Ehrengard was first published in an abridged version as “The Secret of Rosenbad” in Ladies’ Home Journal, December 1963,
a few months after Karen Blixen’s death. She had not had time to translate it into Danish, but her secretary Clara Svendsen did so
and it was published in Denmark on June 7 1963. It is as if, in this late period of her life, Karen Blixen had decided to write a
humorous and elegant epilogue to her entire oeuvre. The conflict between life and art is reconciled and, this time, the woman leaves the story victorious.
As with many of Karen Blixen’s stories (e.g. “The Dreamers” contra Don Juan), it is written as a counterpart to a well-known work,
in this case Søren Kierkegaard’s “Diary of a Seducer” from Either/Or. In “Diary of a Seducer”, Johannes plans and carries out the seduction of Cordelia.
In Karen Blixen’s tale, the artist Cazotte plans to seduce Ehrengard, not literally, but by spying on her during her morning dip in the lake, painting
a picture of her naked and thereafter making her blush when she sees the painting. She manages, however, to turn his plans against him; he is silenced
and disappears from the story, whereas in the epilogue we are told that everything turned out well for the young, vigorous Ehrengard.
The story has links to both “The Old Chevalier” in Seven Gothic Tales and “The Heroine” in Winter’s Tales.
Edited and with a foreword by Clara Svendsen, 1962. Early works by Karen Blixen, written under the pseudonym Osceola. Osceola was the name of a famous North American Indian chief who mounted armed rebellion against American troops at the beginning of the 19th century. Also the name of Wilhelm Dinesen’s German shepherd dog.
1. “Grjotgard Ålvesøn og Aud” (“Grjotgard Ålvesøn and Aud”, not translated into English), unfinished tale inspired by the Icelandic sagas. Written around 1905, not previously published.
2. “Pløjeren” (“The Ploughman”, not translated into English), short story published in Gads Danske Magasin, 1907.
3. “Eneboerne” (“The Hermits”, not translated into English), short story published in the journal Tilskueren, 1907.
4. “The de Cats Family”, short story published in Tilskueren, 1909.
5. “Vinger” (“Wings”, not translated into English), poem, not previously published.
6. “Maaneskin” (“Moonlight”, not translated into English), poem, not previously published.
7. “Medvind” (“Following Wind”, not translated into English), poem, not previously published.
8. “Vuggesang” (“Lullaby”, not translated into English), poem, not previously published.
9. “En Stjerne” (“A Star”, not translated into English). Poem, first published in Thomas Dinesen’s No Man’s Land. En Dansker med Canadierne ved Vestfronten, 1929.
10. “Balladen om mit liv” (“The Ballad of My Life”, not translated into English), poem, probably written in 1915, not previously published.
11. “Ex Africa”, poem, written in 1915 when Karen Blixen was in Denmark to be treated for syphilis and was afraid that she would not be able to return to Africa. Published in Tilskueren, 1925. Mentioned in Letters from Africa as “Masai Reserve”. Translated in Longing for Darkness, ed. Peter Beard, as “Out of Africa”.
A number of Karen Blixen’s early works appear in the yearbook of the Karen Blixen Society, Blixeniana, edited by Hans Andersen and Frans Lasson: 1983, selected and annotated by Else Cederborg; 1985, selected and annotated by Frans Lasson.
Efterladte Fortællinger (Posthumous Tales)
Edited and with an afterword by Frans Lasson, 1975
Published as Carnival. Entertainments and Posthumous Tales, with the addition of the story “The Ghost Horses” and a foreword by Frans Lasson, 1977.
1. “The de Cats Family”, first published in the journal Tilskueren, 1909.
2. “Uncle Theodore”, early tale.
3. “Carnival”, one of Karen Blixen’s first Gothic tales. Should have been included in the collection Nine Tales by Nodzdref’s Cook, which was reduced for publication to Seven Gothic Tales.
4. “The Last Day”, intended for Winter’s Tales.
5. “Uncle Seneca”, published in English in The Saturday Evening Post, New York, 1949. Published in Danish in the weekly magazine Hjemmet, 1957.
6. “The Fat Man”, written with a view to publication in the American Ladies’ Home Journal.
7. “Anna”, written with a view to publication in the American Ladies’ Home Journal.
8. “The Ghost Horses”, published in Ladies’ Home Journal, 1951.
9. “The Proud Lady”, written with a view to publication in the American Ladies’ Home Journal.
10. “The Bear and the Kiss”, intended for inclusion in Anecdotes of Destiny.
11. “Second Meeting”, written in 1961. An Albondocani-tale, intended for inclusion in Last Tales.
As can be seen from this list, many of the tales were written when Karen Blixen was young. They show a youthful author with an obvious writing talent. The difference between these tales and her later, major works is that that the mature Karen Blixen had more to write about.
“Second Meeting”, one of the posthumous tales not included in the later collections during Karen Blixen’s lifetime, is especially interesting as it foretells what happened to Karen Blixen’s name and her works after her death. Like a number of the Last Tales and Anecdotes of Destiny, “Second Meeting” is about the relationship between the artist’s life and work. The central character in the tale is the British poet, Lord Byron, who stops over in Genoa on his way to Greece. Here he meets his double, Pipistrello, the director of a marionette theatre, who 14 years previously had saved Lord Byron from a band of robbers. His reward had been a sovereign, which he had used to start his marionette theatre. But, he tells Lord Byron, by so doing he had “forfeited my claim to a real human life. The harmony of it from then on was the harmony of the story. Certainly it is a great happiness to be able to turn the things which happen to you into stories. It is perhaps the one perfect happiness that a human being will find in life. But it is at the same time, inexplicably to the uninitiated, a loss, a curse even. What I have gained through these fourteen years is then a knowledge of the story and everything concerning it.”
The prophecy regarding the later interest in Karen Blixen and her writings is found in the final exchange. Pipistrello and Lord Byron are talking about what will happen with his books in the future. Pipistrello thinks that Lord Byron’s books will be read less in a hundred years’ time and adds:
“But one book” said Pipistrello, “will be rewritten and reread, and will each year in a new edition be set upon the shelf.”
“Which book is that?” Lord Byron asked.
“The Life of Lord Byron,” said Pipistrello.
Kongesønnerne og andre efterladte fortællinger (The King’s Sons and other Posthumous Tales, not translated into English)
1985. Edited and with an afterword by Frans Lasson. A reissue of Efterladte fortællinger, with photographs and the addition of two early stories from Osceola (1962) – “Eneboerne” (“The Hermits”) and “Pløjeren” (“The Ploughman”) – and two stories first published in Blixeniana in 1981 and 1978 respectively – “Brudeparret ventes” (“The Bridal Couple is Expected”) (circa 1909) and “Kongesønnerne” (“The King’s Sons”) (written by Karen Blixen for an evening reading in Oslo, 1946).
Karneval og andre fortællinger
1994. Edited and with an afterword by Frans Lasson. A reissue of Kongesønnerne og andre efterladte fortællinger, with photographs and the addition of “The Ghost Horses” (first published in Ladies’ Home Journal) and Ehrengard (first published as an independent book in 1963).