Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Knut Hamsun - The Wanderer

Knut Hamsun - The Wanderer

Ratings: (0)|Views: 32 |Likes:
Published by DhHaqq B. Thulê
WANDERERS Translated from the Norwegian of Knut Hamsun by W. W. Worster

With an Introduction by W. W. Worster

CONTENTS Under the Autumn Star A Wanderer Plays on Muted Strings

INTRODUCTION An autobiographical element is evident in practically everything that Hamsun has written. But it is particularly marked in the two volumes now published under the common title of "Wanderers," as well as in the sequel named "The Last Joy." These three works must be considered together. They have more in commo
WANDERERS Translated from the Norwegian of Knut Hamsun by W. W. Worster

With an Introduction by W. W. Worster

CONTENTS Under the Autumn Star A Wanderer Plays on Muted Strings

INTRODUCTION An autobiographical element is evident in practically everything that Hamsun has written. But it is particularly marked in the two volumes now published under the common title of "Wanderers," as well as in the sequel named "The Last Joy." These three works must be considered together. They have more in commo

More info:

Published by: DhHaqq B. Thulê on Nov 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

12/04/2012

pdf

text

original

 
WANDERERSTranslated from the Norwegian ofKnut Hamsunby W. W. WorsterWith an Introductionby W. W. WorsterCONTENTSUnder the Autumn StarA Wanderer Plays on Muted StringsINTRODUCTIONAn autobiographical element is evident in practically everything thatHamsun has written. But it is particularly marked in the two volumes nowpublished under the common title of "Wanderers," as well as in thesequel named "The Last Joy." These three works must be consideredtogether. They have more in common than the central figure of "KnutPedersen from the Northlands" through whose vision the fates of CaptainFalkenberg and his wife are gradually unfolded to us. Not only do theyrefer undisguisedly to events known to be taken out of Hamsun's ownlife, but they mirror his moods and thoughts and feelings during acertain period so closely that they may well be regarded as diaries ofan unusually intimate character. It is as psychological documents of theutmost importance to the understanding of Hamsun himself that they havetheir chief significance. As a by-product, one might almost say, thereader gets the art which reveals the story of the Falkenbergs by aprocess of indirect approach equalled in its ingenuity andverisimilitude only by Conrad's best efforts.The line of Hamsun's artistic evolution is easily traceable throughcertain stages which, however, are not separated by sharp breaks. It isimpossible to say that one stage ended and the next one began in acertain year. Instead they overlap like tiles on a roof. Theirrespective characters are strikingly symbolized by the titles of thedramatic trilogy which Hamsun produced between 1895 and 1898--"At theGate of the Kingdom," "The Game of Life," and "Sunset Glow.""Hunger" opened the first period and "Pan" marked its climax, but itcame to an end only with the eight-act drama of "Vendt the Monk" in1902, and traces of it are to be found in everything that Hamsun ever
 
wrote. Lieutenant Glahn might survive the passions and defiances ofhis youth and lapse into the more or less wistful resignation of KnutPedersen from the Northlands, but the cautious, puzzled Knut hasmoments when he shows not only the Glahn limp but the Glahn fire.Just when the second stage found clear expression is a little hard totell, but its most characteristic products are undoubtedly the twovolumes now offered to the American public, and it persists more or lessuntil 1912, when "The Last Joy" appeared, although the first signs ofHamsun's final and greatest development showed themselves as early as1904, when "Dreamers" was published. The difference between the secondand the third stages lies chiefly in a maturity and tolerance of visionthat restores the narrator's sense of humour and eliminates his ownpersonality from the story he has to tell.Hamsun was twenty-nine when he finished "Hunger," and that was the agegiven to one after another of his central figures. Glahn is twenty-nine,of course, and so is the Monk Vendt. With Hamsun that age seemed tostand principally for the high water mark of passion. Because of thefire burning within themselves, his heroes had the supreme courage ofbeing themselves in utter defiance of codes and customs. Because of thatfire they were capable of rising above everything that life mightbring--above everything but the passing of the life-giving passionitself. A Glahn dies, but does not grow old.Life insists on its due course, however, and in reality passion may sinkinto neurasthenia without producing suicides. Ivar Kareno discovers itin "Sunset Glow," when, at the age of fifty, he turns renegade in moresenses than one. But even then his realization could not be fullyaccepted by the author himself, still only thirty-eight, and so Karenosteps down into the respectable and honoured sloth of age only to besucceeded, by another hero who has not yet passed the climacterictwenty-ninth year. Even Telegraph-Rolandsen in "Dreamers" retains theyouthful glow and charm and irresponsibility that used to be thoughtinseparable from the true Hamsun character.It is therefore with something of a shock one encounters the enigmaticKnut Pedersen from the Northlands, who has turned from literature totramping, who speaks of old age as if he had reached the proverbialthree-score and ten, and who time and again slips into something likeactual whining, as when he says of himself: "Time has worn me out sothat I have grown stupid and sterile and indifferent; now I look upon awoman merely as literature." The two volumes named "Under the AutumnStar" and "A Wanderer Plays on Muted Strings" form an unbroken cry ofregret, and the object of that regret is the hey-day of youth--thatgolden age of twenty-nine--when every woman regardless of age and colourand caste was a challenging fragment of life.Something more than the passing of years must have characterized theperiod immediately proceeding the production of the two volumes justmentioned. They mark some sort of crisis reaching to the innermostdepths of the soul it wracked with anguish and pain. Perhaps a clue tothis crisis may be found in the all too brief paragraph devoted toHamsun in the Norwegian "Who's who." There is a line that reads asfollows: "Married, 1898, Bergljot Bassöe Bech (marriage dissolved);1908, Marie Andersen." The man that wrote "Under the Autumn Star" wasunhappy. But he was also an artist. In that book the artist within himis struggling for his existence. In "A Wanderer Plays with MutedStrings" the artist is beginning to assert himself more and more, andthat he had conquered in the meantime we know by "Benoni" and "Rosa"which appeared in 1908. The crisis was past, but echoes of it were heard
 
as late as 1912, the year of "Last Joy," which well may be calledHamsun's most melancholy book. Yet that is the book which seems to havepaved the way and laid the foundation for "The Growth of the Soil"--justas "Dreamers" was a sketch out of which in due time grew "Children ofthe Time" and "Segelfoss Town."Hamsun's form is always fluid. In the two works now published itapproaches formlessness. "Under the Autumn Star" is a mere sketch,seemingly lacking both plan and plot. Much of the time Knut Pedersen ismerely thinking aloud. But out of his devious musings a purpose finallyshapes itself, and gradually we find ourselves the spectator of amarital drama that becomes the dominant note in the sequel. Thedevelopment of this main theme is, as I have already suggested,distinctly Conradian in its method, and looking back from the ironicalepilogue that closes "A Wanderer Plays on Muted Strings," one marvels atthe art that could work such a compelling totality out of such amiscellany of unrelated fragments.There is a weakness common to both these works which cannot be passed upin silence. More than once the narrator falls out of his part as a trampworker to rail journalistically at various things that have aroused hisparticular wrath, such as the tourist traffic, the city worker andeverything relating to Switzerland. It is done very naively, too, but itis well to remember how frequently in the past this very kind of naivetéhas associated with great genius. And whatever there be of suchshortcomings is more than balanced by the wonderful feeling for andunderstanding of nature that most frequently tempt Hamsun into strayingfrom the straight and narrow path of conventional story telling. Whatcannot be forgiven to the man who writes of "faint whisperings that comefrom forest and river as if millions of nothingnesses kept streaming andstreaming," and who finds in those whisperings "one eternity coming toan understanding with another eternity about something"?EDWIN BJORKMANWANDERERSI.Smooth as glass the water was yesterday, and smooth as glass it is againtoday. Indian summer on the island, mild and warm--ah! But there is nosun.It is many years now since I knew such peace. Twenty or thirty years,maybe; or maybe it was in another life. But I have felt it some time,surely, since I go about now humming a little tune; go about rejoicing,loving every straw and every stone, and feeling as if they cared for me inreturn.When I go by the overgrown path, in through the woods, my heart quiverswith an unearthly joy. I call to mind a spot on the eastern shores of theCaspian, where I once stood. All just as it is here, with the water stilland heavy and iron-grey as now. I walked through the woods, touched to theheart, and verging on tears for sheer happiness' sake, and saying tomyself all the time: God in heaven. To be here again....

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->