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Wilhelm Jensen

Wilhelm Jensen

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Wilhelm Hermann Jensen (15 February 1837 - 24 November 1911) was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

 and poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

.

Biography


Wilhelm Jensen was born at Heiligenhafen
Heiligenhafen
Heiligenhafen is a town in the district of Ostholstein, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated on the Baltic Sea coast, opposite the island Fehmarn, approx. 60 km northeast of Lübeck, and 55 km east of Kiel.-Geography:...

 in Holstein
Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

 (Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

), the natural son of Swenn Hans Jensen (1795–1855), the Mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 of the city of Kiel, later administrator (Landvogt) of the German/Danish island of Sylt
Sylt
Sylt is an island in northern Germany, part of Nordfriesland district, Schleswig-Holstein, and well known for the distinctive shape of its shoreline. It belongs to the North Frisian Islands and is the largest island in North Frisia...

, who came of old patrician Frisia
Frisia
Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

n stock. Jensen was the son-in-law of the journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 and writer Johann August Moritz Bruehl (1819–1877), the father-in-law of the historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 and editor
Editor in chief
An editor-in-chief is a publication's primary editor, having final responsibility for the operations and policies. Additionally, the editor-in-chief is held accountable for delegating tasks to staff members as well as keeping up with the time it takes them to complete their task...

 Eduard Heyck, and the grandfather of the writer and poet Hans Heyck.

After attending the classical schools at Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

 and Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

, Jensen studied medicine at the universities of Kiel
University of Kiel
The University of Kiel is a university in the city of Kiel, Germany. It was founded in 1665 as the Academia Holsatorum Chiloniensis by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and has approximately 23,000 students today...

, Würzburg
University of Würzburg
The University of Würzburg is a university in Würzburg, Germany, founded in 1402. The university is a member of the distinguished Coimbra Group.-Name:...

 and Breslau. He, however, abandoned the medical profession for that of letters, and after engaging for some years in individual private study proceeded to Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, where he associated with men of letters. After a residence in Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 (1865–1869), where for a short time he conducted the Schwabische Volks-Zeitung and became the life-long friend of the writer Wilhelm Raabe, he became editor in Flensburg
Flensburg
Flensburg is an independent town in the north of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Flensburg is the centre of the region of Southern Schleswig...

 of the Norddeutsche Zeitung. In 1872 he again returned to Kiel, lived from 1876 to 1888 in Freiburg im Breisgau, and from 1888 until his death was a resident of Munich and St. Salvator near Prien
Prien
Prien may refer to:*Prien am Chiemsee, a municipality in Bavaria, Germany*Prien, Louisiana, a place in Louisiana, United States*Günther Prien, a U-Boat captain from World War Two...

 on Lake Chiemsee.

Literary works


Jensen was perhaps the most fertile of German writers of fiction of his era, more than one hundred and fifty works having proceeded from his pen; but only comparatively few of them have caught the public taste; such as the novels, Karin von Schweden (Berlin, 1878); Die braune Erica (Berlin, 1868); and the tale, Die Pfeifer von Dusenbach, Eine Geschichte aus dem Elsass (1884). Among others may be mentioned: Barthenia (Berlin, 1877); Götz und Gisela (Berlin, 1886); Heimkunft (Dresden, 1894); Aus See und Sand (Dresden, 1897); Luv und Lee (Berlin, 1897); and the narratives, Aus den Tagen der Hansa (Leipzig, 1885); Aus stiller Zeit (Berlin, 1881–1885); and Heimat. Jensen also published some tragedies, among which Dido (Berlin, 1870) and Der Kampf fürs Reich (Freiburg im Br., 1884) may be mentioned. Jensen was also a gifted poet. A collection of his poetry is contained in "Vom Morgen zum Abend" (1897).

Jensen is now chiefly remembered as the author of the novella "Gradiva", which attracted the attention of Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

. Freud's analysis of this work (1907) is his longest interpretation of a literary work. It is available in English as Delusion and Dream in Wilhelm Jensen´s "Gradiva"
Delusion and Dream in Jensen's Gradiva
Delusion and Dream in Jensen's Gradiva is an essay by Sigmund Freud that subjects the novel Gradiva by Wilhelm Jensen, and especially its protagonist, to psychoanalysis....

(Reprint 1993).