Art of Storytelling in Izak Dinesen as Danish Shahrzad Based on W. Benjamin's Views

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature & Languages, Arak University, Arak, Iran



This essay shows how Isak Dinesen, as Danish Shahrazad, has used the art of storytelling, combining her lived experiences with European and African traditions of oral storytelling in her works in different periods. As an enthusiastic child, Dinesen has listened to the tales told by her grandfather. As the second, Dinesen has travelled to Africa. As the third, she has mixed the Eastern and Western tales to form her artistic identity and her world literature. This article justifies the connection between the three periods of Dinesen's life and his works to show how she has gained her place as a storyteller. As for the theoretical framework, a mention is made of W. Benjamin's classic article and its relation to the characteristics of Dinesen's storytelling. To explain these features, “The Blank Page” is examined briefly. One finding is that Dinesen has used the European and African storytelling traditions as a catalyst. In short, if Shahrzad is considered a storyteller in presence, Dinesen is considered a traveling storyteller.


Main Subjects

Abbasi, P  ., “Dar Defa az GheseGooie: Motale-ye Tatbighi-ye SandBad-e Bahri-e Hezar-o Yek Shab va Sorud-e Daryanavard-e Ruzegar-e Dur-e Samuel Taylor Coleridge”, Research in Contemporary World Literature [Pazhuhesh-e Zabanha-ye Khareji], vol. 2, (1393): 173-190.
 Aiken, Susan Hardy, and Gurli A. W. Isak Dinesen and Narrativity: Reassessments for the 1990s, McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, vol. 3, 1994.
Benjamin, Walter. “Storyteller: Reflections on Nikolai Leskov”. Translated by Morad    Farhadpoor & Fazallah Pakzad, Arghanoon, vol. 9-10, (1375) : 1-26.
Brantly, Susan. Understanding Isak Dinesen. University of South Carolina Press, 2002.
Cate, C. “Isak Dinesen: The Scheherazade of our Times”. Cornhill Magazine, vol. 171 (1959): 132-133.
Dinesen, Isak. The Winter’s Tales (collection of stories). Edited by Hormoz Riyahi, Nashr-e Peykan, 1383.
Farsian, Mohammad Reza, and Somaye Khabir. “Women in One Thousand and One Nights and Asian Novels of Gobineau: A Comparative Study” [Baresi-ye Tatbighi-ye Zan-madarane-ye Gheseha-ye Hezar-o Yek Shab va Dastanha-ye Asiai-ye Gubino]. Research in Contemporary World Literature [Pazhuhesh-e Zabanha-ye Khareji], vol, 23, no. 2 (1397): 485-508,.
Gubar, Susan. “The Blank Page and the Issues of Female Creativity”, Critical Inquiry,vol. 8 (1981): 243-263.
Halsall, A. W. “Methods of Narratology and Rhetoric for Analyzing Isak Dinesen’s ‘The Blank Page’.  Isak Dinesen and Narrativity: Reassessments for the 1990s. Edited by Gurli A. Woods. vol. 3. McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, 1994.
Hannah, Donald. Isak Dinesen and Karen Blixen: The Mask and the Reality. Putnam, 1971.
Johannesson, Eric Oscar, and Karen Blixen-Finecke Baroness. The World of Isak Dinesen. University of Washington Press, 1961.
Kemp, M. A. “The Silent Tale: Pragmatic Strategy in “The Blank Page”. Isak Dinesen and Narrativity: Reassessments for the 1990s. Edited by Gurli A. Woods. vol. 3. McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, 1994, 165-79.
Landy, Marcia. “Anecdote as Destiny: Isak Dinesen & the Storyteller.”. The Massachusetts, vol. 19 (1978): 389-406.
Robert, L. “The Gayety of Vision. A Study of Isak Dinesen’s Art.”. Chatto and Windus, (1964).
Skredsvig, Kari Meyers. “The Fundamentals of Feminism: Teller and Tale in Dinesen’ s ‘The Blank Page’”. Revista de Filología y Lingüística de la Universidad de Costa Rica, vol. 25 (1999): 91-100.
Trilling, Lionel. “The Story and the Novel”. The Griffin, vol. 7 (1958): 5.
Wescott, Glenway. “Isak Dinesen, the Storyteller” (1963). Images of Truth: Remembrances and Criticism. Rdited by  Wescott, G., , New York Harper, 1962.
Woods, Gurli A. ed. Isak Dinesen and Narrativity: Reassessments for the 1990s. vol. 3, McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP, 1994.