Arne: A Sketch of Norwegian Country Life

Arne: A Sketch of Norwegian Country Life

by Bj rnstjerne Bj rnson
     
 

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"Arne," Björnson's finest peasant-romance; was written in 1858, it was published at
Bergen in the beginning of the next year, but it failed, particularly in Norway itself,
to gain much notice until a considerable time had passed. Eventually its singular excellence was recognized; it was translated into many languages; the English version, which appeared in… See more details below

Overview

"Arne," Björnson's finest peasant-romance; was written in 1858, it was published at
Bergen in the beginning of the next year, but it failed, particularly in Norway itself,
to gain much notice until a considerable time had passed. Eventually its singular excellence was recognized; it was translated into many languages; the English version, which appeared in 1866, was Bjornson's first appearance before the British public. This romance of Norwegian country life is now almost universally regarded as his greatest achievement in its special field, though a few critics award the first place to "En Glad Gut" ("A Happy Boy"), which was published shortly after "Arne"
in a volume of miscellanies, also dated from Bergen. A perfect gem of a story,
exquisitely told, "Arne" is, however, on a higher plane; it shows the same remarkable combination of strength and tenderness which characterized "Synnöve
Solbakken," but in its appeal it reaches a wider sympathy.

The hero of the book, Arne, is a peasant with a strain of poetry in him; he is a dreamer of dreams and a maker of songs, but he is conditioned by his history and environment. He is first introduced as the "only child at the little farm among the hills," living with his grandmother and his mother, Margit, who "once stayed too long at a dancing party." He is the illegitimate son of one Nils Skraeder, a fiddler of genius and a man fatally attractive to women, but a drunkard and a ne'er-do-well.
Nils has his back broken in a quarrel over Brigit, another girl of the countryside, is carried to Margit's house, recovers to a certain extent, and marries her. For a time he keeps sober, but relapses and maltreats her-to the indignation of their son
Arne, who is only prevented by his father's sudden death from killing him. The lad grows up shy and reserved, but he is deeply attached to his mother, who is even more deeply attached to him. He longs, however, to go into the world, to fly over the hills and far away; he is restless and unsatisfied-but there is his mother! He has a friend who has gone into the world, and he expects to hear from him of it; letters arrive, but Margit, fearful lest she lose her son, keeps them, and hides from him that they have come. Meanwhile, he meets a girl, Eli, and falls in love with her; she is the daughter of the man with whom his father had had the row that laid him low,
and her mother is the Brigit of the same episode. Eli falls in love with Arne, but his wooing is shy and distant; however, they are brought together by Margit, and the story ends happily. "Arne" is an idyll which never loses touch with reality, and its quality is of the highest; it certainly was remarkable that it did not win instant approval and success.

-The Fortnightly Review, Volume 95 [1911]

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781511738583
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
04/14/2015
Pages:
152
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.33(d)

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