Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter's Tales

Winter's Tales, by Isak Dinesen

I read this book of short stories slowly, about one per day maybe.  I remember enjoying them very much in college.  Now I think I liked the Seven Gothic Tales a little more, but these were great too.  I will have to read Last Tales to finish out the collections that go together (in my mind, anyway).  I remember one very striking story in that collection.

These stories are mostly set in or partially in Denmark.  They are a little simpler and mostly don't have the complicated frames that are so characteristic of Dinesen, and they are (I think) marginally more realistic, but they are still mysterious, Romantic, aristocratic to the point of obsession, and carry that particular Dinesen feeling she does so well.  "Sorrow-Acre" and "Peter and Rosa" were my own favorites, but looking back over the list of stories now, they were all very good.

Dinesen always seems to be to be--well, not behind her times exactly, but something of a throw-back.  She was old-school.  It is hard to believe that she started writing in the 1930s; she did her level best to live about a hundred years before that.  She must have used Almqvist and Goethe as inspirations and ignored anyone later than about 1850 or so.  It makes her very interesting to read.

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