onsdag 9. januar 2013

Knut Hamsun: Norway's Soul

Author, poet, dramatist and social critic Knut Hamsun was born Knud Petersen on August 4, 1959. Before his death in 1952, at the age of 92, the 70 year span of his penned work included 20 novels, a collection of poetry, short stories, plays and essays. He was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920 and was glorified as being "Norway's Soul" by Norway's King Haakon VII. His great epic, "Growth of the Soil", was the work behind his being honored with the Nobel Prize.

Knut Hamsun began his writing career at the age of approximately 17, after having taken many odd jobs so that he could survive. He worked as a peddler, a store clerk, a shoemaker's assistant and an elementary school teacher before obtaining significant monetary support from a ropemaker that he became apprentice to. The experiences of his diverse work history became the subject of his first book, translated: "The Enigmatic Man: A Love Story from Northern Norway" (1877).

Knut Hamsun believed that it was the intricacies of the human mind that should be encompassed in literature and later, his works were influenced by Norway's New Realism. He was praised as being one of the most influential and innovative writers of 100 years. Several of Hamsun's works were adapted to screenplays by the motion picture industry.

Knut Hamsun's career as a prize-winning rose in the field of literature, and the stem in the school of modern fiction, was not without a thorn. He was verbally expressive about his support of Adolph Hitler and the German effort during World War II. He had even met with Hitler personally, and was the author if Hitler's obituary, describing him as "a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations." For this, he was arrested and tried for the commission of acts of treason. The verdict was that he was fined.

Hamsun was a pioneer of psychological literature and of the neo-romanticism and neo-realism literary movements. Although he has been only a ghost for over 60 years, Hamsun's literary works still remain popular. His life and his words have left a mark in history that will not expire nor be forgotten at any soon second in the passage of time.

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