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Jens Bjørneboe


Jens Bjørneboe was born in 1920 in Kristiansand. His father was a shipping magnate and consul for Belgium. The family was very well-off and Bjørneboe lived through almost his entire adult life on income from the family shipping company Ingvald Bjørneboe & Co. Bjørneboe suffered from illness and depression when he was a child. He attempted suicide when he was thirteen and drank heavily from an early age. At that age he started reading the works of Nietzsche. His father died just before the war started and Bjørneboe studied painting. He fled to Sweden in 1943 to avoid forced labour under the Nazis. In Sweden, he met and married Lisel Funck, a German-Jewish painter.

He worked for a while at a Steiner school, which inspired his novel Jonas. He started writing poetry, primarily religious poetry, in the 1950s. He returned to Norway in 1959. He wrote a book condemning the prison system, after having spent some time in jail for drunkenness. In 1961, having divorced Lisel Funck, he married the actress Tone Tveteraas. He gradually became an anarchist and was highly critical of the police. He also wrote his The History of Bestiality trilogy, his best-known work, which has been translated into English. It was inspired by the work of Michel Foucault.

Later in life he gave up writing novels but did write essays and plays. He committed suicide in 1976.

Other links

Jens Bjørneboe
Jens Bjørneboe
Norway hails rebel-author Bjørneboe
Jens Bjorneboe: Anarchist Writer At Constant Odds With Bourgeois Respectability
Jens Bjørneboe (in Norwegian)


1952 Før hanen galer (Ere the Cock Crows) (novel)
1953 AriadneDikt (novel)
1955 Jonas (novel)
1957 Under en hårdere himmel(novel)
1958 Den store by (poetry)
1958 Vinter i Bellapalma. Av forfatteren Hans Berlows efterlatte papirer (Winter in Bellapalma) (novel)
1959 Blåmann (novel)
1960 Den onde hyrde (novel)
1963 Ti bud til en ung mann som vil frem i verden (poetry)
1964 Drømmen og hjulet (novel)
1965 Til lykke med dagen (drama)
1966 Fugleelskerne (The Bird Lovers) (drama)
1966 Frihetens øyeblikk (Moment of Freedom) (novel – The History of Bestiality trilogy)
1966 Uten en tråd (Without a Stitch) (novel)
1968 Aske, vind og jord (poetry)
1968 Semmelweis (Semmelweis) (drama)
1968 Norge, mitt Norge (essays)
1969 Kruttårnet(Powderhouse ) (novel – The History of Bestiality trilogy)
1970 Vi som elsket Amerika (essays)
1970 Amputasjon (Amputation : Texts for an Extraordinary Spectacle) (drama)
1971 Anarkismen – I dag? (politics)
1972 Politi og anarki (politics)
1972 Hertug Hans (story)
1973 Stillheten (The Silence) (novel – The History of Bestiality trilogy)
1973 Tilfellet Torgersen (drama)
1974 Haiene (The Sharks : The History of a Crew and a Shipwreck) (novel)
1976 Dongery. En collage om forretningsstanden og om markedsførerens liv (drama)
1976 Røde Emma (drama)
1976 Under en mykere himmel (essay)
1977 Lanterner (stories)
1977 Om Brecht (literature)
1978 Om teater (literature)
1997 Degrees of Freedom : Anarchist Essays by and about Jens Bjørneboe
2016 The Fear of America Within Us: & Other Essays On Politics & Society
2020 Skapsprengeren Manfreds oppstandelse (novel)