Daily Archives for: August 31st, 2019

Babette’s Feast: The 1958 Short Story by Isak Dinesen, and the 1987 film

It may be fair to say that the acclaimed 1987 film, Babette’s Feast, is better known than the short story by Danish author Isak Dinesen upon which it’s based. In fact, it’s possible that fans of the movie aren’t aware that it’s based on Dinesen’s story, nor even anything about her.

Isak Dinesen (1885 – 1962) was the nom de plume of this writer, best known for her 1937 memoir Out of Africa, which details her life as the owner of a coffee plantation in colonial Kenya. Born Karen Christenze Dinesen into a family of aristocrats, merchants, and landed gentry, she was later known after marriage as Karen von Blixen-Finecke. The marriage conferred on her the title of Baroness, but didn’t last. Her ex-husband’s philandering left her with the lifelong effects of syphilis.

Dinesen eventually had to give up the coffee plantation. She was above all else a storyteller, and her first book, Seven Gothic Tales (1934), was published soon after she returned to Denmark from Africa, broke, and alone. This collection of short stories was a surprise hit both in the U.S. and Europe. Short form fiction remained Dinesen’s mainstay throughout her writing career. Read More→


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