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European Journal of Scandinavian Studies

Ed. by Böldl, Klaus / Rühling, Lutz / van der Liet, Henk

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.02

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.100
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.188

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Omkring Johannes V. Jensens himmerlandshistorie ”Wombwell”

Aage Jørgensen
Published Online: 2015-04-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ejss-2015-0002


This article discusses one of Johannes V. Jensens ”Himmerland Sto­ries”, ”Wombwell”, which appeared in Nye Himmerlandshistorier in 1904, as well as some related texts. ”Wombwell” may be said to illustrate how the tradition-bound inhabitants of rural Himmerland experienced the hurried, violent modern world passing by in the shape of the well-known, world-famous English menagerie established in 1805 by George Wombwell, whose successors as a matter of fact toured in Northern Jutland in the summer of 1888. A major issue raised in the text is a longing Wombwell’s magnificent appearance inspires in the minds of three local youngsters, now wishing to escape from their familiar milieu. An equivalent longing motivates the hero’s departure from his childhood setting in popular tales in order to take possession of unknown parts of the outer (and inner) world. In Jensen’s story this aspect is represented by Miss Alice, the attractive lion trainer of the menagerie. Aspects like these are also unfolded in three other texts of Jensen to which ”Wombwell” is compared, ”Løverne” (“The Lions”), ”Circus Rieger” and ”Menageriet” (“The Menagerie”).

These texts point to a major generic issue in Jensen’s Himmerland stories, in that he navigates along the borderline between childhood remembrance and fictional creation, or between description and narration. That borderline becomes blurred and even disappears since the process of remembrance turns out to be much more creative than simply reconstructive.

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Published Online: 2015-04-13

Published in Print: 2015-04-01

Citation Information: European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, Volume 45, Issue 1, Pages 16–34, ISSN (Online) 2191-9402, ISSN (Print) 2191-9399, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ejss-2015-0002.

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