Norway Literature – The Contemporary Age

Since the end of the 19th century. to the 1950s. – The years after 1890 also saw in Norway the decline of naturalism and the flourishing of irrationalistic, idealistic and religious currents. Alongside the playwright G. Heiberg, who moves in the wake of Ibsen, the names of the neo- romantic HE Kink and the subtle critic Norway Kjaer emerge in the prose, but dominant, since the first novel Sult (“Fame”, 1892) is the personality romantic-aristocratic by K. Hamsun, world-famous author destined for isolation for his adherence to the Nazi ideology. In the wake of Hamsun and S. Obstfelder, who introduces musical and symbolic cadences borrowed from RM Rilke and JP Jacobsen into lyric and prose, new generations of poets seek a closer contact with life in lyricism. Alongside O. Bull, who achieves the highest result, we should mention O. Aukrust, H. Wildenwey, T. Orjasaeter. At the same time, a country literature flourishes by writers such as P. Egge, J. Bojer, G. Scott, J. Falkberget, whose novels, sometimes true family and local epics, conquer entire regions of the country for the first time in literature. Of greater breadth and depth are the works, in neo-Norwegian, by O. Duun, among which the powerful series Juvikfolke («People of Juvik», 1918-23) dominates. The provincial city, in the north of contemporary Norway, is instead the thematic center of the works of C. Sandel, marked by the cosmopolitan experience of the author, while the converted Catholic writer S. Undset recalls the Norwegian Middle Ages with religious epicity in the novel Kristin Lavransdatter (1920-22). Even in the field of literature, the new ferments that shake the Norway Social-Democratic do not remain without consequences. Writers sensitive to the suggestion of the international communist movement are committed to the renewal of society: S. Hoel, who introduces psychoanalysis into his novels and promotes the dissemination of modern English and American literature; H. Krog, who provocatively stages private and political conflicts; Norway Grieg, protagonist of the fight against the Nazi occupation. The voice higher and more meditated than the resistance is that of the poet A. Øverland, formerly the dominant figure of Norwegian radicalism, whose faith in art at the service of life, in the name of a convinced non- denominational humanism, finds exemplary testimony in Vi overlever alt (“We survive to everything “, 1945).

According to itypeusa, in the difficult post-war years, marked by uncertainty, by strong political and social contrasts and by the resurgence of questions that never died down (such as that of bilingualism), while a vast diary and memorial production, often of a contingent nature, flourished, the narrative received a new impetus from well-known writers, such as Hoel, who tackle the issue of individual responsibility. With the neo-Norwegian novel Huset i mørkret (“The House in the Dark”, 1945), T. Vesaas offers a powerful symbolic re-enactment of the gloomy atmosphere of postwar Norway; A. Sandemose highlights the irrational forces that shake men, making use of unscrupulous narrative montages; J. Borgen he analyzes the individual against the background of the more general crisis of bourgeois society in novels skillfully interwoven with reality and symbolism.

In the lyric, where the modernist current announces itself late and in less extreme forms than in Denmark and above all in Sweden, the formal experiments of R. Jacobsen and C. Gill are established in the 1950s, whose legacy is collected by P Brekke, translator of TS Eliot.

From the end of the 20th to the beginning of the 21st century The impossibility of a simple return to tradition in poetry is clearly indicated, at the beginning of the 1960s, by the debut of G. Johannesen and even more so of S. Mehren, whose rigorous search for essentiality, however based on symbols and metaphors, achieves the highest scores in Corona. Formokelsen og dens lys (“Corona. The eclipse and its light”, 1986) and in Fortpart i verden. Syngende dikt (“Lost in the world. Poetic song”, 1988). Sensitive to renewal in a modernistic sense is also, in the context of the fiction of the 1950s, the prose of F. Carling, strongly permeated with symbolism, while T. Stigen remains more linked to the traditional and somewhat narrow environment of the north of the country. However, a decisive break occurs with the eruption in the literature of social ferments and political contents that go beyond national borders. While the periodical Vinduet, founded in 1947, remains faithful to the original vocation of openness to the world and dissemination of stimuli from abroad, in 1966, from the student magazine Profil, a protest arises against modernism as a bourgeois phenomenon, and a commitment to write in a style close to social realism is announced. Literary genres such as the document, the report, the interview are privileged, felt as more immediate and suitable for intervening critically on reality. In Profil’s group, personalities such as D. Solstad, of whom Roman 1987 is remembered (“Romanzo 1987”), and E. Haavardsholm, who then showed greater attention to formal values ​​in the meta-novel Roger, gult (“Roger, yellow “, 1986). E. Økland left the original group to direct the periodical Bazar together with K. Fløgstad, where socialist realism is contrasted by a ‘social modernism’ equally critical of society but more open to experimentation and supported by a modern linguistic awareness. The path followed by JE Vold, author of a harsh indictment against the poetic ‘syndrome’ of the nation (Det Norske syndromet “The Norwegian syndrome”, 1980), is still different. his works to a somewhat ironic and nostalgic simplicity. Among the writers in neo-Norwegian is E. Hoem, committed without ideological forcing and with discreet humor in the defense of traditional values ​​in novels such as Anna Lena (1971), or in the more complex and dramatic Ave Eva (1987).

The critical rethinking of social values ​​in the 1960s had certainly not neglected the role of women, but in Norway where there is a long tradition of writers interested in the position of women in society (think of T. Nedreaas), these reflections give the impulse to a different awareness of the values ​​to be opposed to the masculine ones. B. Vik fits into this line, although her melancholy realism distances her from the raw and intensely evocative one of H. Wassmo, and from the aggressive and provocative tones of L. Køltzow and T. Nielsen. The only one not following the path of psychological realism is C. Løveid, radical in politics and modernist in writing, engaged in a personal expressive research in narrative (Sug «Affanno», 1979) and dramaturgical (Vintaren revner “Winter shatters”, 1981). All the themes dear to women’s literature are present, but in a masculine and ironic key, in the controversial novel Bryllupsreise (“Honeymoon”, 1982) by K. Faldbakken, an author attentive to changes in public interest, the first to tackle ecological issues in Uår (” Grami Years”, 1974-76).

Their recognizability is still offered by the narrative operations of TA Bringsvaerd, who after science fiction and children’s books tries the path of the great historical adventure novel, and of J. Kjaerstad, author of labyrinthine meta-novels, but the overabundance of production and plurality of themes and formal solutions adopted make it difficult to identify single paths in the most recent narrative, partly ephemeral and entertaining even if full of vital ferments: suffice it to mention the case of J. Gaarder, internationally successful author with works such as Sofies Verden (1991; it. The world of Sofia, 1994) or Appelsinpiken (2003; it. The girl with oranges, 2004).

Norway Literature - The Contemporary Age

Tags: