Johannes Vilhelm Jensen
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1944
Born: 20 January 1873, Farsø, Denmark
Died: 25 November 1950, Copenhagen, Denmark
Residence at the time of the award: Denmark
Prize motivation: “for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style”
Prize share: 1/1
Johannes Jensen was born in Farsø, on the Himmerland peninsula in northeastern Jutland, Denmark. After three years of medical studies in Copenhagen, he turned completely to writing. He wrote articles and columns for daily newspapers, and his travels included trips to Malaysia, China and the United States. For a short time, he was a correspondent in Spain for the Politiken newspaper. He eschewed permanent employment and never joined any political party. In 1904 he married Else Marie Ulrik, and they had three sons.
Medical studies provided a scientific basis for Jensen’s writing, which included novels and poetry, but also articles, essays and travelogues. His career took off with Himmerlandshistorier (1898-1910) (Himmerland Stories), a series of stories that take place in the area where Jensen was born. Kongens Fald (The Fall of the King) intersperses historical facts about King Christian II of Denmark with lyrical elements, a technique also used in Myter (Myths), published in 11 volumes. Darwinism and the philosophy of evolution are themes in the series of novels about the evolution of human beings, Den lange rejse (1908–1922) (The Long Journey).
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