Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Knut Hamsun was born as Knud Pedersen in Lom in Gudbrandsdalen. He was the fourth son of Peder and Tora (Olsdatter Garmotraedet) Pedersen. He grew up in poverty in Hamarøy in Nordland. At seventeen, he became an apprentice to a ropemaker, and at about the same time he began to write. He then spent several years in America, travelling and working at various jobs, and published his impressions under the title Fra det moderne Amerikas Aandsliv (1889).
In 1889, Hamsun married Bergliot Bech . The marriage ended in 1906. Hamsun then married Marie Andersen (born in 1881) in 1909. She was to be his companion until the end of his life. Marie was a young and promising actress when she met Hamsun, but she ended her career and travelled with him to Hamarøy. There they bought a farm, the idea being "to earn their living as farmers, with his writing providing some additional income". However, after a few years, they decided to move South, to Larvik.
In 1918, the couple bought Nørholm, an old and somewhat dilapidated manor house between Lillesand and Grimstad. The main residence was restored and redecorated. Hamsun would busy himself with his writing undisturbed, although he often travelled to continue his writing in other cities and places.
A fifteen-volume edition of his complete works was published in 1954.
He first received acclaim for his 1890 novel Sult, translated as Hunger. The semi-autobiographical work described a young writer's descent into near madness as a result of hunger and poverty. In many ways, the novel presages the writings of Franz Kafka and other twentieth-century novelists, who explored the madness of the contemporary human condition. The book has since become one of the most influential novels of the 20th century. The work that followed it, Mysteries, was perhaps his masterpiece. Other important works by Hamsun include Pan and The Growth of the Soil, for which he received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1920.
Hamsun was a prominent friend of Germany and German culture, as well as an opponent of British imperialism and Russian stalinism, and he supported Germany both during the First and the Second World War. Despite his immense popularity in Norway and around the world, Hamsun's reputation for a time waned considerably because of his support of Vidkun Quisling's National Socialist government in Norway during World War II. Following a meeting with Joseph Goebbels in 1943, he sent Goebbels his Nobel Prize medal as a gift. Hamsun also met with Adolf Hitler and tried to have him remove Josef Terboven from the position of Reichskommissar of Norway.
After Hitler's death, Hamsun had some commemorative words published in leading Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, describing Hitler as a "warrior for mankind", a "preacher of the gospel of rights for all nations", and a "reformer of the highest rank".
After the war, he was confined for several months in a psychiatric hospital for tests to determine his sanity. In 1948 he was fined 325,000 kroner for collaboration. The Danish author Thorkild Hansen investigated the trial and wrote the book The Trial Against Hamsun (1978) about it, which created a turmoil in Norway. Among other things Hansen stated: "If you want to meet idiots, go to Norway", since he felt that treating an old man like that was outrageous. In 1996 the Swedish director Jan Troell based the movie "Hamsun" on Hansen's book. In "Hamsun" Max von Sydow plays Hamsun.
|1877||Den Gaadefulde. En kjærlighedshistorie fra Nordland (Published under Knud Pedersen)|
|1878||Et Gjensyn (Published under Knud Pedersen Hamsun)|
|1878||Bjørger (Published under Knud Pedersen Hamsun)|
|1889||Lars Oftedal. Udkast (11 articles, earlier printed in Dagbladet)|
|1889||Fra det moderne Amerikas Aandsliv|
|1895||Ved Rigets Port|
|1898||Victoria. En kjærlighedshistorie||Victoria||ISBN 1557131775|
|1902||Munken vendt. Brigantines saga I|
|1903||I Æventyrland. Oplevet og drømt i Kaukasier||In Wonderland||ISBN 0970312555|
|1903||Dronning Tamara (Play in three acts)|
|1904||Det vilde Kor (Poems)|
|1905||Stridende Liv. Skildringer fra Vesten og Østen|
|1906||Under Høststjærnen. En Vandrers Fortælling||Under the Autumn Star||ISBN 1557133433|
|1908||Rosa. Af student Pærelius' papirer||Rosa||ISBN 155713359X|
|1909||En Vandrer spiller med Sordin||A Wanderer Plays on Muted Strings||ISBN 1892295733|
|1910||Livet i vold (Play in four acts)|
|1912||Den sidste Glæde||The Last Joy||ISBN 1931243190|
|1913||Børn av Tiden|
|1915||Segelfoss By 1|
|1915||Segelfoss By 2|
|1917||Markens Grøde 1||Growth of the Soil||ISBN 0394717813|
|1917||Markens Grøde 2|
|1918||Sproget i fare|
|1920||Konerne ved Vandposten I||The Women at the Pump||ISBN 1-55713-244-5|
|1920||Konerne ved Vandposten II|
|1923||Siste Kapitel I|
|1923||Siste Kapitel II|
|1927||Landstrykere I||Wayfarers||ISBN 1557132119|
|1933||Men Livet lever I|
|1933||Men Livet lever II|
|1949||Paa gjengrodde Stier||On Overgrown Paths||ISBN 1892295105|
Books about Hamsun
- Ferguson, Robert. Enigma:The Life of Knut Hamsun Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York: 1987. ISBN 0374520933
- Humpal, Martin. The Roots of Modernist Narrative: Knut Hamsun's Novels Hunger, Mysteries and Pan International Specialized Book Services. 1999 ISBN 8256011785
- Kolloen, Ingar Sletten. Svermeren 2003 Biography
- Kolloen, Ingar Sletten. Erobreren 2004 Biography
- Knut Hamsun Online
- Biography from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Knut Hamsun as nobel prize laureate
- Biography and bibliography
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