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Books: Anecdotes from Scheherazade

ISAK DINESEN by Judith Thurman; St. Martin's; 495 pages; $19.95

When Ernest Hemingway awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, he informed the committee that there was another author more deserving: "That beautiful writer Isak Dinesen." It was not one of Papa's displays of calculated modesty. The Danish baroness Karen Blixen, who hid under a series of pseudonyms, did deserve the prize she never received. Other rewards came: public adulation, critical respect, worldwide royalties. But as Poet Judith Thurman makes clear in her scrupulous and elegant biography, the baroness also suffered tribulations...

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