Cora Sandel
Cora Sandel was the pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 of Sara Cecilia Görvell Fabricius, a Norwegian
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 writer and painter who lived most of her life abroad. Her most famous works are the novels now known as the Alberta Trilogy.


Sara Cecilia Görvell Fabricius was born in Kristiania (now Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

). Her parents were Jens Schow Fabricius (1839–1910) and Anna Margareta Greger (1858–1903). When she was 12 years old, financial difficulties forced her family to move to Tromsø
Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø.Tromsø city is the ninth largest urban area in Norway by population, and the seventh largest city in Norway by population...

 where her father was appointed a naval commander. She started painting under the tutelage of Harriet Backer
Harriet Backer
Harriet Backer was a Norwegian painter who achieved recognition in her own time and was a pioneer among female artists both in the Nordic countries and in Europe generally...

, and while still a teenager moved to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where she married the Swedish sculptor Anders Jönsson (1883-1965). In 1921 they returned to Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, where she won custody of her son Erik after divorcing Jönsson.

In her youth she tried, without much success, to establish herself as a painter
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

. And it wasn't until she was 46 years old that her debut novel, Alberte and Jakob was published, the first in what became the semi-autobiographical Alberta trilogy. Sandel used many elements from her own life and experiences in her stories, which often centre on the spiritual struggles of inarticulate and isolated women. The Alberta trilogy traced the emotional development of a lethargic and unhappy girl into a self-sufficient woman. These novels earned her an immediate place in the Scandinavian canon, but it was not until the 1960s that Sandel, now living as a recluse in Sweden, was discovered by the English-speaking world.
Despite her great literary success, she remained hidden behind her pseudonym and lived a rather secluded life. She was decorated with the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1957. Her home in Tromsø
Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø.Tromsø city is the ninth largest urban area in Norway by population, and the seventh largest city in Norway by population...

, built in 1838, now houses the Perspektivet Museum.


  • Alberte og Jakob, novel ("Alberta and Jacob", 1926, tr. 1962)
  • En blå sofa, short story collection ("A Blue Sofa", 1927)
  • Alberte og friheten, novel ("Alberta and Freedom", 1931, tr. 1963)
  • Carmen og Maja, short story collection ("Carmen and Maja", 1932)
  • Mange takk, doktor, short story collection ("Many Thanks, Doctor", 1935)
  • Bare Alberte, novel ("Alberta Alone", 1939, tr. 1965)
  • Dyr jeg har kjent, short story collection ("Animals I've Known", 1945)
  • Kranes konditori, novel ("Krane's Café", 1945-1946, tr. 1968)
  • Figurer på mørk bunn, short story collection ("Figures on a dark background", 1949)
  • Translation of Colette
    Colette was the surname of the French novelist and performer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette . She is best known for her novel Gigi, upon which Lerner and Loewe based the stage and film musical comedies of the same title.-Early life and marriage:Colette was born to retired military officer Jules-Joseph...

    's La Vagabonde (1952)
  • Kjøp ikke Dondi, novel ("Don't Buy Dondi", 1958, tr. 1960 as "The Leech")
  • Vårt vanskelige liv, short story collection ("Our Difficult Life", 1960)
  • Barnet som elsket veier, short story collection with artwork ("The Child Who Loved Roads", 1973)

Other sources

  • Øverland, Janneken Cora Sandel : en biografi (Gyldendal 1995) ISBN 82-05-22366-1
  • Essex, Ruth Cora Sandel: Seeker of Truth (New York: Peter Lang, 1995) ISBN 978-0-8204-2229-9
  • Rees, Ellen A Quiet Renaissance in Cora Sandel Scholarship (Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, Volume: 75 Issue: 4 Page: 591(10), 2003)

External links

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