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"Jens Peter Jacobsen, Atheism, and the Modern Novel." A Lecture by Morten Høi Jensen
WhenMonday, May 7, 2018, 4 – 6 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202/204
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars, Special Events
Event sponsorsDepartment of Germanics and Scandinavian Studies.

Marianne Stecher:
Target AudienceUW faculty and graduate students

Literary critic Morten Høi Jensen will be  speaking on his recent critically acclaimed work: A Difficult Death: The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen (Yale University Press, 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 Grubbeand 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.

“Morten Høi Jensen…brilliantly restores Jens Peter Jacobsen to a place in modern world fiction that should never have been vacated. This is one of the most elegant and incisive critical biographies I’ve read.”—James Wood


Morten Høi Jensen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1987. He attended The New School for Social Research in New York City and has contributed to numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the New Republic. In September 2017 Yale University Press published his first book, A Difficult Death: The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen, which was awarded the 2017 J. P. Jacobsen Literary Prize. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently writing a book about Thomas Mann and The Magic Mountain.

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