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Bror von Blixen-Finecke

Blixen's coat of arms

Baron Bror Fredrik von Blixen-Finecke (25 July 1886 – 4 March 1946) was a Swedish baron, writer, and African big-game hunter.

Born to an aristocratic Swedish family, he became engaged to his Danish second-cousin Karen Dinesen and married her in 1914 in Kenya, where they set up and ran a coffee plantation on behalf of her family.

Although the couple were divorced in 1925 (with Karen retaining the coffee plantation), she was quoted as saying, shortly before her death, "If I could wish anything back of my life, it would be to go on safari once again with Bror..."

On 1 August 1928, he remarried the British aristocrat Jacqueline Harriet "Cockie" Alexander.[1] When he was visited in Kenya by the Swedish adventurer and aviator Eva Dickson in 1932, while "Cockie" was visiting her mother in England, the marriage quickly ended, as he and Eva became lovers.[2] In 1935, he and "Cockie" divorced,[1] and the following year he married Eva in New York, and they spent their honeymoon together with Ernest Hemingway and his wife Martha Gellhorn sailing around Cuba and the Bahamas.[2]

In March 1938, Eva Dickson von Blixen-Finecke died in a car crash outside Baghdad, on her way back from Calcutta after having been forced to give up her big dream of driving the Silk Road to Beijing.[2] Bror von Blixen-Finecke didn't learn about her death until 28 July 1938, and he was devastated by the news.[2] He left Africa after 25 years and returned to his native Sweden, where he died in 1946, at the age of 59, from injuries following the crash of a car in which he was a passenger.

For many years von Blixen-Finecke ran a firm of safari guides, and among his clients was Edward, Prince of Wales. "Hunting with Blix was a magnificent experience," said one client. "With his quiet, almost lyrical narrative of what happened around us he got nature to live like I have never experienced since (from The Man Whom Women Loved, a biography of von Blixen-Finecke written by his godson Ulf Aschan)." He was also a talented writer; his best-known book was his autobiography, African Hunter (1938), long regarded as fine Africana since its translation from Swedish in 1938 by F. H. Lyon.[3]

According to Beryl Markham, "Bror was the toughest, most durable white hunter ever to snicker at the fanfare of safari or to shoot a charging buffalo between the eyes while debating whether his sundown drink would be gin or whiskey . . . . The mould has been broken."

In the film Out of Africa, which is based on Karen Blixen's memoirs of the same name, the role of von Blixen-Finecke was played by Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer.

Von Blixen-Finecke's identical twin, Hans, died in a plane crash in 1917.

References

  1. ^ a b Jacqueline Harriet AlexanderThe Peerage: Linked 2014-04-06
  2. ^ a b c d Äventyraren Eva DicksonPopulär Historia, 23 januari, 2009: (in Swedish) Linked 2014-04-06
  3. ^ 'African Hunter' Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke Tr. by FH Lyon. Editor's Note to the Reprint Version, (1986) by Peter Hathaway Capstick. The Peter Capstick Library, St. Martin's Press, NY ISBN 0-312-00959-3
  • Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Adelslexikon I, vol. 53, Limburg (Lahn) 1972, pp. 432–433.
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