Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2009


Publisher's PDF

Publication Title

Scandinavian Studies


Lord Byron, Isak Dinesin, Karen Blixen 1885-1962, comparative literature, carnivals, storytelling, literary characters, syphilis, poetry, irony, authorship attribution, biography

Subject Categories



A discussion of the self-conscious and deliberate irony that both George Gordon, aka Lord Byron, and Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen, intentionally used to make a problem out of literary biography through their respective strategies of dealing with fame and the discursive self. As the trouser-clad Baroness, who managed her African farm from the back of a horse and later as a pseudonymous "male" poet in her own right, Dinesen entertained the concept that she resembled Lord Byron. What literary theorists refer to as Byron's "self-fashioning" is reproduced in interesting ways by Karen Blixen's highly theatrical approach to her own public persona, which she understood as a series of masks, starting with her aristocratic, male pen name.