A Hamsun centennial

Nobel Prize-winning Markens grøde turns 100 this year, to much celebration in Norway

M. Michael Brady
Asker, Norway

The centennial this year of the publication of Knut Hamsun’s Markens grøde (Growth of the Soil), for which Hamsun was awarded the 1920 Nobel Prize in Literature, will be celebrated from June through November at venues in North Norway and in Oslo (See events).

Knut Hamsun (1859-1952) was one of the most prolific and influential Norwegian writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. In all, he published more than 20 novels, many short stories and plays, a collection of poetry, a travelogue, and several essays. He was a pioneer of psychological literature and the stream of consciousness style, and he influenced many authors, including Americans Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller.

Several motion pictures have been based on his works, perhaps most famously Markens grøde, the 1921 silent film by Danish director and actor Gunnar Sommerfeldt (1890-1947). In it, Norwegian actor Amund Rydland (1888-1967) played the lead male role of Isak Sellanraa who, with his wife Inger, settles and lives in rural North Norway, awed by modernity yet in conflict with it as they adopt the agrarian lifestyle.

• June 1-August 21: Markens grøde Summer, Hamsun Center, Hammarøy.

• August 21: Dikterdager (Poet days), Lom, Sjåk, and Våga.

• September 2: Bob Dylan and Knut Hamsun, Tom Roger Aadland, rock musician.

• September 20-October 2: Árran lulesami center, Tysfjord, “Markens grøde—100 år etter—er allting glemt?” (Markens grøde—100 years on—is all forgotten?).

• Late September: Symposium on Markens grøde, University of Nordland, Bodø.

• November 20-24, Literature House, Oslo, Markens grøde centennial.

Further reading: “Hamsun ga oppskrift en på det enkle liv” (Hamsun wrote the recipe for the simple life), Aftenposten, Section 2, May 21, 2017, link to online version: www.aftenposten.no/kultur/Hamsun-ga-oppskriften-pa-det-enkle-liv-621241b.html.

This article originally appeared in the June 2, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.