Michaëlis, Karin (1872–1950)

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Michaëlis, Karin (1872–1950)

Danish novelist and short-story writer. Name variations: Michaelis; Karin Michaëlis Stangeland; Karin Michaëlis-Stangeland. Born Katharina Marie Bech-Brøndum at Randers, Denmark, on March 20, 1872; died in 1950; daughter of Jac Brøndum; her mother's maiden name was Bech; sister of the Baroness Dahlerup; educated in private schools and with tutors; married Sophus Michaëlis (1865–1932, a Danish author), around 1893 (divorced 1911); married Charles Emil Stangeland (an American), in 1912.

Selected writings:

author of more than 50 books, including The Child (Barnet, 1902); The Mummy (Lillemor, 1902); The Dangerous Age (Den Farlige Alder, 1911), and its sequel Elsie Lindtner (1912); The Governor (1913); The Girl with the Flowerpot (1925); Bibi: A Little Danish Girl (1927); Venture's End (1927); Bibi Goes Travelling (1935); Green Island (1936); (memoirs) The Tree of Good and Evil (Trået på Godt og Ondt, 1924–1930); (memoirs) Wonderful World (Vidunderlige Verden, 1948–1950).

Karin Michaëlis' best-known novel was The Dangerous Age: Letters and Fragments from a Woman's Diary (Den Farlige Alder), which was serialized in the Revue de Paris in 1911 before being published in hardcover. In Germany, where 80,000 copies were sold, its feminist theme which concluded that "between the sexes reigns an ineradicable hostility" was enough of a threat to prompt cartoons and caricatures, especially in Jugend. The book, wrote Marcel Prévost, was the "most sincere, the most complete, the most humble and the most disquieting feminine confession perhaps ever written."

Growing up poor in Randers, Denmark, Michaëlis moved to Copenhagen at age 20, married the well-known Danish poet Sophus Michaëlis, and lived a nomadic life in Germany, Austria, England, and the United States, while writing in Danish and German. During World War I, she was actively pro-German, working with the underprivileged and the suffering, championing women and the poor. During World War II, she was anti-Nazi, aiding German Jews, Communists, and artists fleeing to Denmark. Because of this, her books were burned in the Third Reich, and she lived alone and impoverished in New York until her death in 1950. Michaëlis also wrote the popular "Bibi" series for children, about an untamed girl who lives with her father and travels through Denmark.

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Michaëlis, Karin (1872–1950)

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