Author bio

Jens Peter Jacobsen

Jens Peter Jacobsen - book author

Jacobsen was born in Thisted in Jutland, the eldest of the five children of a prosperous merchant. He went to school in Copenhagen and was a student at the University of Copenhagen in 1868. As a boy, he showed a remarkable talent for science, in particular botany. In 1870, although he was already secretly writing poetry, Jacobsen adopted botany as a profession. He was sent by a scientific body in Copenhagen to report on the flora of the islands of Anholt and Læsø.

Around this time, the discoveries of Charles Darwin began to fascinate him. Realizing that the work of Darwin was not well known in Denmark, he translated The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man into Danish.

When still young, Jacobsen was struck by tuberculosis which eventually ended his life. His illness prompted travels to southern Europe.

Literary works

Jacobsen's canon consists of two novels, seven short stories, and one posthumous volume of poetry - small, but enough to place him as one of the most influential Danish writers.


The historical novel Fru Marie Grubbe (1876, Eng. transl.: Marie Grubbe. A Lady of the Seventeenth Century 1917) is the first Danish treatment of a woman as a sexual creature. Based upon the life of an authentic 17th century Danish noblewoman, it charts her downfall from a member of the royal family to the wife of a ferryman, as a result of her desire for an independent and satisfying erotic life. In many ways the books anticipates the themes of D. H. Lawrence.

Jacobsen's second novel Niels Lyhne (1880, English translation 1919) traces the fate of an atheist in a merciless world: his lack of faith is "tested" by tragedies and personal crises until he dies in war, disillusioned but unrepentant.

Jacobsen's short stories are collected in Mogens og andre Noveller (1882, translated as Mogens and Other Tales, 1921, and Mogens and Other Stories, 1994). Among them must be mentioned Mogens (1872 - his official debut), the tale of a young dreamer and his maturing during love, sorrow and new hope of love. Et Skud i Taagen (A Shot in the Fog) is a Poe-inspired tale of the sterility of hatred and revenge. Pesten i Bergamo (The Plague of Bergamo) shows people clinging to religion even when tempted to be "free men". Fru Fønss (1882) is a sad story about a widow's tragic break with her egoistic children when she wants to remarry.

Mogens og andre Noveller and Niels Lyhne were both highly praised by Rainer Maria Rilke in his letters to Franz Xaver Kappus, translated as Letters to a Young Poet.


The poems of Jacobsen are more influenced by late romanticism than his prose. Many of them are wistful, dreamy and melancholic but also naturalistic. Most important is the great obscure poem Arabesque to a Hand-drawing by Michel Angelo (about 1875) the idea of which seems to be that art is going to replace immortality as the meaning of life. They significantly inspired the Danish symbolist poetry of the 1890s.

Jens Peter Jacobsen is the author of books: Niels Lyhne, Mogens and Other Stories, Marie Grubbe, Mogens, Pesten i Bergamo, Digte og udkast, Lyrik og Prosa, Fru Marie Grubbe. Mogens og andre Noveller. Irmelin Rose., Udvalgte Digte, Sechs Novellen

Author books

Jacobsen's immediate importance was his status as the 'writer of his generation.' With the novel Niels Lyhne (1880) he voiced the disoriented and confused rejection of the old values, Romanticism's dream and religion. . . . Like the single volume of short stories Jacobsen published in 1882, three years before he died of tuberculosis, both novels are unique in an age of realism on account of their highly charged, atmospheric prose and almost lyrical style."
Work from the Danish novelist, poet, and scientist best known for having begun the naturalist movement in Danish literature.
Jacobsen's immediate importance was his status as the 'writer of his generation.' Jacobsen's breakthrough came already in 1876 with the historical and psychological novel Fru Marie Grubbe, - entitled Marie Grubbe in English, -which for the first time in Danish literature presented a profound portrayal of a woman as a creature of instinct and desire and as a being searching for her own identity. The book's defiant individualism asserting human values as opposed to society's judgment was also a sign of modernity.-
Priča je to o mladom sanjaru i njegovom sazrijevanju kroz ljubav, tugu i nadu u novu ljubav. Mogens je priča o ljubavi, njenom gubitku i oporavku, prekrasno napisana, opisujući prirodu i ljudski život gotovo poetskim stilom. I Mogens je, kao i sve Jacobsenove priče, pomalo lirska i poetska pripovijest, koja dira u srce.

"On nije mogao podnijeti pomisao na ono, što se dogodilo, nije se smjelo dogoditi, bacio se na koljena i ispružio ruke k nebu, dok je molio, da ono što se dogodilo, bude nedogođeno. Dugo se je vukao na koljenima, s neprekidno u nebo uprtim očima, kao da se boji, da će ovo, da izmakne njegovim molbama, nestati, ako ga on neprekidno ne gleda. Onda se pojaviše slike iz dobrih vremena, sve više i više u maglovitom redu. Bile su to slike, koje se u časovitom sjaju pred njim pojaviše, a druge nestajahu, tako neodređeno, tako daleko, da su nestale, prije no je znao što je bilo. Tiho je sjedio u snijegu, začaran svjetlom i bojama, životom i srećom i nejasni strah, koji je u početku osjećao da će nešto doći i sve izbrisati, bio je nestao. Oko njega bilo je sve tiho, u njemu sve mirno. Slike su nestale, ali sreća je ostala."
J.P. Jacobsens værk Digte og Udkast udkom første gang i 1886 efter forfatterens død. Det blev redigeret af Edvard Brandes og Vilhelm Møller og er sammensat af både færdige og ufærdige notitser, digte og diverse tekststykker.
For første gang er her i et bind samlet et fyldigt og dækkende udvalg af tekster fra samtlige de genrer, J.P. Jacobsen (1847-1885) dyrkede ud over romanerne: alle hans dagbogsoptegnelser, hele digtkredsen Hervert Sperring, den væsenligste del af hans lyrik, Mogens og andre noveller, En Cactus springer ud (dvs. bl.a. »Gurresange«, forsøg (bl.a. »Wiebe Peters« og »Doktor Faust«), samt den populærvidenskabelige afhandling »Fugleredernes Filosofi«. Flere af teksterne er ikke udgivet siden Morten Borups udgave af Samlede Værker, 1924-29.

Redaktionsudvalg: Mogens Brøndsted, Erik Dal, Jørgen Hunosøe, Charlotte Madsen og Peter Seeberg

Originalens udgivelsesår: 1865-1884
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
Excerpt from Sechs Novellen

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