Sigurd Slembe: A Dramatic Trilogy

Sigurd Slembe: A Dramatic Trilogy

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Sigurd Slembe: A Dramatic Trilogy

Sigurd Slembe: A Dramatic Trilogy

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Excerpt

The work here reproduced is probably the noblest production of a literature which, while neither very rich nor very ancient, still deserves to be better known to English readers than it is.Björnstjerne Björnson, who may be said to have created that literature, still remains its most conspicuous figure, although his later work suffers, artistically speaking, from the too obvious enlistment of the author's genius in the service of political and social reform.

To the majority of English readers Björnson is known solely as the author of a series of charming stories of Norwegian peasant life.These stories have been made familiar by repeated translations into English, from the version of "Synnöve Solbakken," prepared byMary Howitt in 1858, to the recently published uniform edition of all the stories, which we owe to Professor Rasmus B. Anderson.But to his countrymen Björnson's fame is far from being founded upon these stories alone.He is chiefly great, not as a novelist, but as a lyric and dramatic poet, and in these phases of his literary activity he is practically unknown to English readers.Yet it is impossible to form any adequate estimate of his genius without taking account of his verse as well as of his prose, and of his dramas no less than of his idyllic tales.

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