Karen Aabye

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Karen Aabye
Karen Aabye
Karen Aabye
Born 19 September 1904
Died 12 September 1982 (aged 77)
Bagsværd, Denmark

Journalist (1929-1939)

Writer (1939-1982)
Language Danish
Nationality Danish

Karen Lydia Aabye (19 September 1904 – 15 September 1982) was a Danish writer. In the late 1930s, she worked as a journalist in Paris and London before she gained popularity with a number of historical novels in which strong-willed women were her main characters. Her works also include travel books and a collection of essays.


The daughter of Rudolph Christian Aabye, a merchant, Aabye grew up in Copenhagen, attending Karen Kjær's School. In 1929, she went to Paris where she spent three years working for the weekly Skandinaver i Paris. On her return to Denmark, she worked as an editorial secretary for Politikens Lytterblad. From 1936 to 1937, she was a foreign correspondent for Politiken, first in London and then in Paris. In 1937, she moved to the daily Berlingske Tidende with which she maintained a relationship for the rest of her working life. Her reports, commentaries and essays are evidence of her deep interest in the developments of the pre-war period.[1]

After Der er langt til Paris (1939), her breakthrough as a novelist came during World War II with a trilogy consisting of Det skete ved Kisum Bakke (1942), Fruen til Kejsergården (1943) and Vi, der elsker livet (1944) all of which trace developments in the life of a strong-willed woman living in the north of Zealand in the 19th century. Also popular was her Martine series (1950–54) based in 19th-century rural Jutland and tracing the lives of people who emigrated to America. The series consists of Martine, Min søn Janus, Brænd dine skibe, Det gyldne land and Den røde dal. Karen Aabye was also successful with her fictional biographies: Grevinden af Bagsværd (1958) and Min bedstemor er jomfru (1965).[2][3]

In all her novels, her female characters excel in their reasoning, sensitivity and strength while her stories are situated in a variety of environments, convincingly depicting people from various walks of life: circus folk, farmers, emigrants or the aristocracy. All her stories have a happy outcome although in some cases the conclusion appears a little artificial.[2]

She also wrote travel books based on her own experiences. These include Dejligt, at Amerika ikke ligger langt herfra (1949) and Irland — min tossed ø (1963). Her collected essays were published as Fra mit skovhus (1968).[2]

Aabye's villa[edit]

Aabye's villa in Bagsværd which she called Kisum Bakke, was designed by Elliot Hjuler and completed in May 1944. On 22 December 1944, the house was dynamited by the Brøndumbande terror group who sympathized with the Germans. Aabye who was a member of the Holger-Danske chapter of the Danish Resistance was not at home at the time. The house was rebuilt in 1945 and enlarged in 1956. Aabye died in Bagsværd at the age of 77.[2][4]


  1. ^ Carsten Berthelsen, "Karen Aabye (1904–1982)", Kvinfo. (in Danish) Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Karen Aabye", Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. (in Danish) Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Karen Lydia Aabye", Gravsted.dk. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  4. ^ Arne Herman, "Tyskerne sprængte en villa i luften", Det Gamle Gladsaxe, 5 August 2013. (in Danish) Retrieved 30 October 2013.

External links[edit]