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Babette's Feast (Penguin Mini Modern Classics) Paperback – 15 Feb 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (15 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141195932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141195933
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.4 x 16.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 522,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Isak Dinesen was the pen-name of Karen Blixen, who was born in Rungsted, Denmark in 1885. After studying art at Copenhagen, Paris and Rome, she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, in 1914. Together they went to Kenya to manage a coffee plantation. After their divorce in 1921, she continued to run the plantation until a collapse in the coffee market forced her back to Denmark in 1931. Although she had written occasional contributions to Danish periodicals since 1905 (under the nom de plume of Osceola), her real début took place in 1934 with the publication of Seven Gothic Tales, written in English under her pen-name. Out of Africa (1937) is an autobiographical account of the years she spent in Kenya. Most of her subsequent books were published in English and Danish simultaneously. She died in Rungsted in 1962.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Pearce on 23 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Gabriel Axel's truly wonderful film of the same name which adheres very closely to this short story by Karen Blixen(Isak Dinesen -played by Meryl Streep in Out Of Africa) has remained an enchantment since I first saw it in 1988.I had never read Blixen's story until now and unsurprisingly what a joy.

Released as part of Penguin's Celebrations marking 50 yrs of their modern classics imprint,the story revolves around two deeply religious Norwegian sisters who welcome into their midst a middle aged french lady escaping persecution in France who serves the women unsparingly for 12 yrs until....to reveal more would spoil the enjoyment for anyone unfamiliar with this tale..

Even at only 54 pages,Blixen is still able to weave a beautifully subtle and nuanced tale redolent with moments of profound regret and loss which rather than make the tale an melancholic affair,does exactly the opposite and the story sparkles -Papin's letter to the sisters being a perfect example-touching and sad on the surface,he nevertheless delights in his short acquaintance with the sisters.

Truly a delightful story and one to cherish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Robert J. Barker on 21 April 2011
Format: Paperback
I agree; I also saw the wonderful film first. But there is almost more in this short story (explicit and implicit) even than in the film. I used to show that to students to illustrate some aspects of Kierkegaard's philosophy, but now I wouldn't need to. Although Kierkegaard used to think he could express his meaning better at great and sometimes confusing length, these 53 pages suggest otherwise!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This afternoon I reread Babette's Feast, a short story by Karen Blixen, best known for of Out of Africa.

The theme of a shared meal, and its ability to transform events or even to change lives, is a common one in literature. Writers have always use food and wine to bring about changes in mood, confessions, confrontations, and of course, seductions. From the Last Supper to Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, meals have meant drama.

Babette's Feast is a beautiful jewel of a story set in a quiet, rigorously Lutheran village in Norway. Two spinster sisters live a life of religious observation, modesty and prayer among the congregation of their late father, who had been the minister. Babette, a refugee from the Paris Commune, arrives unexpectedly with a letter from a long-rejected suitor of the younger sister, begging to be given shelter.

For twelve years she works tirelessly and becomes a model servant. She rarely, if ever, speaks of her former life, until she unexpectedly wins ten thousand Francs in a lottery.

He parting gift to the sisters is a French meal, to which twelve of their friends are invited. General Lorens Löwenhielm arrives with his aunt, but finds himself brought low by melancholic thoughts of his youth. Returning to the house has reminded him of his unrequited love for the younger sister.

As a young officer he had spent several years in Paris, where he gained a taste for, and some knowledge of, fine food and wine. To his astonishment, the meal flawlessly recreates the signature dishes of the Café Anglais, and its celebrated chef, whose work he had once been captivated by.

This is an enchanting story, simply and skilfully told, by a writer at the height of her powers. Perhaps Blixen too, on her farm in Africa, sometimes yearned for the magic of great food and conversation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bernie on 6 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Bought this as a bookclub recommendation and despite being a short story it was really enjoyable and atmospheric. Good characters that are well portrayed and engaging within a strong storyline - I have never seen the film but I am glad I read the book first
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Format: Paperback
The story and the language (translation) are so quaint.

As it such a short story, it would be difficult to summarise and add detail to the publisher's blurb, without spoilers, so I won't. What I would say, though, is that this is a book that I could read several times, and learn something new each time. You know how it is when you view a detailed oil painting for the tenth time, and notice something that you've never seen before? Well, this is the equivalent in book form.

Watch out for a lesson in grace.

This book is almost guaranteed to be different to anything that you have ever read before. Try it for yourself.
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Format: Paperback
In a beautifully written tale on austere existence, the two daughters and ageing followers of a late preacher are put to the test with a sumptuous meal of ostentatious splendour. Questions arise. Is their devout lifetime of sensory and aesthetic denial to be soured by such a decadent delectation? Will their values be proved steadfastly or laid bare as bygone superstition? And will the mysterious Babette be brought low by the rumoured transgressions of her past, or will fortune favour her stoic and unyielding perseverance?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a beautiful book this is - the beautiful prose and carefully drawn characters in such a short story. I loved it - the subtle interplay of religion, artistry, a life of sacrifice and a sacrificed life. A wonderful fable - read it!
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