Bjørneboe, Jens

Jens Bjørneboe (born October 9, 1920) was a writer whose work spanned a number of literary formats. He was also a painter and a school teacher. Bjørneboe was a harsh and eloquent critic of Norwegian society and Western civilization on the whole. He led a turbulent life and his uncompromising humanity would cost him both an obscenity conviction (for Without a Stitch, 1966) as well as long periods of heavy drinking and bouts of depression, which in the end led to his suicide in 1976.

Bjørneboe is widely considered to be one of Norway's most important post-war authors. Bjørneboe identified himself, among other self-definitions, as an anarcho-nihilist.

Bjørneboes early work was poetry, and his first book was Poems ( Dikt, 1951), consisting mainly of deeply religious poetry.
Bjørneboe wrote a number of socially critical novels. Among those were Ere the Cock Crows ( Før Hanen Galer, 1952), Jonas (1955) and The Evil Shepherd ( Den Onde Hyrde, 1960).
His most central work is by many considered to be the trilogy The History of Bestiality, consisting of the novels Moment of Freedom ( Frihetens Øyeblikk, 1966), Powderhouse ( Kruttårnet, 1969) and The Silence ( Stillheten, 1973).
Bjørneboe also wrote a number of plays, among those were The Bird Lovers ( Fugleelskerne, 1966), Semmelweis (1968) and Amputation ( Amputasjon, 1970), where he cooperated with Eugenio Barba and the Danish theatre ensemble Odin Teatret.
In 1967, he was convicted for publishing a novel deemed pornographic, Without a Stitch ( Uten en tråd, 1966), which was confiscated and banned in Norway. The trial, however, made the book a huge success (in foreign languages), and Bjørneboe's financial problems were (for a period) solved. Later on, the Danish director Annelise Meineche based a film on it. It received bad reviews.
His last major work was the novel The Sharks ( Haiene, 1974).

Selected bibliography & translations

Year Norwegian title English Title Rights sold to Foreign publisher
1964 Drømmen og hjulet The Dream and the Wheel
French Plein chant
1960 Den onde hyrde The Evil Shepherd
Danish Schønberg
Finnish Karisto
German Hinstorff
1959 Blåmann Blue Man
Estonian Kirjastus "Perioodika"
1955 Jonas Jonas
American English Bobbs-Merrill
Danish Jespersen og Pios
Estonian LibrArius
Finnish Arvi A. Karisto
German Verlag Freies Geistesleben
Lithuanian Lietuvos rašytojus sajungos leidykla
Swedish Norstedts
1953 Ariadne: Dikt Ariadne: Poems
1952 Før hanen galer Before the Rooster Crows
Danish Aschehoug
German Merlin
Swedish Norstedts
1951 Dikt Poems

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