Norway's Black Sheep
KNUT HAMSUN: Dreamer and Dissenter. By Ingar Sletten Kolloen. Translated by Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik . Yale Univ. Press. 378 pp. $40
Twenty-three years after receiving the Nobel, Hamsun made a gift of his medal to Joseph Goebbels, explaining, “Nobel established his prize for the previous year’s most ‘idealistic’ writing. I know of nobody, Herr Reichsminister, who has unstintingly, year after year, written and spoken on Europe’s and humanity’s behalf as idealistically as yourself.”
Small wonder that Hamsun has been the subject of numerous studies, notably Robert Ferguson’s impressive 1987 book Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun, the first full-length biography to appear in English, and the 1996 Danish biopic Hamsun, featuring Max von Sydow’s memorable portrayal of the writer in his final years.
To read the rest of this article, please consider becoming a WQ subscriber, which allows online access to the current WQ issue as well as archive content. Other access options are below.
Research, browse, and discover more than 35 years of articles, essays, and reviews by preeminent scholars and writers. Our searchable archive of back issues is free for WQ subscribers.
Michael McDonald is acting deputy chairman and general counsel of the National Endowment for the Humanities. A collection of his essays, Scrittori di fronte al male: Riflessioni su letteratura e politica, was published in Italy earlier this year, and currently he is translating Curzio Malaparte’s novel Don Camalèo. The views expressed here are those of the author and not of the U.S. government.more from this author >>