Villy Sorensen

Villy Sørensen (13 January 1929 – 16 December 2001) was a Danish short-story writer, philosopher and literary critic of the Modernist tradition. His fiction was heavily influenced by his philosophical ideas, and he has been compared to Franz Kafka in this regard. He is the most influential and important Danish philosopher since Søren Kierkegaard.

Born in Copenhagen, Sørensen graduated from the Vestre Borgerdydskole in 1947, and then attended the University of Copenhagen and the University of Freiburg studying philosophy. Although he did not graduate, he later received an honorary degree from the University of Copenhagen.

Sørensen published his first collection of short stories, Strange Stories in 1953, which many critics have identified as being the start of Danish literary Modernism. He published additional collections of short stories in 1955 and 1964, all winning various awards in Denmark. These stories generally explored the absurd and hidden parts of the human psyche.

Sørensen began editing the journal Vindrosen (with Klaus Rifbjerg) in 1959. Afterward, he became a member of the Danish Academy in 1965, subsequently editing several other Modernist journals and periodicals. Sørensen, though he continued to produce short fiction throughout his life, was also deeply engaged in philosophy, about which he wrote many essays and several books including Seneca: The Humanist at the Court of Nero and his response to Søren Kierkegaard’s Either/Or, Hverken-eller (i.e. “Neither/Nor”). He also published books and essays about Nietzsche, Kafka, Marx, Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard, and was a notable translator of over 20 books. He was awarded the Grand Prize of the Danish Academy in 1962, The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize in 1974, the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1983, the inaugural Swedish Academy Nordic Prize in 1986, along with many other awards and recognition’s. He died in Copenhagen in 2001.

Books published in English:

Tiger in the Kitchen and Other Strange Stories1957
Seneca: The Humanist at the Court of Nero
translator: The Book by Martin A. Hansen, (with Anne Born)

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