Jens Bjørneboe

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Jens Bjørneboe
Jens Bjorneboe underviser Rudolf Steinerskolen i Oslo 1952.jpg
Born(1920-10-09)9 October 1920
Kristiansand, Norway
Died9 May 1976(1976-05-09) (aged 55)
Veierland, Nøtterøy, Norway
OccupationAuthor, Waldorf school teacher
NationalityNorwegian
Period1951–1976
Children Therese Bjørneboe
Relatives Ejlert Bjerke (uncle)
André Bjerke (cousin)
Dag Solstad (son-in-law)
Vilhelm Tveteraas (father-in-law)
Signe Hofgaard (mother-in-law)
Sven Kærup Bjørneboe (nephew)

Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe (9 October 1920 – 9 May 1976) was a Norwegian writer whose work spanned a number of literary formats. He was also a painter and a Waldorf 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 opinions cost him both an obscenity conviction as well as long periods of heavy drinking and bouts of depression, which in the end led to his suicide. [1]

Western culture Norms, values and political systems originating in Europe

Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society, and European civilization, is the heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, artifacts and technologies that originated in or are associated with Europe. The term also applies beyond Europe to countries and cultures whose histories are strongly connected to Europe by immigration, colonization, or influence. For example, Western culture includes countries in the Americas and Australasia, whose language and demographic ethnicity majorities are of European descent. Western culture has its roots in Greco-Roman culture from classical antiquity.

An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time. It is derived from the Latin obscaena (offstage) a cognate of the Ancient Greek root skene, because some potentially offensive content, such as murder or sex, was depicted offstage in classical drama. The word can be used to indicate a strong moral repugnance, in expressions such as "obscene profits" or "the obscenity of war". As a legal term, it usually refers to graphic depictions of people engaged in sexual and excretory activity.

Suicide Intentional act of causing ones own death

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse—including alcoholism and the use of benzodiazepines—are risk factors. Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress, such as from financial difficulties, relationship problems such as breakups, or bullying. Those who have previously attempted suicide are at a higher risk for future attempts. Effective suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to methods of suicide—such as firearms, drugs, and poisons; treating mental disorders and substance misuse; careful media reporting about suicide; and improving economic conditions. Even though crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.

Contents

Jens Bjørneboe's first published work was Poems (Dikt) in 1951. He 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. [1]

During the Norwegian language struggle, Bjørneboe was a notable proponent of the Riksmål language, together with his equally famous cousin André Bjerke. [1]

Riksmål is a written Norwegian language form or spelling standard, meaning the National Language, closely related and now almost identical to the dominant form of Bokmål, known as Moderate Bokmål.

André Bjerke Norwegian poet

Jarl André Bjerke was a Norwegian writer and poet. He wrote a wide range of material: poems, mystery novels, essays, and articles. He translated works by Shakespeare, Molière, Goethe and Racine. Bjerke was known as a prominent proponent of the Riksmål language during the Norwegian language struggle, and of anthroposophy, especially in the 1950s.

Early life

Jens Bjørneboe was born in 1920, in Kristiansand to Ingvald and Anna Marie Bjørneboe. He grew up in a wealthy family, his father a shipping magnate and a consul for Belgium. The Bjørneboe family originally immigrated from Germany in the 17th century and later adopted their Norwegian name. Coming from a long line of marine officers, Bjørneboe also went to sea as a young man. [1]

Kristiansand City in Norway

Kristiansand, historically spelled Christianssand and Christiansand, is a city and municipality in Norway. It is the fifth largest city in Norway and the municipality is the sixth largest in Norway, with a population of 88,598 as of June 2016. In addition to the city itself, Statistics Norway counts four other densely populated areas in the municipality: Skålevik in Flekkerøy with a population of 3,526 in the Vågsbygd borough, Strai with a population of 1,636 in the Grim borough, Justvik with a population of 1,803 in the Lund borough, and Tveit with a population of 1,396 in the Oddernes borough. Kristiansand is divided into five boroughs: Grim, which is located northwest in Kristiansand with a population of 15,000; Kvadraturen, which is the centre and downtown Kristiansand with a population of 5,200; Lund, the second largest borough; Oddernes, a borough located in the west; and Vågsbygd, the largest borough with a population of 36,000, located in the southwest.

Magnate noble family

A magnate, from the late Latin magnas, a great man, itself from Latin magnus, "great", is a noble or a man in a high social position, by birth, wealth or other qualities. In reference to the Middle Ages, the term is often used to distinguish higher territorial landowners and warlords such as counts, earls, dukes, and territorial-princes from the baronage, and in Poland for the richest Szlachta.

Consul (representative) diplomatic rank

A consul is an official representative of the government of one state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the people of the two countries.

Bjørneboe had a troubled childhood with sickness and depressions. He was bedbound for several years following severe pneumonia. At thirteen he attempted suicide by hanging himself. He began drinking when he was twelve, and he would often consume large amounts of wine when his parents were away. It is also rumored that he drank his father's aftershave on several occasions. [1]

Pneumonia Infection of the lungs

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung affecting primarily the small air sacs known as alveoli. Typically symptoms include some combination of productive or dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Severity is variable.

Hanging execution or suicide method involving suspension of a person by a ligature

Hanging is the suspension of a person by a noose or ligature around the neck. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain "hanging". Hanging has been a common method of capital punishment since medieval times, and is the primary execution method in numerous countries and regions. The first known account of execution by hanging was in Homer's Odyssey. In this specialised meaning of the common word hang, the past and past participle is hanged instead of hung.

Aftershave liquid applied to the shaved area of the face after shaving

Aftershave is a product applied to skin after shaving. Traditionally it is an alcohol based liquid (splash), but it can be a lotion, gel, or even a paste.

In 1943 Bjørneboe fled to Sweden to avoid forced labor under the Nazi occupation. During this exile, he met the German Jewish painter Lisel Funk, who later became his first wife. Lisel Funk introduced him to many aspects of German culture, especially German literature and the arts. [1]

Sweden during World War II

Sweden maintained its policy of neutrality during World War II. When the war began on September 1, 1939, the fate of Sweden was unclear. But by a combination of its geopolitical location in the Scandinavian Peninsula, successful realpolitik maneuvering during an unpredictable course of events, and a dedicated military build-up after 1942, Sweden succeeded in keeping its official neutrality status throughout the war.

History of the Jews in Germany the history of Jews and Judaism in modern and historical Germany

The history of the Jews in Germany goes back to the Early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages when Jewish settlers founded the Ashkenazi Jewish community. The community survived under Charlemagne, but suffered during the Crusades. Accusations of well poisoning during the Black Death (1346–53) led to mass slaughter of German Jews and they fled in large numbers to Poland. The Jewish communities of the cities of Mainz, Speyer and Worms became the center of Jewish life during Medieval times. "This was a golden age as area bishops protected the Jews resulting in increased trade and prosperity." The First Crusade began an era of persecution of Jews in Germany. Entire communities, like those of Trier, Worms, Mainz and Cologne, were murdered. The war upon the Hussite heretics became the signal for renewed persecution of Jews. The end of the 15th century was a period of religious hatred that ascribed to Jews all possible evils. The atrocities during the Khmelnytsky Uprising committed by Khmelnytskyi's Cossacks drove the Polish Jews back into western Germany. With Napoleon's fall in 1815, growing nationalism resulted in increasing repression. From August to October 1819, pogroms that came to be known as the Hep-Hep riots took place throughout Germany. During this time, many German states stripped Jews of their civil rights. As a result, many German Jews began to emigrate.

Literary career

Bjørneboe's 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). Ere the Cock Crows is a critique of what Bjørneboe saw as the harsh treatment, after the Second World War, of people suspected of having associated in any way with the Nazis (among them the Norwegian writer and Nobel Prize in Literature winner Knut Hamsun). Jonas deals with injustices and shortcomings of the school system and The Evil Shepherd with the Norwegian prison system.

His most significant work is generally 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 them The Bird Lovers (Fugleelskerne, 1966), Semmelweis (1968) and Amputation (Amputasjon, 1970), a collaboration 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 editions, and Bjørneboe's financial problems were (for a period) solved.

His last major work was the novel The Sharks (Haiene, 1974).

Death and legacy

After having struggled with depression and alcoholism for a long time, he committed suicide by hanging on 9 May 1976. [2]

In his obituary in Aftenposten , Bjørneboe's life and legacy were described as follows:

For 25 years Jens Bjørneboe was a center of unrest in Norwegian cultural life: Passionately concerned with contemporary problems in nearly all their aspects, controversial and with the courage to be so, with a conscious will to carry things to extremes. He was not to be pigeonholed. He dropped in on many philosophical and political movements, but couldn't settle down in any of them. He was a wanderer, always traveling on in search of what was for him the truth—and he was a free man, in that he always ruthlessly followed his innermost intentions. Perhaps he could say, like Søren Kierkegaard, that "subjectivity is truth," for he knew no other guide than his personal conviction and his own impulses—but he related not merely to himself; his deepest concern was society and the person in society. His subjective grasp always involved the totality. [3]

Bibliography

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Wandrup, Fredrik (1984). Jens Bjørneboe: Mannen, myten og kunsten(Norwegian)|format= requires |url= (help). Gyldendal. ISBN   9788205309388. OCLC   474759180.
  2. Cody, Gabrielle H.; Sprinchorn, Evert (2007). "Bjørneboe, Jens Ingvald (1920-1976)". The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama. 1. Columbia University Press. pp. 161–162. ISBN   978-0-231-14422-3 . Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  3. Obituary, Aftenposten , 11 May 1976