Rowe, Kaye. Book Recalls Presence of Writer Isak Dinesen. The Brandon Sun (Brandon, Manitoba, Canada) 18 March 1965, p 9

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 - Book Recalls Presence Of Writer Isak Dinesen By...
Book Recalls Presence Of Writer Isak Dinesen By KAYE ROW! Sun Feature Writer A segment of' this century knew Isak Dinesen as. a writer of unique skills. Full of years and rich in friends she died In September, 1962. A recent publication, by Random House, Isak Dinesen: a Memorial, assembles1 through the efforts of her faithful secretary Clara Svendsen a collection ot 50 essays, poems ;ana letters aoout tne autnor add : serves to recall her presence. j Baroness Karen Blixen was 40 when her first book, Seven jGothic Tales, sounded an aerie .note in the bleak winds of the 11930s. But transiently married to ;a German baron, she had crei iated' the pseudonym from her 'maiden name with the addition jof the 'Biblical Isak, a name that translates from the Hebrew to "he who laughs." For she had always liked men and books that :laugh. Her articulate admirers range from actor Zachary Scott to old native friends of African days,' from Lawrence Durrell of the Alexandria Quartet to " Cecil Beaton, the taste-maker who has left his stamp on at least two decades of fashion trends. The "Memorial" toasts not only an author of impressive accomplishment but also the Grande Dame whose presence in the century helped tend it color and vibrance. In one of her tales she wrote of perfume bottle, once Hie possession of a lady then dead. "The Mask was empty, but still gave out a faint fragrance. A mul titude of things were in it, all In one. Smiles, is you say, and tears, dauntiesmee and fear, unconquerable hope and the certainty" of failure. The recipe will have been lost by now." The recipe of Karen Dinesen Blixen of the flung net of mind, the rod of steel in character is never lost. It springs. in code from the words of hsr printed pagea in Last Tales, Winter's Tales, Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass. A woman of great courage she faced Africa and loneliness. ' accented years and the depredation of sun and sorrow on her fine-grained beau ty, accepted me grinding disciplines of the creative miter. When Ernest- Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize. jsaid that he. wished it had gone i ner. One grey Sunday morning ftlarch of 1963 we came down on the city of her birlh, Copenha gen, wnen tne cnurcnDetis were ringing. In the tours throueh muse.urn.s to look at Thorvald-son's gigantic" sculptures -and the old, castles to look at things old castles contain, our mind was on liunts'.edl'jnd, tne Dinesen home. a 300-year-old place once an inn on the road to Eisinore. Isak Dineson's home exerted more magnetic appeal thin castles and museums. We could visualize me great vases of red and gold flowers, the frothy waterfalls of muslin curtains pooling on the shining floors, me ancient mirrors which concealed reflections of those burning eyes, that fine-sculpfured head covered a with elastic skin. Rnngstedlimd in the Copenha gen suburb now is still winter's captive but' by April the birds have taken over and the 50 acres of parkland are carpeted with starry squills. Isak'Dinesen spent the last years of her life, every kroner of royalties assuring the continuity of the acreage as a permanent bird sanctuary and a place for people to walk and breathe away from pavements. ' In the recent "Memorial" ac tor John Gielgud talks of her wish, had she been a man, to play the role of Horatio. "He is the perfect friend who is silent and understands so well, said. Carson Mc'Cullers tells 61 her wish to meet Marilyn Munroe. When the occasion, came, Marilyn's beautiful blue eyes hazed in a once-upon-a-time way as she listened, as everyone listened. . Into old aee, so old that it became indelicate to 'be specific mathematically, Baroness Blixen carried her inate elegance. It was expressed in a fondness for wearing live flowers and great jewelled rings, in hats that knew no vintage date. She dined, someone recalled, on that last visit to America on a few grapes ana oysters, a glass ot cttam-pagiic. She listened for who can tell tales if they fail to' listen? -and nibbled nn a" biscuit,.. sip- pea a glass ot tomato juice. . Lured by curiosity a New York friend of ours once' made' a cross-town safari to the auditori um when Isak Dinesen was scheduled to speak. The year was 1369, the place the YMHA, long a display case for young sprouts of poets and hardy per ennial novelists. The stage had been draped in velvet, centred with a carved Renaissance-de Milk chair. The Baroness Blixen entered Dome on the arm of the chair - jitian, visibly unable to manage locomotion without external support. The great tragic eyes encircled In kohl, the essshpll head, the fragility of bones ap-! parently held by thin threads of tissue gave disturbing promise oi wnac was in store. Lowered carefully into the cnair, braced by the arm rests, me presence Began to speak in a voice tnac sounded like wind m a chimney. "I srp not ?. story teller. I would like to teil you of , . ." she began. Within five minutes a oin drcD would have caused an irritatine: disturbance. Isak Dinesen once again had worked her magic as om as me cave dwellers, of the story-tellers around old fires. fatie did it with that flung net of mind, with words potent in lmmediacyj just as she gave the textural feeline of Africa in her books. .One never forgets that the grass of Kenya is, "spiced like thyme and bog-myrtle." to o I it

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  1. The Brandon Sun,
  2. 18 Mar 1965, Thu,
  3. Page 9

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  • — Rowe, Kaye. Book Recalls Presence of Writer Isak Dinesen. The Brandon Sun (Brandon, Manitoba, Canada) 18 March 1965, p 9

    Clipped by lxs181 – 23 Dec 2016

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