Chronology of Karen Blixen's Life

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  • Topic: Karen Blixen, Denys Finch Hatton, Out of Africa
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  • Published : March 29, 2013
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Karen Blixen's Life by Dates

1885, April 17: Born at the family estapte, Rungstedlund, on the Oresund north of Copenhagen, to Wilhelm Dinesen (1845-1895)--soldier, landowner, sportsman, writer of Letters from the Hunt, and Danish parliamentarian--and Ingeborg Westenholz Dinesen (1856-1939)--daughter of a wealthy ship owner, activist, Unitarian, and first woman elected to the Rungsted parish council. Karen and her two sisters were educated at home, as was common for women of the wealthy class, while her two brothers went to school. 1895: Suicide of Karen Blixen's father when she is 10-years-old, reputedly because of syphilis. 1899: KB studies French in Switzerland for six months with her mother and sisters. 1902: Enters Miss Sode's Art School in Copenhagen.

1903-1906: Attends the Academy of Art, Copenhagen.
1907: At age 22, publishes her first stories, "The Hermits," in Tilskueren magazine, and "The Ploughman" in Gads danske Magasin. 1909: Publishes "The de Cats Family" in Tilskueren. At age 24, falls in love with Baron Hans von Blixen-Finecke (1886-1917), son of her father's cousin and a celebrated horseman. 1910: Spends two months with her sister in Paris.

1912: Visits her second cousin, Countess Daisy Frijs Castenskiold (1888-1917), in Rome. December: becomes engaged to Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke (1886-1946), twin brother of Hans. 1913, December: Leaves for Africa by ship from Naples.

1914, January: At age 28, joins Bror in East Africa marries (on 14 January) and starts a pioneer coffee plantation (1500 acres) near Nairobi. 1914, August 5: Beginning of the Great War, which includes the East African colonies governed by Germany and Britain. 1915, July: KB returns to Denmark with syphilis contracted from her husband. 1916: KB returns to Africa with Bror; Karen Coffee Corporation is established with money provided by her relatives. A second farm is bought, on the western side of the Rift Valley, and the first is increased--4500 acres each. 1918, April 5:...
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