Mother Pleiades: A Story from the Dawn of Time

Overview

Heinesen's novels always contain the portrait of what might be termed a "good” woman: Simona in Windswept Dawn, Eliana in The Lost Musicians, Liva in The Black Cauldron. Here, however, the "good” woman, Antonia, is raised to mythological status as the representative of motherhood, the bearer of life as has existed from the dawn of time. This portrayal is placed against the description of a limited circle of ordinary and unprepossessing figures in a small town, much of it as experienced through the eyes of ...
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Overview

Heinesen's novels always contain the portrait of what might be termed a "good” woman: Simona in Windswept Dawn, Eliana in The Lost Musicians, Liva in The Black Cauldron. Here, however, the "good” woman, Antonia, is raised to mythological status as the representative of motherhood, the bearer of life as has existed from the dawn of time. This portrayal is placed against the description of a limited circle of ordinary and unprepossessing figures in a small town, much of it as experienced through the eyes of Antonia's infant illegitimate son from his very earliest days until he is some five years of age.

In contrast to Antonia, there is Trine , an essentially tragic figure, whose tragedy to a large extent is the direct result of her narrow religious beliefs and her resultant refusal to follow her natural instincts and to take the chance of happiness and the natural fulfilment of life when it is offered to her. Religion is in this novel portrayed exclusively in negative terms in stark contrast to the world of nature, the bearer of life, the supreme representative of which is Antonia.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781907650079
  • Publisher: Dedalus, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William Heinesen (1900-1991) was born in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands, the son of a Danish mother and Faroese father, and was equally at home in both languages. Although he spent most of his life in the Faroe Islands he chose to write in Danish as he felt it offered him greater inventive freedom. Although internationally known as a poet and a novelist he made his living as an artist. His paintings range from large-scale murals in public buildings, through oil to pen sketches, caricatures and collages.
It is Dedalus's intention to translate all of William Heinesen's 7 novels into English.

W. Glyn Jones has written widely on Danish, Faeroese and Finland-Swedish literature including studies of Johannes Jorgensen, Tove Jansson and William Heinesen.
W Glyn Jones' many translations from Danish include My Fairy-Tale Life by Hans Christian Andersen, Seneca by Villy Sorensen and for Dedalus The Black Cauldron, The Lost Musicians, Windswept Dawn, The Good Hope and Mother Pleiades by William Heinesen.
He is currently translating William Heinesen's last novel The Tower at the Edge of the World.

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Read an Excerpt

It all started in a strange way in that Jacob fell wildly in love - not in Viola, but in a magic lantern that was exhibited in the fancy-goods-dealer's window.
It was love at first sight and completely irrevocable. There was something in the then twenty-seven-year-old grocer's heart that melted at the sight of the round, soft, colourful slide projected on to the white disc in Jonasson's window in the rain and the darkness of that miserable October evening, something that warmed him deep down in his soul and almost brought tears to his eyes.
This piece of magic was not cheap, and he couldn't really afford it, but all considerations were a waste of time. Jacob Sif turned up the following day in the fancy-goods shop and bought the lantern.
It was Viola who served him, and they were alone in the shop. She taught him how to work it. She took him into a small room at the back of the shop, in which the window could be darkened by means of an internal shutter, and in the darkness here the magical spot stood out on the wall to show a submarine landscape of red and violet sea anemones, shining eels and rays, deep palm groves of seaweed and hanging spring-green veils of algae and dark corals.
Jacob Sif was so taken by all this colourful dream that he was scarcely aware of Viola. But later that evening, when he was sitting alone and again seeing the magical images of the bottom of the sea, he couldn't but feel quiet surprise at the thought of how obliging and sweet the young girl had been. Indeed, she had stood close to him in the dark, and he had felt her hair against his cheek and sensed the delicate perfume of her skin. And the way in which she had talked had been so sweet and friendly. Well, of course, the sweet thing had been a saleswoman, and she knew the art of persuading people to buy, something she had learned from her father, who was a very clever and smart businessman.
But when she came to buy two tins of meat balls the following day, Viola was to his surprise still as friendly and charming. She asked how he was getting on with the lantern; she gave him a warm look, and their eyes met almost tenderly - what was all this hocus-pocus really about? Perhaps she was making a fool of him. She presumably thought he was silly for buying the Magic Lantern. But, then, why did she stay? Why did she not go off and forget the whole thing now that the sale had been made once and for all and the goods paid for?
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