1944 Nobel Prize in Literature
Johannes V. Jensen
"for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style."
  • November 1944 (announcement)
  • 10 December 1945
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
First awarded1901
WebsiteOfficial website
← 1943 · Nobel Prize in Literature · 1945 →

The 1944 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Danish author Johannes V. Jensen "for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style."[1] He is the fourth Danish recipient of the literary prize.


Main article: Johannes V. Jensen

Jensens early works was in the fin-de-siècle pessimism style. He found his own voice as a writer with Himmerlandshistorier ("Himmerland Stories", 1898–1910), comprising a series of tales set in the part of Denmark where he was born. This was followed by the acclaimed historical novel The Fall of the King (1900-1901) centred on the Danish 16th century King Christian II. The novel series Den lange rejse ("The Long Journey", 1908–22), spanning the early history of humanity in six volumes with a focus on evolutionary theory, is regarded as Jensens greatest achievement. In addition to these books, Jensen wrote numerous prose works and essays and was also a prominent poet. His Digte ("Poems", 1906) is regarded as the start of modernist poetry in Denmark.[2]


Jensen had been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature on 53 occasions since 1925. He was nominated every year between 1931 and 1944. In 1942 the Nobel committee received seven nominations for Jensen, followed by two nominations in 1943 and two nominations in 1944.[3]

In total, the Nobel committee received 24 nominations for 21 writers including Gabriela Mistral (awarded in 1945), Hermann Hesse (awarded in 1946), Enrique Larreta, Johan Huizinga, Georges Duhamel, John Steinbeck (awarded in 1962) and Paul Valéry. Four were newly nominated namely Abol-Gassem E’tessam Zadeh, Luis Nueda y Santiago, Charles Ferdinand Ramuz and Arnulf Øverland. Maria Madalena de Martel Patrício, Henriette Charasson, Elisaveta Bagryana and Gabriela Mistral were the only women nominated.[4]

The authors George Ade, Joaquín Álvarez Quintero, Marc Bloch, Max Brand, Édouard Bourdet, Joseph Campbell, Jean Cavaillès, Irvin S. Cobb, Olive Custance, Eugénio de Castro, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Enrique Díez Canedo, Agnes Mary Frances Duclaux, Edith Durham, Benjamin Fondane, Giovanni Gentile, Henri Ghéon, Jean Giraudoux, Philippe Henriot, Max Jacob, Napoleon Lapathiotis, Stephen Leacock, Elsa Lindberg-Dovlette, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Kaj Munk, Robert Nichols, Augusta Peaux, Karel Poláček, Armand Praviel, Arthur Quiller-Couch, Jacques Roumain, Israel Joshua Singer, Ida Tarbell, Florence Trail, Hüseyin Rahmi Gürpınar, Margery Williams, and Harold Bell Wright died in 1944 without having been nominated for the prize.

Official list of nominees and their nominators for the prize
No. Nominee Country Genre(s) Nominator(s)
1 Elisaveta Bagryana (1893–1991)  Bulgaria poetry, translation Stefan Mladenov (1880–1963)[a]
2 Nikolai Berdyaev (1874–1948)  Soviet Union
( Ukraine)
philosophy, theology Alf Nyman (1884–1968)
3 René Béhaine (1880–1966)  France novel, short story, essays Maurice Mignon (1882–1962)
4 Edmund Blunden (1896–1974)  United Kingdom poetry, essays, biography Heinrich Wolfgang Donner (1904-1980)
5 Henriette Charasson (1884–1972)  France poetry, essays, drama, novel, literary
criticism, biography
  • Serge Barrault (1887–1976)
  • Pierre Moreau (1895–1972)
6 Maria Madalena de Martel Patrício (1884–1947)  Portugal poetry, essays António Baião (1878–1961)
7 Teixeira de Pascoaes (1877–1952)  Portugal poetry João António Mascarenhas Júdice (1898–1957)
8 Georges Duhamel (1884–1966)  France novel, short story, poetry, drama, literary criticism Hjalmar Hammarskjöld (1862–1953)
9 Abol-Gassem E'tessam Zadeh (?)  Iran novel, essays Issa Sepahbodi (1896–?)
10 Vilhelm Grønbech (1873–1948)  Denmark history, essays, poetry Sven Lönborg (1871–1959)
11 Hermann Hesse (1877–1962)  Germany
novel, poetry, essays, short story Anders Österling (1884–1981)
12 Johan Huizinga (1872–1945)  Netherlands history Willem van Eysinga (1878–1961)
13 Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (1873–1950)  Denmark novel, short story, essays
  • Harry Fett (1875–1962)
  • Carl Adolf Bodelsen (1894–1978)
14 Enrique Larreta (1875–1961)  Argentina history, essays, drama, novel
15 Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957)  Chile poetry Hjalmar Hammarskjöld (1862–1953)
16 Charles Langbridge Morgan (1894–1958)  United Kingdom drama, novel, essays, poetry Sigfrid Siwertz (1882–1970)
17 Luis Nueda y Santiago (1883–1952)  Spain essays Julio Casares (1877–1964)
18 Arnulf Øverland (1889–1968)  Norway poetry, essays Rolv Thesen (1896–1966)
19 Charles Ferdinand Ramuz (1878–1947)   Switzerland novel, poetry, short story Sigfrid Siwertz (1882–1970)
20 John Steinbeck (1902–1968)  United States novel, short story, screenplay Erik Lönnroth (1910–2002)
21 Paul Valéry (1871–1945)  France poetry, philosophy, essays, drama Ernst Paulus Bendz (1880–1966)

Award ceremony

On 10 December 1944 a luncheon was held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York in place of the customary ceremony in Stockholm. Per Hallström, chairman of the Nobel committee of the Swedish Academy, delivered a lecture on the Nobel Prize laureate in literature that was broadcast the same day. Unable to attend the 1944 award ceremony, Johannes V. Jensen received his prize at Stockholm on 10 December 1945.[5]

At the award ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December 1945 Anders Österling, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy said:

This child of the dry and windy moors of Jutland has, almost out of spite, astonished his contemporaries by a remarkably prolific production. He could well be considered one of the most fertile Scandinavian writers. He has constructed a vast and imposing literary œuvre, comprising the most diverse genres: epic and lyric, imaginative and realistic works, as well as historical and philosophical essays, not to mention his scientific excursions in all directions.[6]


  1. ^ This nomination was originally sent in 1943 but was moved to the nomination list for 1944.


  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1944". nobelprize.org.
  2. ^ Helmer Lång Hundra nobelpris i litteratur 1901-2001, Symposion 2001, p.157-160
  3. ^ "Johannes V. Jensen - Nominations". nobelprize.org.
  4. ^ "Nomination archive". nobelprize.org. April 2020.
  5. ^ "Presentation". nobelprize.org.
  6. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1944 Award Ceremony speech". nobelprize.org.