Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (1937)

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

From the 1992 Modern Library edition:  Out of Africa is Isak Dinesen’s memoir of her years in Africa, from 1914 to 1931, on a four-thousand acre coffee plantation in the hills of Nairobi. She had come to Kenya from Denmark with her husband, and when they separated she stayed on to manage the farm herself, visited frequently by her lover, the big-game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton.

For him, she would make up stories “like Scheherazade,” In Africa, “I learned how to tell tales,” she recalled many years later. “The natives have an ear still. I told stories constantly to them, all kinds.”

Her account of her African adventures, written after she had lost her beloved farm and returned to Denmark, is that of a master storyteller, a woman whom John Updike called “one of the most picturesque and flamboyant literary personalities of the century.”


Great Quotes from Out of Africa

“Men go off to be tested for courage and if we’re tested at all, it’s for patience, for doing without, for how well we can endure loneliness.”


“Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.” 


“Here I am, where I am supposed to be.”


“People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the artist, who has no will, who is free of will.”


More about Out of Africa


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