Sunday, August 26, 2018

BW35: Sigrid Unset and the Kristin Lavransdatter readalong

Sigrid Unset - Courtesy of wikipedia


Sigrid Unset, born May 20, 1882, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. During the presentation speech, by the chairman of the nobel committee,  Per Hallstrom said of Unset's works:  

"Her narrative is vigorous, sweeping, and at times heavy. It rolls on like a river, ceaselessly receiving new tributaries whose course the author also describes, at the risk of overtaxing the reader’s memory. This stems in part from the very nature of the subject. In the series of generations, conflicts and destinies assume a very concentrated form; these are whole masses of clouds which collide when the lightning flashes. However, this heaviness is also a result of the author’s ardent and instant imagination, forming a scene and a dialogue of each incident in the narrative without taking the necessary backward look at the general perspective. And the vast river, whose course is difficult to embrace comprehensively, rolls its powerful waves which carry along the reader, plunged into a sort of torpor. 

But the roaring of its waters has the eternal freshness of nature. In the rapids and in the falls, the reader finds the enchantment which emanates from the power of the elements, as in the vast mirror of the lakes he notices a reflection of immensity, with the vision there of all possible greatness in human nature. Then, when the river reaches the sea, when Kristin Lavransdatter has fought to the end the battle of her life, no one complains of the length of the course which accumulated so overwhelming a depth and profundity in her destiny. In the poetry of all times, there are few scenes of comparable excellence."

Unset wrote a number of historical fiction novels including the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy - The Wreath, The Wife, and The Cross








Which are available individually or in the complete Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy edition translated by Tina Nunnally




"In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tina Nunnally's award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty.

As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty.

With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway's most beloved author, one of the twentieth century's most prodigious and engaged literary minds and, in Nunnally's exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall."


A number of Well Trained Mind 52 Books readers are taking the plunge with Unset's Kristin Lavrandatter trilogy  and we will begin  on September 2nd.  Grab your hubbies and get them reading along as well.  Tyler Blanski of the Catholic Gentleman in his enthusiasm for the story asks "Are you Lavrans, or are you Erlend?"

We're going to take it slowly with plenty of time built in to talk about the story.  Each book has three parts and vary in length from 92 to 160 pages approximately. We'll read one part a week with an extra week or two thrown in for variations in chapter length in Book three if needed, plus reading speed and discussion.  


Book One -The Wreath
Part I  – Jorungaard   Ch 1 to 7 ( 92 pages)
Part II – The Wreath      Ch 1 – 8 (92 pages)
Part III – Lavrans Bjorgulfson  Ch 1 – 8  (100 Pages)

Book two – The Wife
Part I – The Fruit of Sin  Ch 1 – 6  (114 pages)
Part II – Husaby  Ch 1-  8 (158)
Part III – Erlend Nikulausson Ch 1 – 7 (126 pages)

Book Three – The Cross
Part 1 – Honor Among Kin  Ch 1 – 6  ( 116 pages)
Part II – Debtors  Ch 1 – 8 (160 pages)
Part III – The Cross  Ch 1 – 7 (140 pages) 

Join me in reading Kristin Lavransdatter. 


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