Nexø, Martin Andersen

Nexø, Martin Andersen märˈtēn änˈdərsĕn nĕksö [key], 1869–1954, Danish novelist. Born one of 11 children in a Copenhagen slum, he spent his impoverished childhood largely on the island of Bornholm. Both locales appear centrally in his novels. His famous proletarian novels Pelle the Conqueror (4 vol., 1906–10; tr. 1930 and 1989) and Ditte, Daughter of Mankind (5 vol., 1917–21; tr., in 1 vol., 1931) relate the struggles of the poor, focusing attention on conditions of poverty in Denmark; Pelle, a popular motion picture made in the late 1980s, was based on the first part of the novel. Though admittedly a propagandist for communism and social reform, he created a memorable group of tender human portraits. He also wrote about Russia, where he spent many of his later years. The first two volumes of his four-volume autobiography have been translated as Under the Open Sky (1938).

See F. Ingwersen and N. Ingwersen, Quests for a Promised Land (1984).

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