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The Fall of the King by Johannes V. Jensen

The Fall of the King (1901)

by Johannes V. Jensen

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" He was a witness to a cataclysmic event in the history of the North.,
By sally tarbox on 23 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
In 1520, Denmark's king Christian II secured his position by instigating the notorious Stockholm Bloodbath. Ultimately, however, this 'highly gifted but despotic and unstable ruler' (Prof T K Derry, cited in Insight Guide to Denmark) was imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Jensen's novel is the story of the life of one Mikkel Thogersen, an impoverished student, who goes through life in the king's service:
'Throughout his life Mikkel had felt that his fate was wedded to the king's. It was as if their paths were ever converging. the closer Mikkel had come to the king, the farther the king had fallen!'
This is quite a lyrical book; the Danish countryside, rural life of the 16th century, love...and against this the brutality of life: violent battles, animals slaughtered, the coldness and bleakness of winter.
Although I've given this 3 stars for enjoyability - found my concentration drifting at times - I must just say that it does remain with you when you've finished. Worth reading. ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
The Fall of the King (1901) is a Danish novel by Nobel-laureate Johannes V. Jensen (1944). Jensen is not well known or read in English but this is his most popular work in translation. In Denmark the novel was recently voted as one of the most important Danish works of the 20th century. It's technically historical fiction, set in the early 16th century during the violent upheavals of the wars of religion, centered around the 1520 Stockholm Bloodbath which was a very important event for the next 300 years of Danish history. But really the novel is a mix of hard realism, and beautiful lyrical prose poetry - the two mix in a way that creates something greater than the parts. For Jensen the history is a setting and the small details of the 16th century are illuminating. Even though it's only about 260 pages it felt like a 3-volume epic. This is because Jensen believed that plot was less important than getting to the heart of the matter and giving the impression of a thing through key details and scenes. Thus a lot can happen in a short space. I found it quite effective. The main theme is indecision and futility of life, which Jensen saw as a negative trait of the Danish character. It's evident throughout but is most memorable when King Christian sails back and forth between Sweden and Denmark unable to decide what to do. Even though I am not Danish or know much of its history I was really moved by the story. ( )
  Stbalbach | Jan 6, 2013 |
Det er en ( )
  tildeyde | Nov 9, 2007 |
Many times voted as the best by ever written in Danish. It's true as far as I'm concerned. ( )
  whiteberg | Sep 19, 2007 |
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The road bore to the left over a bridge, then in through the village of Serritslev.
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