sciences, his complicated and nuanced attitude to his own atheism, and his painful descent toward an early death. Carefully researched and sympathetically imagined, this is an evocative portrait of one of the most influential and gifted writers of the nineteenth century.
About the Author
Praise For A Difficult Death: The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen…
"Before I read Morten Høi Jensen's A Difficult Death, Jens Peter Jacobsen was just a name I vaguely recalled from Rilke. But now he's become, among other things, an intellectual hero. This book beautifully conjures the person, skillfully creates the world, and thoroughly explains the work -- it's as exemplary as literary biographies get. I've long regarded Jensen as one of the best young critics writing today, and A Difficult Death proves it."—Tom Bissell, author of Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve.
“Offering a wonderful sense of intimacy with the life and works of Jens Peter Jacobsen, this book also wrestles with the difficult giants in the wings: Rilke, Strindberg, Ibsen and the brothers Brandes. A beguiling view of a rich literary landscape.”—Mikka Haugaard, translator of Marie Grubbe