OF the literary generation in Norway that produced Ibsen and Bjørnson only one author, besides these two masters, was able to attract international attention. Jonas Lie, the first really important Scandinavian novelist, has this distinction. It must be admitted immediately, of course, that Lie's Continental vogue was by no means as extensive as was that of Ibsen; and it probably even fell considerably short of that of Bjørnson. Lie was sufficiently well known in Paris, in the 1890's, however, to attract the attention of a correspondent of the Figaro, though the interview which was arranged in consequence, instead of being reported in the Figaro, ultimately became assimiliated into a series of essays on modern Scandinavian literary figures under the general title Les révoltés scandinaves and published in 1894 in the Revue des deux Mondes. In England, at about the same time, Edmund Gosse found occasion to speak words of rather high praise on Lie in an introduction to an English translation of the Norwegian novelist's The Commodore's Daughters. But even this English critic, whose pronouncements are not always without a certain uncritical enthusiasm, especially in matters Scandinavian, is cautious in predicting for Lie any such international reputation as that of either Ibsen or Bjørnson. Gosse recollects in his Introduction a meeting with the publisher Hegel in Copenhagen, on which occasion the elegant Danish publisher presented him with the first copy of a new novel.
"You shall take this with you, if you will," said Mr. Hegel, "and make acquaintance with Jonas Lie.""And who is Jonas Lie?" I asked. "He is a Norwegian," he answered, "like our friends Bjørnson and Ibsen, and, though comparatively few people know his name to-day, I predict that in ten years' time he will have more readers than any other Scandinavian writer." The prophecy has come true, at all events so far as Scandinavia is concerned. At this moment Jonas Lie is locally the most popular of the Scandinavian novelists.