A History of Norwegian Literature

A History of Norwegian Literature

A History of Norwegian Literature

A History of Norwegian Literature

Synopsis

"An excellent comprehensive one-volume introduction in English to Norwegian literature within its historical context."-ChoiceLong under the cultural domination of Denmark and the political hegemony of Sweden, Norway first defined itself through its literature and continues to do so to our day. A History of Norwegian Literature reviews the complex role literature has played in Norway since runic times. Beginning with rock carvings five millennia old, Norwegian literature first came to flower with the Norse poets of the ninth century, who chronicled the heroism of Viking explorers and conquerers.The authors describe the subsequent progression of Norwegian literature through the middle ages and the baroque to Ludvig Holberg and the age of enlightenment, and from thence to the cultural debates of the nineteenth century, the dramas of Ibsen, the psychological novels of Sigurd Hoel, the modernist poetry of the 1950s and 1960s, and the postmodernism of the present. The works of Nobel Prize winners Sigrid Undset, Knut Hamsun, and Bjornstjerne Bjornson are covered in some detail, and separate chapters are devoted to children's literature and women writers in Norwegian literature.Like other volumes in A History of Scandinavian Literatures; A History of Norwegian Literature views the literature of Norway not only as part of an interrelated Scandinavian tradition but as part of world literature. A comparative approach is used throughout, and social and cultural history feature prominently. Contributors to Volume 2 include leading scholars James E. Knirk, Kathleen Stokker, Harald Naess, James McFarlane, William Mishler, Jan I. Sj¿vik, Margaret O'Leary, and Faith Ingwersen.Harold S. Naess is Torger Thompson Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Among his other works are Knut Hamsun og America (1969) and an edition of Knut Hamsun: Selected Letters (with James McFarlane, 1990).

Excerpt

This book is part of a five-volume work on the histories of the Scandinavian literatures. Its first objective is to satisfy a deep need in Anglo-American scholarship. Various studies dealing with individual Scandinavian literatures have been published in English. Most of them, however, are outdated, out of print, or cover only limited chronological periods, and only few match contemporary expectations of stringent research; furthermore, most of these works have viewed their subject in isolation.

The five volumes of the present work attempt to view Danish, Faroese, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, and Finnish literature as part of both a continuous interrelationship and world literature at large. For the first time, women's and children's literature have been included, and in addition to a comparatist approach, it has been a major editorial wish to incorporate social and cultural history in the discussion.

Almost fifty internationally recognized scholars from the United States, England, and Scandinavia have contributed to the project. It is aimed at students, comparatists, and a general readership interested in familiarizing themselves with a literary tradition that has produced fifteen Nobel laureates. Since the Middle Ages Scandinavian writers and works have been immensely influential in the development of world literature. They are being introduced and discussed here with the hope that an even larger public will find them attractive, exciting, and entertaining.

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