Niels Lyhne
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Niels Lyhne

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  411 ratings  ·  45 reviews
«Niels Lyhne fue el Werther de nuestra generación… Y cuando todavía hoy hojeo algunos de sus pasajes, podría transcribir de memoria palabra por palabra, con tanta frecuencia y con tanta pasión incorporamos entonces aquellas escenas a nuestra vida… Niels Lyhne, ese medio Werther, ese medio Hamlet, ese medio Peer Gynt rebosante de pasión y sin fuerza alguna, con una inmensa...more
Paperback, Primera, 272 pages
Published by Acantilado (first published 1880)
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"For the first time he had felt fear about life, for the first time he had truly understood that when life had sentenced you to suffer, this sentence was neither a pretense nor a threat- you were dragged to the rack and then you were tortured, and no fairy-tale liberation came at the last moment, no sudden awakening as if from a bad dream.”- Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne

A book I probably wouldnt have picked up had I not come across a beautiful quote from it here on Goodreads. It's the coming-...more
Jul 20, 2009 Nools rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nools by: R M Rilke
This novel will not help you sleep at night. I haven't felt this kind of despair over literature since Proust's Recherche. Jacobsen despises his characters so tenderly. Or is it that he loves them ruthlessly? I finished it nearly ten hours ago, but an oppressive sadness is still lingering. It's not a cathartic sorrow, either -- not in the least bit; it's too stonily troubling for tears. In part, this can be blamed on my Christian upbringing, but I won't let my background take away any credit fro...more
Brian Coupland
I started reading this simply for the descriptive power it was rumored to wield. I heard it mentioned somewhere as "a period piece" and became worried about drowning in types of clothes and customs I was unfamiliar with.. yet it totally defied that worry with such timeless descriptions. I hope there's some engineer out there who will invent a machine to let you see through Jacobsen's eyes, cause his visual descriptions are absolutely meticulous.. not to set aside how keen his other senses must h...more
A hundred and forty years ago I'm sure this novel was cutting-edge and racy. One of its central themes is atheism and how an individual living at the time of Nietzsche’s famous declaration of God’s death could reconcile himself to a world still clearly grounded in the traditions of the past. Today, we might pooh-pooh such a theme, simply because it seems passé. But the truth is that this theme is still very much relevant. As Niels’ character clearly demonstrates, losing faith means that one must...more
At times, you're reading Niels Lyhne, and you're caught up in the romanticism of it-- the unconsummatable romances, the damaged-soul artist-hero, and the lush, hypotactical descriptions of the natural world. But what Jacobsen effects is something far subtler, with one eye winking at a dawning modernism.

Let's start with those descriptions. Baroque in form, precise in biology, they seem like they would be perfectly at home in the weird tales of Lovecraft or the morose ponderings of Sebald. They ar...more
Sep 05, 2011 Tom marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Had never heard of JPJ until I came across reference to this novel in recent essay by James Wood, "The New Atheism," in The Guardian. Wood argues that whereas the "new atheists" like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al and fundamentalist Christians are equally guilty of engaging in narrow, literalist approaches to questions of faith, novelists like JPJ provide far more insightful reflections on such questions by exploring the ambiguities of a fluctuating faith that most of us experience. Essentiall...more
i read this for rilke, to know why he loved.
Jacob Wren

Jens Peter Jacobsen writes:

They began to talk about Christianity. It was as if the subject was in the air.

Niels spoke fervently but rather superficially against Christianity.

Hjerrild was tired of retracing the threads of conversations that were old for him, and he said suddenly, without any real connection to the preceding: "Be careful, Mr. Lyhne; Christianity has power. It's stupid to quarrel with the ruling truth by agitating for the truth of the crown prince."

"Stupid or not, that's not a cons...more
"Bigum knew full well what an unfavorable impression he presented and how completely hopeless his love was, but he knew it the way you do when, with all the power of your soul, you hope that your knowledge is false. There was still a chance for a miracle, and miracles don't happen, but they might. Who knows? Perhaps you make a mistake, perhaps your reason, your instincts, your senses with all their daylight clarity still lead you astray, perhaps the thing to do is to possess the reckless courag...more
There was a time when a book this depressing would never have made it to my "favorite books of all time" list, but I can't really hold its heartbreaking nature against it. This book was extremely well written and beautiful, yet it was also ridiculously disheartening. It's been quite some time since a book made me cry. I loved it. (The book, not the crying, although sometimes the crying does us good.) ;)
J. P. Jacobsen's Niels Lyhne was a very positive surprise. His nature descriptions are unique, perhaps matched only by those of Turgenev, by whom he was influenced. To a degree Jacobsen even surpasses Turgenev in the way his delineations of nature are so masterly integrated into the book’s thematic. I was glad to be able to read this in the original Danish, as many of those outstanding passages must be really hard to translate (and even to my native Norwegian.) I read in the very useful afterwor...more
Carinna Tarvin
May 16, 2007 Carinna Tarvin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like old things
Rilke said in "Letters to a Young Poet" that he always carried two books with him; the Bible and a collection of Jacobson's short stories. I couldn't make my mind up about this book when I was reading it, but then it sunk in and I decided I liked it. I wonder what it's like in Danish.
Pretty similar than Marie Grubbe. Not bad but not the most memorable book either.
Farhan Khalid
I am describing her as she was at seventeen

She loved poetry. She lived on poems, dreamed poems

Grief was black, and joy was red

They glowed with images, foamed and sparkled with rhythm and rhyme

She dreamed a thousand dreams

One fine day a suitor came to her: Young Lyhne

Like the memory of a feast after the the last candle has burned down

And the last note of music has died away

He called, met Bartholine, and fell in love with her

Love made him poetic

The cloud seemed like those drifting through the poe...more
Jesse Lenton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I decided to read ‘Niels Lyhne’ as Rilke recommended it very highly in Letters to a Young Poet. He went into raptures about it, actually. Thus it surprised me to find the novel initially rather stolid and difficult to get into. I wonder if this might have something to do with the translation I read? I got a copy from the university library that was published in 1920 and translated by Hanna Astrup Larsen. The style of the translation, which may accurately reflect the original Danish for all I kno...more
якобсен, за которым так долго пришлось гоняться, потому что с датским, как известно, проблемы на личном фронте, а читать немецкий перевод было как-то не с руки. но вот какая-то добрая душа распотрошила изданный во время оно сборник «фиорд» и поделилась с просвещенными массами романом, без которого сложно представить себе европейский «большой роман» конца 19 – начала 20 веков. трагичный и саркастичный роман воспитания, а не только – воспитания чувств, потому что как раз последнее интересует меньш...more
Jake DeBacher
I liked Neils Lyhne. I liked it quite a bit, in fact. Perhaps the reason I liked it so much was because it surprised me. Framed within a rather dull plot (in fact, a downright ridiculous plot) was an incredibly well-written series of passages (narrative, philosophical, and [best of all] descriptive) from an author I'd never heard of before. And many of those passages will stick with me. Some strange refulgence glows from their effusive darkness of theme, something simultaneously stinging and ano...more
To me this read like an extended prose poem. Many parts of it are quotable. There are quirky psychological portraits interspersed with beautiful physical descriptions.

One thing about Niels: it sucked to be him. Unlucky in love. We don't know if he would have been lucky at cards, since I don't recall he ever played them. He had about as much romantic success as Dr. Frasier Crane, without the laughter.

The only negatives with this particular book:

There was an extended discussion of atheism which it...more
Nobody has written a review for this book?

This book saved my life. A few books have saved my life, but I read this on recommendation from my good friend Ranier Maria Rilke.

There are books that are well-written. And there are books that are smart. And there are books that are witty. And there are books that are none of the above, but move us for reasons we don't quite understand.

This one is the latter. It's not smart. It's not particularly funny, nor does it awe with its style.

Niels Lyhne feel...more
Josh Mings
Great tale about the influences that come into one's life, and how they can shape you.
Jacob Østergaard
Thoroughly depressing. Definitely well written but not world class.
I found this book to be unmemorable. I would probably have loved it ten years ago when I was young and living vicariously through novels about expats and other youths wandering around in big old European cities and discovering sex and philosophy and coffee shops and art. The plot is very Jude the Obscure, complete with an early affair with a wanton woman and a later purer love with a cousin who originally chooses the protagonist's idol over our hero himself. Overall the themes are a little juven...more
Foolish, foolish men who seek the truth in fancy. For fancy is nothing but hot air and lofty dreams. To die in truth perhaps is the "real" death. One day, I will be nothing but a rotting carcase. What then? What then is left of my love, of my lofty ideals, of my verses? Nothing.

A meaningless life, of beauty and fresh air.
Emilie Valentine
Well written. I did enjoy reading it.
Jacobsen ci mostra la difficile vita di una persona che vive (e muore) senza l'"oppio divino". Niels Lyhne viene trascinato nel mondo da un'esperienza fallimentare all'altra, e non riescono ad essere di consolazione per lui nè l'amore, nè l'amicizia. La solitudine, e la fede nel proprio ateismo sono le uniche cose che non lo abbandoneranno mai nella sua "difficile vita".
Like roaming a museum of beautiful paintings (constantly reminds me of reading Diderot). Each full of preciseness, clarity, and truth. But turning from frame to frame leaves me cold. Better for poems than novels. My approach is perhaps wrong. I will definitely read his poems, of which, so I heard, Rilke always carried a selection.
' echoed through my life like a lovely, spiritual poem, it never took me w/ strong arms, it had wings--only wings'

i just found this in an old notebook, i never right down passages from prose ever...but i guess little jens p.j. reached down my throat
A classic of Danish literature, that struggles for contemporary relevance partly due to the overly elaborate language and very high strung characters. But still you should read it. And read it again.
Can't remember that last time I disliked a book as much as this one. The tone/voice = cringed my way through it. All this mannered, sad, faux spiritual/aesthetic whinging. Save it for someone who cares.
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Jacobsen was born in Thisted in Jutland, the eldest of the five children of a prosperous merchant. He went to school in Copenhagen and was a student at the University of Copenhagen in 1868. As a boy, he showed a remarkable talent for science, in particular botany. In 1870, although he was already secretly writing poetry, Jacobsen adopted botany as a profession. He was sent by a scientific body in...more
More about Jens Peter Jacobsen...
Mogens and Other Stories Marie Grubbe Darwin; hans liv [af] j.P. Jacobsen, og hans laere [af] Vilhelm M Novellen, Briefe, Gedichte [aus dem D La signora Fonss e altre novelle

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“He was weary of himself, of cold ideas and brain dreams. Life a poem? Not when you went about forever poetizing about your own life instead of living it. How innocuous it all was, and empty, empty, empty! This chasing after yourself, craftily observing your own tracks--in a circle, of course.

This sham diving into the stream of life while all the time you sat angling after yourself, fishing yourself up in one curious disguise or another! If he could only be overwhelmed by something--life, love, passion--so that he could no longer shape it into poems, but had to let it shape him!”
“And it all came to pass, all that she had hoped, but it did not fill her with rapture nor carry her away with the power or the fervor she had expected. She had imagined it all different, and had imagined herself different, too. In dreams and poems everything had been, as it were, beyond the sea; the haze of distance had mysteriously veiled all the restless mass of details and had thrown out the large lines in bold relief, while the silence of distance had lent its spirit of enchantment. It had been easy then to feel the beauty; but now that she was in the midst of it all, when every little feature stood out and spoke boldly with the manifold voices of reality, and beauty was shattered as light in a prism, she could not gather the rays together again, could not put the picture back beyond the sea. Despondently she was obliged to admit to herself that she felt poor, surrounded by riches that she could not make her own.” 19 likes
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