The Danish Girl

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The Danish Girl
The Danish Girl novel.jpg
First hardcover edition, 2000
Author David Ebershoff
Country United States
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Allen & Unwin (Australia)
Viking Press (USA)
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 324
ISBN ISBN 0670888087
Followed by Pasadena

The Danish Girl is a novel by American writer David Ebershoff, published in 2000 by the Viking Press in the United States and Allen & Unwin in Australia.


The novel is a fictionalized account of the life of Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery.[1]


The Danish Girl won the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Lambda Literary Award. It was also a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award and an American Library Association Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book.


In The New York Times Book Review, novelist and critic John Burnham Schwartz called the novel "arresting": "I hope people will read 'The Danish Girl.' It is fascinating and humane."[2] Critic Richard Bernstein wrote The New York Times, "Mr. Ebershoff is telling us that love does involve a small dark space. The intelligence and tactfulness of his exploration of it make his novel a noteworthy event."[3]


The novel has been translated into more than ten languages and is published in paperback by Penguin.

Film adaptation[edit]

The novel is being adapted into a feature film directed by Tom Hooper, and starring Eddie Redmayne as Einar Wegener, Alicia Vikander as Gerda Wegener, and Amber Heard as Oola. Matthias Schoenaerts and Ben Whishaw are also starring.[4]

Originally, the film was to be directed by Tomas Alfredson, who was later replaced by Lasse Hallström. A number of actresses have also been linked to the project, including Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron and Rachel Weisz.[5]


  1. ^ John Burnham Schwartz, "Metamorphosis," The New York Times Book Review, February 27, 2000.
  2. ^ John Burnham Schwartz, "Metamorphosis," The New York Times Book Review, February 27, 2000.
  3. ^ Richard Bernstein, "'The Danish Girl': Radical Change and Enduring Love," The New York Times, February 14, 2000. ("The historical fact is that in 1931 a Danish painter named Einar Wegener became the first man ever to be transformed surgically into a woman, changing her name to Lili Elbe and eventually leaking her story to the press. In 'The Danish Girl' David Ebershoff uses the bare facts of Wegener-Elbe's story to summon a rich imagined universe in which the main event is less the sexual transformation itself than the way that transformation affected other people.")
  4. ^ "The Danish Girl". IMDb. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ Toro, Gabe. "Les Miserables Cohorts Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hooper Reuniting For The Danish Girl". Cinema Blend. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 

External links[edit]