Scandinavian Fiction Classical and Contemporary Literature.
The Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – have long literary tradions. A number of writers from these countries are very well known internationally and several have received Nobel Prizes in Literature for their work: Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson (Norway) 1902, Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf (Sweden) 1909, Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam (Sweden) 1916, Karl Adolph Gjellerup & Henrik Pontoppidan (Denmark) 1919, Knut Pedersen Hamsun (Norway) 1920, Sigrid Undset (Norway) 1928, Frans Eemil Sillanpää (Finland) 1939, Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (Denmark) 1944, Pär Fabian Lagerkvist (Sweden) 1951, Halldór Kiljan Laxness (Iceland) 1955, and Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson (Sweden) 1974.
We have a section for each of the Scandinavian countries: Danish writers, Finnish writers, Icelandic writers,Norwegian writers and Swedish writers. We focus on writers that have been translated into English, and try to bring reviews of both classical novels and contemporary fiction.
We also have started to build a section on Scandinavian emigrant writers, but these are in some cases hard to identify. Also, we have a section on Scandinavian literary history, as well as on literary awards in the Scandinavian countries, and on the Nordic Council literary award.
Hunger, by Knut Hamsun.
Knut (Pedersen) Hamsun was an internationally renowned Norwegian novelist, dramatist, poet, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920. Knut Hamsun received the Nobel Prize for his novel Growth of the Soil.Growth of the Soil is a very special, extremely well written, spectacular book. However, it is only one among many spectacular books by Knut Hamsun.
The book that first launched Knut Hamsun in the European literary scene was Hunger. When asked about the book, he told a friend, “What interests me are my little soul’s endless emotions, the special, strange life of the mind, the mysteries of the nerves in a hungry body.” And that is exactly what the book is about. An extremely strange book, and a literary revolution in the making when it was written – a lit torch thrown right in the face of the predominantly social-realist European literary establishment of the time. Its refreshing viewpoint and impulsive, lyrical style had an electrifying effect on European writers.
To many observers, Hunger presaged the writings of authors such as Franz Kafka and other twentieth-century novelists, with its internal monologue and bizarre logic. It is impulsive, electric, esoteric, and confusing, but also written with the sharp and distinctive style that characterizes Hamsun. The novel breaks grammatical rules and it’s tenses skip around. The language itself is used as a means to show the state of mind of the main character and to energize the story.