About the Author Martin Andersen Nexø
A large part of Andersen Nexø’s authorship has been drawn from his own experience. His divided family, marked by his alcoholic father, is found again in the novel “Familien Frank” (“The Frank Family”) (1901).
And large parts of his own experiences have been used in “Pelle the Conqueror” (1906 – 1910).
His conscience as a writer was awakened on a recreational journey to Spain.
In 1934, in the article “Ja, hvordan” (Yes, How), he described the feeling of belonging to the privileged for the first time. This made him feel for those who would not ever experience the same: “… the passengers of the vacant seats. They pressed the pen into my hand.”
Nexø regarded himself as the writer of the international proletariat.
For Andersen Nexø the proletariat is good and sound, possessing the ability to manage.
The attitude is evident in his two principal works “Pelle the Conqueror” and “Ditte, Daughter of Man.”
Volume 1 of “Ditte” was published the same year as the Russian revolution broke out.
Andersen Nexø broke with the Social Democrats and became co-founder of the Socialist Workers Party, later the Communist Party of Denmark.
From the early 1920s he devoted his life to writing. For a period of time he moved to Germany, but when the Nazis came to power he had to flee back to Denmark.
During the Finnish Winter War he experienced his books being burned in Sorø, similar to the burning of books in Germany.
In June of 1941 he was interned like many other communists. He succeeded in escaping first to Sweden and further on to the Soviet Union from where he addressed the Danes on the radio.
In those years he wrote “Morten hin Røde” (“Morten the Red”) – a kind of continuation of “Pelle the Conqueror.” In this book Pelle ends up as a Trade Union Boss while Morten follows the path of Nexø.
In 1951 Nexø moved to Dresden in the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Here he was declared an Honorary Citizen.
As a communist and East German citizen he was disliked in Denmark. But 30 years after his death the greatness of his authorship truly dawned upon the Danes when Bille August won the Palmes d’Or and an Oscar as ‘Best Foreign Film’ for his screen version of “Pelle the Conqueror.”
Martin Andersen Nexø was born on Christianshavn, Copenhagen in 1869 and died in Dresden, German Democratic Republic (DDR) 1954.
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