NORWEGIAN LITERATUREEarly Norse literature is inextricably bound up with Icelandic literature .
See also:Iceland was colonized from Norway in the 9th century, and the colonists were
See also:drawn chiefly from the upper and cultured classes . They took with them their
See also:poetry and
See also:literary traditions . Old Norse literature is therefore dealt with under Iceland (q.v.) . (See also
See also:EDDA, SAGA, RUNES.) The
See also:modern literature of Norway bears something of the same relation to that of Denmark that
See also:American literature bears to
See also:English . In each case the development and separation of a dependency have produced a
See also:desire on the
See also:part of persons speaking the
See also:tongue for a literature that shall
See also:express the
See also:local emotions and conditions of the new nation . Two notable events led to the foundation of a
See also:separate Norwegian literature: the one was the creation of the university of
See also:Christiania in 1811, and the other was the separation of Norway from Denmark in 1814 . Before this
See also:time Norwegian writers had been content, as a
See also:rule, to publish their
See also:works at
See also:Copenhagen . The first name on the
See also:annals of Danish literature, Peder
See also:Clausen, is that of a Norwegian; and if all Norse writers were removed from that
See also:roll, the
See also:list would be poorer by some of its most illustrious names, by Holberg, Tullin,
See also:Wessel, Treschow,
See also:Steffens and
See also:Hauch . The first
See also:book printed in Norway was an
See also:almanac, brought out in Christiania in 1643 by a wandering printer named Tyge Nielsen, who brought his types from Copenhagen . But the first
See also:press set up definitely in Norway was that of Valentin Kuhn, brought over from Germany in 165o by the theologian Christian Stephensen
See also:Bang (158o--1678) to help in the circulation of his numerous tracts . Bang's Christianiae Stads Beskrifuelse (r65r), is the first book published in Norway .
See also:Jensen (d . 1653) was a
See also:priest who collected a small glossary or glosebog of the local dialects, published in 1656 . Gerhard Milzow (1629—1688), the author of a Presbylerologia Norwegica (1679), was also a Norse priest . The earliest Norwegian writer of any
See also:original merit was Dorthe Engelbrechtsdatter (1634—1716), afterwards the wife of the pastor Ambrosius Hardenbech . She is the author of several volumes of religious poetry which have enjoyed
See also:great popularity . The hymn-writer Johan Brunsmann (1637—1707), though a Norseman by
See also:birth, belongs by
See also:education and
See also:temper entirely to Denmark . Not so Petter
See also:Dass (1647—1708) (q.v.), the most original writer whom Norway produced and retained at home during the
See also:period of annexation . Another priest,
See also:Jonas Ramus (1649—1718), wrote Norriges Kongers Historic (
See also:History of the Norse
See also:Kings) in 1719, and Norriges Beskrivelse (1735) . The celebrated missionary to
See also:Greenland, Hans
See also:Egede (1686—1758), wrote several works on his experiences in that
See also:country . Peder Hersleb (1689—1757) was the compiler of some popular
See also:treatises of Lutheran
See also:theology . Frederik Nannestad,
See also:bishop of Trondhjem (1693-1774), started a weekly
See also:gazette in 176o . The missionary Knud Leem (1697—1774) published a number of works on the Lapps of Finmark, one at least of which, his Beskrivelse over Finmarkens Lapper (1767), still possesses considerable
See also:interest .
The famous ErikPontoppidan (1698—1764) cannot be regarded as a Norwegian, for he did not leave Denmark until he was made bishop of
See also:Bergen, at the age of
See also:forty-nine . On the other
See also:hand the far more famous Baron Ludvig Holberg (1684—1754), belongs to Denmark by everything but birth, having
See also:left Norway in childhood . A few Norsemen of the beginning of the 18th century distinguished themselves chiefly in science . Of these Johan
See also:Ernst Gunnerus (1718—1773), bishop of Trondhjem, was the first man who gave close
See also:attention to the Norwegian
See also:flora . He founded the Norwegian Royal Society of Sciences in 176o, with Gerhard Schoning (1722—1780) the historian and Hans Strom (1726—1797) the zoologist . Peder Christofer Stenersen (1723—1776), a writer of occasional verses, merely led the way for Christian Braumann Tullin (1728—1765), a lyrical poet of exquisite
See also:genius, who is claimed by Denmark but who must be mentioned here, because his poetry was not only mainly composed in Christiania, but breathes a local spirit . Danish literature between the great names of Evald and
See also:Baggesen presents us with hardly a single figure which is not that of a Norseman . The director of the Danish
See also:national theatre in 1771 was a Norwegian, Niels Krog Bredal (1733—1778), who was the first to write lyrical dramas in Danish . A Norwegian, Johan Nordahl Brun (1745—1816), was the
See also:principal tragedian of the time, in the French taste . It was a Norwegian, J . H . Wessel (1742—1785), who laughed this taste out of fashion .
In 1772 the Norwegian poets were so strong in Copenhagen that they formed a Norske Selskab (Norwegian Society), which exercised a tyranny over contemporary letters which was only shaken when Baggesen appeared . Among the leading writers of this period are Claus Frimann (1746—1829),
See also:Peter Harboe Frimann (1752—1839), Claus
See also:Fasting (1746—1791), Johan Wibe (1948—1782), Edvard
See also:Storm (1749—1794), C . H .
See also:Pram (1756—1821), Jonas
See also:Rein (1760-1821), Jens Zetlitz (1761—1821), and Lyder Christian Sagen (1771—1850), all of whom, though Norwegians by birth, find their place in the annals of Danish literature . To these poets must be added the philosophers Niels Treschow (1751—1833) and Henrik Steffens (1773—1845), and in later times the poet Johannes Carsten Hauch (1790-1872) . The first
See also:form which Norwegian literature took as an
See also:independent thing was what was called " Syttendemai-Poesi," or The poetry of the 17th of May, that being the
See also:day on which „Trefoil.” Norway obtained her independence and proclaimed forward her
See also:king . Three poets, called the "
See also:Trefoil," came as the inaugurators of Norwegian thought in 1814 . Of these
See also:Conrad Nicolai Schwach (1793—1860) was the least remarkable . Henrik Anker Bjerregaard (1792—1842),
See also:born in the same
See also:hamlet of Ringsaker as Schwach, had a much brighter and more varied
See also:talent . His
See also:Miscellaneous Poems, collected at Christiania in 1829, contain some charming studies from nature, and admirable patriotic songs . He brought out a tragedy of
See also:Magnus Batfods Sonnet' (Magnus Barefoot's Sons) and a lyrical drama, Fjeldeventyret (The Adventure in the Mountains) (1828) . He became
See also:judge of the supreme
See also:court of the
See also:diocese of Christiania .
The third member of the Trefoil, Mauritz Kristoffer
See also:Hansen (1794—1842), was a schoolmaster . His novels, of which Ottar de Bretagne (1819) was the earliest, were much esteemed in their day, and after his
See also:death were collected and edited (8 vols., 1855—1858), with a memoir by Schwach . Hansen's Poems, printed at Christiania in 1816, were among the earliest publications of a liberated Norway, but were preceded by a
See also:volume of Smaadigte (
See also:Short Poems) by all three poets, edited by Schwach in 1815, as a semi-
See also:political manifesto . These writers, of no great genius in themselves, did much by their
See also:industry and patriotism to form a basis for Norwegian literature . The creator of Norwegian literature, however, was the poet Henrik
See also:Wergeland (1808—1845) (q.v.), a man of great genius and
See also:enthusiasm, who contrived within the limits of a
See also:life as short as
See also:Byron's to concentrate the labours 8n" of a dozen ordinary men of letters . He held views in wethaven. most respects similar to those pronounced by
See also:Rousseau and Shelley . His obscurity and extravagance stood in the way of his teaching, and his only disciples in poetry were Sylvester Sivertson (18o9—1847), a journalist of talent whose verses were collected in 1848, and Christian Monsen (1815—1852) . A far more wholesome and constructive influence was that of Johann Sebastian Cammermeyer Welhaven (1807—1873) (q.v.), who was first brought to the
See also:surface by the conservative reaction in 183o against the extravagance of the
See also:radical party . A savage attack on Henrik Wergeland's Poetry, published in 1832, caused a great sensation, and produced an angry pamphlet in reply from the
See also:father, Nikolai Wergeland . The controversy became the
See also:main topic of the day, and in 1834 Welhaven pushed it into a wider
See also:arena by the publication of his beautiful cycle of satirical sonnets called Norges Dcemring (The
See also:Dawn of Norway), in which he preached a full conservative
See also:gospel . He was assisted in his controversy with Wergeland by Henrik Hermann
See also:Foss (1790-1853), author of Tidsnornerne (The
See also:Norns of the Age) (1835) and other verses . Andreas Munch (1811—1884) took no part in the
See also:feud between Wergeland and Welhaven, but addicted himself to the study of Danish
See also:models independently of either .
He published a munch.series of poems and dramas, one of which latter,
See also:Kong Sverres Ungdom (1837), attracted some
See also:notice . His popularity commenced with the appearance of his Poems Old and New in 1848 . His highest level as a poet was reached by his epic called Kongedatterens Brudef
See also:art (The Bridal
See also:Journey of the King's Daughter) (1861) . Two of his
See also:historical dramas have enjoyed a popularity greatly in excess of their merit; these are Solomon de Caus (1854) and
See also:Russell (1857) . A
See also:group of minor poetical writers may now be considered . Magnus Brostrup Landstad (18oa–188o) was born on Maaso, an
See also:island in the vicinity of the
See also:North Cape, and, therefore, in higher lati- Minor tudes than any other man of letters . He was a hymn-writer poets. of merit, and he was the first to collect, in 1853, the Norske Folkeviser or Norwegian folk-songs . Landstad was ordered by the
See also:government to prepare an official national hymn-book, which was brought out in 1861: Peter Andreas Jensen (1812–1867) published volumes of lyrical poetry in 1838, 1849, 1855 and 1861, and two dramas . He was also the author of a novel, En Erindring (A Souvenir), in 1857 . Aasmund Olafsen Vinje (1818–187o) was a
See also:peasant of remarkable talent, who was the principal
See also:leader of the
See also:movement known as the " maalstrnv," an effort to distinguish Norwegian from Danish literature by the adoption of a peasant dialect, or rather a new language arbitrarily formed on a collation of the various dialects, Vinje wrote a volume of lyrics, which he published in 1864, and a narrative poem, Storegut (Big Lad) (1866), entirely in this fictitious language, and he even went so far as to issue in it a newspaper, Dolen (The Dalesman), which appeared from 1858 to Vinje's death in 1870 . In these efforts he was supported by Ivar
See also:Aasen and by Kristoffer Janson (b . 1841) the philologist, the author of an historical tragedy, Jon
See also:Arason (1867) ; several novels: Fraa Bygdom (1865); Torgrim (1872); Fra Dansketidi (1875) ; Han og Ho (1878) ; and Austanfyre Sol og Vestanfyre Maane (East of the
See also:Sun and West of the
See also:Moon) (1879) ; besides a powerful but morbid drama in the ordinary language of Norway, En Kvindeskjebne (A Woman's
See also:Fate) (1879) .
In 1882 he left Norway for
See also:America as a Unitarian
See also:minister, and from this
See also:exile he sent home in 1885 what is perhaps the best of his books, The Saga of the
See also:Prairie .
See also:Superior to all the preceding in the quality of his lyrical writing was the bishop of
See also:Christiansand, Jurgen Moe (1813—1882) . He is, however, better known by his labours in
See also:mythology, in conjunction with P . C . Asbjornsen (see ASBJORNSEN AND MOE) . The names of the Norwegians
See also:Ibsen (q.v.) and
See also:Bjornson (q.v.), in the two
See also:fields of the drama and the novel, stand out prominently in Modern the
See also:European literature of the later 19th century; and novelists two writers of novels who owe much to their example are and onas Lie (q.v.), and
See also:Alexander Kielland (1849-1906) . drama- Nicolai Ramm Ostgaard (1812-1872) to some extent pre- dsrs, ceded Bjornson in his graceful
See also:romance En Fjeldbygd (A
See also:Parish), in 1852 . Frithjof Foss (1830-1899) ,who wrote under the pseudonym of
See also:Israel Dehn, attracted notice by seven separate stories published between 1862 and 1864 . Jacobine Camilla Collett (1813-1895),
See also:sister of the poet Wergeland, wrote Amtmanden.s Dottre (The
See also:Governor's Daughters) (1855), an excellent novel, and the first in Norwegian literature which attempted the truthful description of ordinary life . She was a
See also:pioneer in the movement for the emancipation of
See also:women in Norway . Anne Magdalene Thoresen (1819-1903), a Dane by birth, wrote a series of novels of peasant life in the manner of Bjornson, of whom she was no unworthy
See also:pupil . One of her best novels is Signes Historie (1864) .
She also wrote some lyrical poetry and successful dramas . The principal historian of Norway is History, Peter Andreas Munch (1810-1863), whose multifarious writings include agrammar of Old Norse (1847); a col-etc.
See also:lection of Norwegian
See also:laws until the
See also:year 1387 (1846-1849); a study of Runic inscriptions (1848); a history and description of Norway during the
See also:middle ages (1849) ; and a history of the Norwegian
See also:people in 8 vols . (1852-1863); Jakob Aall (1773-1844) was associated with Munch in this
See also:work . Christian
See also:Berg (1775-1852) was another worker in the same
See also:field . Jakob Rudolf Keyser (1803-1864) printed and annotated the most important documents dealing with the
See also:medieval history of Norway . Carl
See also:Richard Unger (b . 1817) took part in the same work and edited Morkinskinna in 1867 . His edition of the elder Edda (1867) forms a landmark in the study of Scandinavian antiquities . Oluf Rygh (1833-1899) contributed to the archaeological part of history . The modern language of Norway found an admirable grammarian in Jakob Olaus Lokke t I829-1881) . A careful historian and ethnographer was Ludvig Kristensen Daa (18o9-1877) . Ludvig Daae (b .
1834) has written the history of Christiania, and has traced the
See also:chronicles of Norway during the Danish possession . Bernt Moe (1814-185o) was a careful biographer of the heroes of Eidsvold . Eilert Lund Sundt (1817-1875) published some very curious and valuable works on the
See also:condition of the poorer classes in Norway .
See also:Professor J . A .
See also:Friis (b . 1821) published the folk-lore of the Lapps in a series of valuable volumes . The German orientalist, Christian Lassen (18o0-1876) was a Norwegian by birth . Lorentz Dietrichson (b . 1834) wrote voluminously both on
See also:Swedish and Norwegian, chiefly on Norwegian art and literature . In
See also:jurisprudence the principal Norwegian authorities are Anton
See also:Martin Schweigaard (1808-1870) and Frederik Stang (1808-1884) . Peter Carl Lasson (1798-1873) and Ulrik Anton >tlotzfelt (1807-1865) were the
See also:lights of an earlier generation .
In medical science, the great writer of the beginning of the 19th century wasMichael Skjelderup (1769-1852), who was succeeded by Frederik Holst (1791-1871) . Daniel Cornelius Danielsen (b . 1815) was a prominent dermatologist; but probably the most eminent of modern physiologists in Norway is Carl Wilhelm Boeck (1808-1875) . The elder
See also:brother of the last-mentioned, Christian Peter Bianco Boeck (1798-1877), also demands recognition as a medical writer . Christopher
See also:Hansteen (1784-1873) was professor of
See also:mathematics at the university for nearly sixty years . Michael Sars (1805-1869) obtained a European reputation through his investigations in invertebrate zoology . He was assisted by his son Georg
See also:Ossian Sars (b . 1837) . Baltazar Matthias Keilhau (1797-1858) and Theodor Kjerulf (1825-1888) have been the leading Norwegian geologists . Mathias Numsen Blytt (1789-1862) represents botany . His Norges Flora, part of which was published in 1861, was left incomplete at his death . Niels Henrik
See also:Abel (18o2-1829) (q.v.) was a mathematician of extraordinary promise; Ole Jakob Broch (1818-1889) must be mentioned in the same connexion .
Among theological writers may be mentioned Hans Nielsen
See also:Hauge (1771-1824), author of the
See also:sect which bears his name; Svend Borchman Hersleb (1784-1836); Stener Johannes Stenersen (1789-1835); Wilhelm Andreas \\exels (1797-1866); a writer of extraordinary popularity; and Carl Paul
See also:Caspari (1814-1892), a German of Jewish birth, who adopted
See also:Christianity and became professor of theology in the university of Christiania . The political crisis of 1884-1885, which produced so remarkable an effect upon the material and social life of Norway, was not without its influence upon literature . There had The new movement, followed to the great generation of the 'sixties, led by Ibsen and Bjornson, a
See also:race of entirely prosaic writers, of no great talent, much exercised with " problems." The movement which began in 1885 brought back the
See also:fine masters of a previous imaginative age, silenced the problem-setters, and encouraged a whole generation of new men, realists of a healthier sort . In 1885 the field was still held by the three main names of 817 modern Norse literature—Ibsen, Bjornson and Lie . Henrik Ibsen proceeded deliberately with his labours, and his name at the same time
See also:grew in reputation and influence . The advance of Bjornstjerne Bjornson was not so
See also:regular, because it was disturbed by political issues . Moreover, his early peasant tales once more, after having suffered great neglect, grew to be a force, and Bjornson's example has done much to revive an interest in the art of
See also:verse in Norway . Jonas Lie, the most popular novelist of Norway, continued to publish his pure, fresh and eminently characteristic stories . His
See also:style, colloquial almost to a
See also:fault, has neither the charm of Bjornson nor the art of some of the latest generation . Ibsen, Bjornson and Lie continued, however, to be the three representative authors of their country . Kristian
See also:Elster (1841-1881) showed great talent in his pessimistic novels Tora Trondal (1879) and Dangerous People (1881) . Kristian Gloersen (b .
1838) had many
See also:affinities with Elster .
See also:Arne Garborg (1851) was brought up under sternly pietistic influences in a remote country parish, the
See also:child of peasant parerts, in the south-west corner of Norway, and the gloom of these early surroundings has tinged all his writings . The early novels of Garborg were written in the peasant dialect, and for that reason, perhaps, attracted little attention . It was not until 1890 that he addressed the public in ordinary language, in his extraordinary novel, Tired Men, which produced a deep sensation . Subsequently Gargorg returned, with violence, to the cultivation of the peasant language, and took a foremost part in the maalstrrev . A novelist of considerable crude force was Amalie
See also:Skram (1847-1905), wife of the Danish novelist, Erik Skram . Her novels are destitute of literary beauty, but excellent in their local
See also:colour, dealing with life in Bergen and the west
See also:coast . But the most extravagant product of the prosaic period was Hans Jwger (b . 1854), a sailor by profession, who left the
See also:sea, obtained some instruction and embarked on literature . Jwger accepted the naturalistic formulas wholesale, and outdid Zola himself in the harshness of his pictures of life . Several of Jwger's books, and in particular his novel Morbid Love (1893), were immediately suppressed, and can with great difficulty be referred to . Knud Hamsun (b .
186o) has been noted for his egotism, and for the bitterness of his attacks upon his
See also:fellow writers and the great names of literature . Hamsun is seen at his best in the powerful romance called
See also:Hunger (1888) . A writer of a much more pleasing, and in its quiet way of a much more original
See also:order, is Hans Aanrud (b . 1863) . His
See also:humour, applied to the observation of the Ostland peasants—Aanrud himself comes from the Gulbrandsdal—is exquisite; he is by far the most amusing of
See also:recent Norwegian writers, a race whose fault it is to take life too seriously . His
See also:story, How Our Lord made
See also:Hay at Asmund Bergemellum's (1887), is a little masterpiece . Peter Egge (b . 1869), a
See also:young novelist and playwright from Trondhjem, came to the front with careful studies of types of Norwegian temperament . In his Jacob and Christopher (1900) Egge also proved himself a successful writer of
See also:comedy . Gunnar
See also:Heiberg (b . 1857), although older than most of the young generation, has but lately come into prominence . His poetical drama, The
See also:Balcony, made a sensation in 1894, but ten years earlier his comedy of Aunt Ulrica should have awakened anticipation .
His strongest work is Love's Tragedy (1904) . Two young writers of great promise were removed in the very heyday of success,
See also:Gabriel Finne (1866-1899) and Sigbjorn Obstfelder (1866-1900) . The last mentioned, in The Red Drops and The
See also:Cross, published in 1897, gave promise of something new in Norwegian literature . Obstfelder, who died in a hospital in Copenhagen inAugust 1goo, left an important book in MS., A Priest's
See also:Diary (1901) . Verse was banished from Norwegian literature, during the years that immediately preceded 1885 . The
See also:credit of restoring it belongs to
See also:Sigurd Bodtker, who wrote an extremely naturalistic piece called Love, in the manner of
See also:Heine . The earliest real poet of the new generation is, however, Niels Collett
See also:Vogt (b . 1864), who published a little volume of Poems in 1887 . Arne Dybfest (1868-1892), a young anarchist who committed suicide, was a decadent egotist of the most pronounced type, but a poet of unquestionable talent, and the writer of a remarkably melodious
See also:prose . In 1891 was printed in a
See also:magazine Vilhelm Krag's (b . 1871) very remarkable poem called Fandango, and shortly afterwards a collection of his lyrics . Vogt and V .
Krag continued to be the leading lyrical writers of the period, and although they have many imitators, they cannot be said to have found any rivals . Vilhelm Krag turned to prose fiction, and his novelsIsaac Seehuusen (19o0) and Isaac Kapergast (1901) are excellent studies of Westland life . More distinguished as a novelist, however, is his brother,
See also:Thomas P . Krag (b . 1868), who published a series of romantic novels, of which Ada
See also:Wilde (1897) is the most powerful . His short stories are full of delicate charm . Hans E . Kinck (b . 1865) is an accomplished writer of short stories from peasant life, written in dialect . Bernt Lie (b . 1868) is the author of popular works of fiction, mainly for the young . Sven Nilssen (b .
1864) is the author of a very successful novel, The Barque Franciska (1go1) . With him may be mentioned the popular dramatist and memoir-writer,
See also:Paulsen (b . 1851), author of The Widow's Son . Johan Bojer (b . 1872) has written satirical romances, of which the most powerful is The Power of Faith (1903) . Jakob Hilditch (b . 1864) has written many stories and sketches of a purely national kind, and is the
See also:anonymous author of a most diverting parody of banal provincial journalism; Tranviksposten (1900-1901) . The leading critics are Carl Nxrup (b . 1864) and Hjalmar Christensen (b . 1869), each of whom has published collections of essays dealing with the aspects of recent Norwegian literature . The death of the leading bibliographer and lexicographer of Norway, Jens Braage Halvorsen (1845-1900), inflicted a
See also:blow upon the literary history of his country; his
See also:Dictionary of Norwegian Authors (1885-Igoo)—left for completion by Halfdan Koht—is one of the most elaborate works of its kind ever undertaken . Among recent historians of Norway much activity has been shown by Ernst Sars (b .
1835) and Yngvar Nielsen (b . 1843) . The great historian of
See also:northern jurisprudence was L . M . B . Aubert (1838-1896), and in this connexion T . H . Aschehoug (b . 1822) must also be mentioned . The leading philosopher of Norway in those years was the Hegelian
See also:Marcus Jakob Monrad (b . 1816), whose
See also:Aesthetics of 1889 is his
See also:master-piece . The close of 1899 and the beginning of 1900 were occupied by a discussion, in which every Norwegian author took part, The as to the adoption of the landsmaal, or composite •~maaJ . dialect of the peasants, in place of the rigsmaal or
See also:con- Dano-Norwegian .
See also:prejudice greatly emtroversy. bittered the controversy, but the proposition that the landsmaal, which
See also:dates from the exertions of
See also:Ivan Aasen (q.v.) in 185o, should oust the language in which all the
See also:classics of Norway are written, was opposed by almost every philologist and writer in the country, particularly by Bjornson and Sophus
See also:Bugge (b . 1833) . On the other side, Arne Garborg's was almost the only name which carried any literary
See also:weight . The maal has no doubt enriched the literary tongue of the country with many valuable words and turns of expression, but there the
See also:advantage of it ends, and it is difficult to feel the slightest sympathy with a movement in favour of suppressing the language in which every one has hitherto expressed himself, in order to adopt an artificial dialect which exists mainly on paper, and which is not the - natural speech of any one
See also:body of persons throughout the whole of Norway .
There are no comments yet for this article.
Do not copy, download, transfer, or otherwise replicate the site content in whole or in part.
Links to articles and home page are encouraged.