Sigrid Undset biography translated to English

Photo: Aschehoug

For the first time ever a Sigrid Undset biography has been translated to English.

The book, translated by Tiina Nunnally, has been given the title “Inside the Gate. Sigrid Undset’s life at Bjerkebæk”.  The biography about the Norwegian author and Nobel Prize laureate was written by Nan Bentzen Skille under the title “Innenfor gjerdet. Hos Sigrid Undset på Bjerkebæk”. Skille has for many years been actively engaged in disseminating information about Sigrid Undset’s litterary production.  

About Undset

Sigrid Undset (1882-1949) was forced by the Second World War and the Nazi invasion to leave her native Norway. She went to the United States but continued to support the resistance movement. After the war she returned to her country and received the Grand Cross of St. Olav for her writing and her patriotic endeavours. Her later works are determined by the experience of her religious conversion and are chiefly apologetic in character. Gymnadenia (1929) [The Wild Orchid], Den brænnende busk (1930) [The Burning Bush], Ida Elisabeth (1932), and Den trofaste hustru (1936) [The Faithful Wife] deal with contemporary subjects. Madame Dorothea (1939) is a historical novel. Her biography of Catherine of Siena was published posthumously in 1951. Sigrid Undset is the author of the autobiographical volumes, Etapper (1929 and 1933) [Stages on the Road] and Elleve aar (1934) [The Longest Years]. She won The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1928.

Presenting the book, the publishers, Aschehoug write:

Behind her reserved exterior Undset was a person with an intense emotional life and an rich creative disposition. Concealed inside the gate at Bjerkebæk in Lillehammer were a luxuriant garden and a home filled with books and children, hard work, sorrows and joys. Especially striking is the story of the children at Bjerkebæk, which presents an unforgettable portrait of a mother who felt the greatest concern for her offspring but was also burdened by despair. 

It is the connection between the successful and the difficult sides of the Nobel Prize winner’s life that Nan Bentzen Skille conveys as she steps inside the gate at Bjerkebæk and enters Undset’s home. Combining the utmost probity and earnestness with a lively narrative and sense of humor, Bentzen Skille offers the reader a portrait of Sigrid Undset that has never been seen before.

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