Karen Blixen (1885-1962), also known by her pseudonym, Isak Dinesen, is famous for her memoir, Out of Africa, and for several works of fiction, including Seven Gothic Tales (1934) and Winter's Tales (1942).
A 2007 poll of opinion in her native Denmark lists Karen Blixen as one of the most representative personalities in Danish history. She was several times nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. She wrote in English, after living on a coffee farm in Kenya from 1914 to 1931. She married her second cousin, Baron Bror Blixen of Sweden, thereby acquiring the title Baroness. Following their separation and divorce, she had a long affair with the safari hunter, Denys Finch Hatton, son of a titled English family.
In 1931, after losing the coffee farm in the Great Depression, Karen Blixen returned to Denmark and embarked on the writing career that lasted until her death in 1962. She was played by Meryl Streep in the 1985 film Out of Africa.
Karen Blixen [Isak Dinesen] can be compared with no other writers. Her voice was formed by her Scandinavian roots, and influenced by a wide variety of works of European literature. Her writing places emphasis on story, rather than characters, and on the philosophical understanding of personal identity. Her stories underline a fascination with the role of fate in controlling the lives of human beings.
She believed that a person's response to the vicissitudes of fate offers a possibility for heroism and, ultimately, for immortality.