Norway Modern Literature Part II

By | December 17, 2021

The feminist struggles of the seventies – now no longer aimed at claiming equality, but at highlighting all the feminine private sector and opposing new values ​​to ” masculine ” ones – have also given impetus to Norway, where it is also present. a long tradition of writers interested in the position of women in society, in a ” new women’s literature ”. Established writers such as B. Vik (b.1935) seem to feel a different awareness of her own role as a woman, although Vik’s moderate realism and her basic resignation in presenting the sad destinies of her protagonists are far from aggressive and the extreme frankness regarding the sexual life of young writers such as T. Nielsen (b. 1954) and L. Køltzov (b. 1945); the latter, Hvem bestemmer ov er Bjørg og Unni? (1972, “Who decides for Bjørg and Unni?”) And having given a modern version of the Ibsenian Doll’s House in Løp, mann (1980, “Go away, man”), he achieved critical and public success with Hvem har ditt ansikt? (1988, “Who Has Your Face?”). For Norway 2016, please check

The only one not following the path of psychological realism is C. Løveid (b. 1951), radical in politics and modernist in writing, engaged in a personal expressive research in texts without interruption between prose and poetry. Language, “the only testimony of our existence”, is at the center of her works, in which she presents the laborious search for identity by women who are denied, for various reasons, the right to express themselves. In addition to the novel Sug (1979, “Affanno”) we remember the drama Vinteren revner (“Winter shatters”), successfully performed in 1981. A very different reality, raw and violent, set in a small island in the far north, described in a direct way, traditional if you like, but with an intense evocative capacity, appears in the trilogy of Tora by H. Wassmo (b. 1942): Huset med den blinde glassveranda (1981; trad. it., La veranda cieca, 1989); Det stumme rommet (1983, “The silent room”); Hudløs himm el (1986, “Cielo a nudo”), which was immediately declared an international success. The subsequent novel Dinas Bok (1989, “The book of Dina”) is more complex and ambitious.
The themes dear to women’s literature are present, but in a masculine key, in the amusing and discussed novel Bryllupsreise (1982, “Honeymoon”) by K. Faldbakken (b. 1941). Far from political ideologies as well as from formal experimentation, but attentive to changing public interests, Faldbakken had already achieved some success in the 1960s with the intertwining of psychoanalysis and eroticism in his novels, while in the following decade he had provoked discussions by facing for first ecological themes in the two-volume novel Uär (1974-76, “Anni grami”), in which he cleverly describes the sinking of a technocratic society into its own waste. His most recent work, Glahn (1985), is intended to be a critical rewrite of Pan by K. Hamsun.
In lyricism, the wave of poetry, which had established itself for over a decade as the affirmation of a new mass culture, ends after the indictment against the poetic “ syndrome ” of the nation launched in 1980 by the poet JE Vold, formerly leading figure of Profil: Det norske syndromet.

In the changed climate, established writers, already open to the suggestions of the European avant-gardes, find new listening, who have deepened their poetic research by translating Japanese haiku, Chinese lyric and contemporary American poets, such as R. Jacobsen (b.1907) who, after the exaltation of youth and the anguish of maturity reaches a delicate immediacy of tone in the lyrics of Natäpent (1985, “Night thaw”); OH Hauge (b. 1908), always committed to bending the neo-Norwegian to Norse, classical and exotic rhythms; P.-H. Haugen (b.1945) who, attentive to formal problems since the time of Profil, gives proof of expressive refinement in Meditasjoner over Georges De La Tour (1991, “Meditations on GDLT”), inspired by the French painter who feels congenial to him. The highest and most authentic voice is that of S. Mehren (b. 1935), also engaged in a vast philosophical-literary essay of European breadth. Open since the 1960s to the lesson of modernism, he makes his “poetic technique a cognitive experiment”, and sees in poetry the only means of maintaining the memory, to which he gives absolute value. Extreme vision, maximum concentration of thought, richness of images and crystalline clarity alternate in the most recent collections, Corona. Formørkelsen og dens lys (1986, “Corona. The eclipse and its light”) and Fortapt i verden. Syngende Dikt (1988, “Lost in the world. Poetic song”). The recourse to the first person is an integral part of his poetics: “I do not sing of the self as a metaphor;… I sing of my life, which I love, because it is mine”, declares in the latest collection, Nattsol (1991, “Sole di notte “).

Even if in part still thematically closed within national borders, and even more so regional, although still firmly anchored to realistic canons, the fiction of recent years seems eager to broaden its horizons towards distant or imaginary worlds, and there is no shortage of writers who, denying tradition, they also try to create in Norway, in the wake of Fløgstad, new forms of novel. T.Å. Bringsvaerd (b.1939), already known for science fiction and youth novels, relies on the evocative imagination of distant lands and distant events (Genghis Kahn’s Mongolia, the 13th century children’s crusade) to try the great historical adventure novel with the Gobi trilogy, which found wide acceptance among the public, fascinated by the abundance of news, fabulous events and cruelty. Norway Det store eventyret (1987, “La grande fiaba”) by J. Kjoerstad (b. 1953), also too aware of the most modern narratological theories.

Norway Modern Literature Part II