Literary Criticism

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Portrait of a Danish Conman

Otto Stein – Framed within the Life and Novels of his Creator, Jacob Paludan

Frantz Leander Hansen is a Master of Arts in Literature. He lives in Copenhagen, and teaches and lectures at several institutions in Denmark. His The Aristocratic Universe of Karen Blixen. Destiny and the Denial of Fate (SAP, 2003) is recognized as a central work in the international literature on Karen Blixen. He has written articles on Fjodor Dostojevskij, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce and Karen Blixen.

“Frantz Leander Hansen has written a brilliant book about Otto Stein… Hansen is an acute and penetrating reader.” Martin Zerlang, Scandinavian Studies

“Portrait of a Danish Conman is a treat for every ‘Paludanist’.” Christian Graugaard, Politiken newspaper

In Portrait of a Danish Conman: Otto Stein – Framed within the Life and Novels of his Creator, Jacob Paludan, Frantz Leander Hansen sheds fresh light on the work of major Danish novelist Jacob Paludan (1896–1975). By following the life and career of Otto Stein, brother of the eponymous protagonist in Paludan’s novel Jørgen Stein (1933), this first solo study of Otto draws out themes of great topicality and relevance to our day and age. Otto Stein is a man-about-town and an up-and-coming lawyer, but temptation to indulge in a spot of deception escalates into large-scale fraud. He increases the stakes, higher and higher, until he reaches the tipping point, free fall and suicide.

Otto Stein’s fate follows the trajectory of life in the 1920s leading up to the financial crash. Leander Hansen reveals the close links to fraudsters of our day. His analysis uncovers the many strata in this story of deceit, including highly contemporary issues of criminal psychology, and charts the factors that lead to the suicide. Demonstrating the ways in which the fictional character of Otto Stein develops within an intense and consistent literary structure, the study shows Jacob Paludan to be a master of the highly dramatic fate and fortune.

Leander Hansen places this story of a conman within an abundantly referenced context of literary and biographical sources of inspiration, and of other novels by Jacob Paludan.  

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-089-7
Paperback Price: £22.95 / $29.95
Release Date: May/June 2021
Page Extent / Format: 120 pp. 216 x 138 mm
Illustrated: Yes


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