Sigrid Undset

Sigrid Undset (sĬ´grĬd ŏŏn´sĕt), 1882–1949, Norwegian novelist. Poverty forced Undset to do secretarial work for a time (1898–1908). Her early novels of contemporary life, among them Jenny (1911; tr. 1921, new tr. 2001), were frank and realistic works in which she described women's struggles for selfhood in a male-dominated society but nonetheless strongly upheld traditional social structures. Her writing, always powerfully ethical, deepened in religious intensity after her conversion (1924) to Roman Catholicism. Undset is most famous for her historical novels dealing with universal human problems. Kristin Lavransdatter (3 vol., 1920–22; tr. 1923–27 and 1997–2000), considered her masterpiece, tells of love and religion in medieval Norway. It was followed by the excessively detailed and more explicitly religious Olav Audunsson (4 vol., 1925–27; tr. The Master of Hestviken, 1928–30).

Her later works include tales of contemporary family life, among them Ida Elisabeth (1932, tr. 1933), The Faithful Wife (1936, tr. 1937), and Madame Dorthea (1939, tr. 1940), and the autobiographical The Longest Years (1934, tr. 1935) and Return to the Future (1942). Undset came to the United States after the Nazi invasion of Norway (1940) and made a successful lecture tour of the country before returning home in 1945. She was awarded the 1928 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her work fell into obscurity during the latter half of the 20th cent., but interest in her writing was revived beginning in the 1990s, sparked by the publication of new and improved translations.

See biography by A. H. Winsnes (tr. 1953, repr. 1970); T. Page, ed., The Unknown Sigrid Undset: Jenny and Other Works (2001).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Sigrid Undset: Selected full-text books and articles

FREE! Jenny: A Novel By Sigrid Undset Gyldendal, 1920
Librarian's tip: Translation by Thyra Jackstein-Dohrenburg
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
The Unknown Sigrid Undset: Jenny and Other Works By Sigrid Undset; Tim Pace; Tiina Nunnally Steerforth Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Translation by Tiina Nunnally
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
The Bridal Wreath By Sigrid Undset; C. Archer; J. S. Scott Grosset & Dunlap, 1923
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
"Doubleday Affaren": The Story of Sigrid Undset's Caterina Av Siena By Van Deusen, Natalie Scandinavian Studies, Vol. 87, No. 3, Fall 2015
Arrested in Parody: The Performance of Erlend Nikulausson in Kristin Lavransdatter By Berguson, Claudia Scandinavian Studies, Vol. 82, No. 3, Fall 2010
Unfashionable "Kristin Lavransdatter" By Reinert, Otto Scandinavian Studies, Vol. 71, No. 1, Spring 1999
A History of Norwegian Literature By Harald Beyer New York University Press, 1956
105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry By Whit Burnett Dial Press, 1950
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Writers and Writing By Robert Van Gelder Charles Scribner's Sons, 1946
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