How did Irene Ellefsen come to write about Jens Munk?
In her book JENS MUNK. JAKTEN På NORDVESTPASSASJEN, Irene Ellefsen tells how in early 2016 she had never heard of Jens Munk, but fortuitously came upon his name, which eventually led her to write the book. She was just so inspired by him! Below is what is writes in her book - translated from Bokmål to English by yours truly. Attached is the brief review Otto Christensen of Gimli, Manitoba,
wrote. He found the book informative and authoritative. Regards, Rolf.
Here she is:
Not many people in Norway have heard of Jens Munk. That was true for me too, until one fall day in 2016 when I came across a random page in a thick book. The book was bound in a textile cover with a faded red and golden design. It smelled like an old library. A sentence shone on me from its glossy pages:
"Except for the well-known explorer Jens Munk who went to school in Fredrikstad in 1586-1588, none of the school's pupils in the first period achieved fame."
Who was this famous explorer and why was it the first time I heard about him? The small sentence was pretty well all I found about Munk in this big book, which was actually Volume 1 of
Martin Dehli's Fredrikstad City History. The fact that Jens Munk was a somewhat enigmatic explorer who moreover lived in the Renaissance made me curious. I flipped through Dehli's file, neatly handwritten, yellowed sheets, until I found his source for the information on Jens Munk. It became the first step in a long treasure hunt. During my search for more information, one thought gradually grew bolder. I was going to write a book about Jens Munk!
”Jens Munk - Jakten på Nordvestpassasjen”
Vi har en fantastisk sakprosadebutant på utgivelseslista i høst: Irene A. Ellefsen heter hun, og hun har en fantastisk evne til å gjøre historien levende. I fortellingen om Jens Munk har hun vært tro mot fakta og historiske kilder, samtidig som miljøskildringene er skrevet slik at leseren føler seg omgitt av tiden og historien med alle sanser. Her får du innblikk i en del av historien vår på en ny måte. Nysgjerrig? Da kan du kan bestille et gratiskapittel fra boka her: (see link below)
On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Jens Munk’s journey we have a new book - released August 2019. It is written by Irene Almkvist Ellefsen, who is the curator of the ‘Østfoldmuseene - Frederiksstad Museum’, Norway. The book is written in Norwegian, but can easily be enjoyed by people who read and understand Danish.
Ellefsen writes in the prologue: In my search for information about Jens Munk one idea gradually came to fruition. I should write a book about him. The learning curve was steep and had many detours. Although Munk is best known for his expedition in search for the Northwest Passage, there were many equally interesting episodes in his life. Step by step I have combed through the written sources. (p. 12)
The result is a book of 322 pages with an additional 32 pages of illustrations, charts, and maps, written so as to keep the reader’s attention to the last page. The book is published by Humanist Forlag AS, Oslo. You can download a chapter of the book for free on their webpage: https://www.humanistforlag.no/jens-munk-jakten-paa-nordvestpassasjen.6236173-325676.html?fbclid=IwAR0379DMGGgFIe4bXi8xS9S3c_izP-LmQ-1jmlsgJxNjo8_QuOk_LOaLiDE .
I have not been able to find a review of the book on the web. The above description is based on my own reading. I recommend the book to anyone who wants a more fact-based account of Munk’s life that what you get from Thorkild Hansen’s Book: Jens Munk (Copenhagen, 1965). Hansen was an author rather than a historian. In Ellefsen’s case it is the other way around. The book has been well received in Norway, even suggested as a Fathers’ Day Gift. It is so new that no other language translation is available. My guess is that it is just a question of time before this lack will be remedied. We’ll see.
With all due respect,
Otto Christensen, Gimli, Mb.
- Member of the Jens Munk Commemorative Steering Committee
Federation of Danish Associations in Canada