Tania Blixen. 1990. Ehrengard. Suhrkamp. Frankfurt am Main.
Well, first of all there is to say, that Tania Blixen isn’t the author’s real name, but nevertheless many novels of hers were published under this name.
Actually her name is Karen Blixen (1885 – 1962), so don’t ask me, please, how she ended up becoming Tania. Maybe it derived from her childhood name, Tanne, but I don’t know, really. It nevertheless is the name her books are published as Tania Blixen in Germany. At some time in her life, Blixen was also writing under the pseudonym Isaak Dinesen, especially in English speaking countries, as Dinesen was her birth name. The Danish author wrote both, Danish and English books.
Blixen also used to live in the part of Africa, that is Kenia today. She had a farm there for about 17 years until she sold it again because it didn’t go too well. In the meanwhile her life hat many ups and downs, she was infected with syphillis and other troubles had to be suffered through. I recommend everybody who is interested in her to read a biography. Her life is too interesting just to put it into a few paragraphs. Her most important works are probably Seven Gothic Tales and Out of Africa.
I read Blixen’s book Ehrengard, which was published after her death, and I am afraid to say that it didn’t have that much to do with Denmark as I had hoped. To be honest: It actually had nothing to do with it. Shame on me for picking it, probably, but from the description, which didn’t say much about the plot or anything, I couldn’t tell.
It all starts of with the prince of Fugger-Babenhausen was about to marry, but before that could happen, he had his wife to be pregnant. Trying to avoid a scandal, his mother then decides to make a plan with her dear friend, Cazotte, and together they find a castle where the parents to be should life together with the closest people so nobody would reveal their secret. The whole country shouldn’t know that the baby was going to be two months earlier than it was possible. They decide on Ehrengard, a young woman of noble descend to become the princesse’s maid of honour. While everything with the child goes well, Cazotte plays a little game with the young Ehrengard to show her, that she had feelings towards him. One night, the baby boy and his nurse are being kidnapped and Ehrengard herself, being a strong women, sets out for finding them. And so she does…
I won’t reveal the ending of the story now in case somebody wants to read this book now, but I must admit, that I was a bit disappointed. I wasn’t because I didn’t like the book, no, I did, but I actually was a bit disappointed because I chose one that didn’t have that much to do with Denmark or the Danish culture. Maybe that was because Blixen is an international writer, so to say, or because I didn’t choose one of the right books she wrote. I have read other books of hers before, so I was actually aware of her way of writing. So I can’t say that much about this book being Danish in any way. If you enjoy a fast and more or less light read though, you can choose it without doubt. There won’t be too much happening, but the style of Blixen’s writing is good and comfortable to read. There are worse things in life, aren’t there?