Wednesday, the 27th of July, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today’s pick is a book by an author I’ve read and enjoyed before, but only read one book by so far–Seven Gothic Tales (1934) by Isak Dinesen. Isak Dinesen or Karen Blixen, Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke was a Danish author best known for her autobiographical work, Out of Africa about her time living in Kenya. Born in Copenhagen to writer and army officer Wilhelm Dinesen, she was second oldest in a family of three sisters and two brothers. After her father’s death she was educated by her maternal family. In 1914 she moved with her fiance to Kenya where they were married. She began writing while still in Kenya, but pursued it in earnest only on her return to Denmark where she published her first book Seven Gothic Tales, followed some years later by Out of Africa. She went on to write several other books, many of which were published posthumously.

Seven Gothic Tales, her first book, is a collection of short stories (though not all that short), set mostly in the nineteenth century and concerned with a range of themes from the aristocracy to legitimacy and self-delusion. They are said to combine romantic and supernatural elements with narrative irony.

Having read and really enjoyed Out of Africa, especially her lyrical descriptions and the fact that despite not being all PC she does bring out injustices against people and animals, I was keen to explore more of her work. There is I know a second volume of memoirs, Shadows on the Grass, but when I came across Seven Gothic Tales, being fiction, I thought these would be interesting to explore.

Have you read these or any others by Dinesen? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Lisa’s pick this week is Red Moon (2013) by Benjamin Percy, a werewolf book with gore, violence, and political allegory.

cover image as always from Goodreads and author information from Wikipedia


14 thoughts on “Shelf Control #194: Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen

  1. I have a copy of this book on my shelves too, although with a different cover! I haven’t read it yet, but I know she’s a gifted writer, and with such a fascinating life! I think I’ve only read one of her short stories, Peter & Rosa (in her Winter’s Tales collection), but I’d definitely like to read more. Great choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doesn’t it? Let me see if I can manage it this november. Though i still have two spooky collections I’d planned to read last year, a Gaskell set and one by EF Benson still to get to


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