Knut Hamsun, Dreamer and Dissenter

Knut Hamsun, Dreamer and Dissenter

Book - 2009
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Yale University

Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun (1859–1952), winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920, was a man both brilliant and controversial. Lauded for his literary achievements by Hemingway, Gide, Hesse, and others, he also provoked outrage for his open collaboration with the Fascists during the German occupation of Norway and for his insistent refusal to renounce his Nazi sympathies.


This gripping biography of Hamsun, now available for the first time in English, offers a nuanced account of this morally ambiguous man. Drawing on Hamsun’s extraordinary private archives and on his psychoanalyst’s notes, Ingar Sletten Kolloen delves deeply into Hamsun’s personal life and character. In vivid and telling detail, he describes Hamsun’s early years in a peasant farming family, his tempestuous and jealousy-racked second marriage, his erratic relationship with his children, and his infamous love affair with Nazi Germany, the roots of which Kolloen traces to Hamsun’s earliest days.  Much like the characters he created in novels such as Hunger, Growth of the Soil, Mysteries, and Pan, Hamsun was irrational, eccentric, strange, and compelling—a man uncomfortable in his own time.


Baker & Taylor
This biography of one of the twentieth century's most important and neglected writers captures the restless and enigmatic spirit of Hamsun and provides a major reassessment of his work.

Publisher: New Haven [Conn.] ; London : Yale University Press, 2009
ISBN: 9780300123562
Branch Call Number: 839.82x HAMSU KOLLO
Characteristics: xii, 378 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Kolloen, Ingar Sletten 1951- Hamsun
Notes: Abridged edition of the author's two volume work published in Norwegian as Hamsun : svermeren and Hamsun : eroberen in 2003-2004


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BernardN_KCMO Sep 12, 2018

This is actually a comment on Knut Hamsun's most famous work, and the work that largely earned him the Nobel Prize he won -- "The Growth of the Soil." My own impression of the work was that it was a lot like American Western novels -- the hard-working individual who clears land to make his world out of the wilderness. The Norwegian sensibility is not quite that of the American West (though there was a Norwegian presence in the upper Middle West), and the Stoic fortitude of Hamsun's characters is something to encounter.


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