After his term of service was at end, Arne left Norway for America, where he hoped to gain enough wealth to buy land and build a home for Gunhild. He was successful and a few years later returned to Norway for his promised bride. Fate played the proper cards, for he returned to America not only with Gunhild but also with "Nora of the Mill," who proved to be his mother. A few years later Solstad and his wife came to America to visit Gunhild and her family.
It was not long before Knute, too, became imbued with the American spirit and asked to be taken to the county seat so he could flake out his "first papers" and vote for "Mr. One feels that these are authentic and yet one is not particularly excited by them. This is probably due to the looseness in the construction of the plot, especially in the weaving of the stories of Nora and Arne.
Simon Johnson, at present on the staff of the paper Decorah-Posten, has also made a name for himself as a novelist.
Full text of "Arne; a sketch of Norwegian country life"
As he was forced to work on the farm, he received practically no schooling. To compensate for this, he read Norwegian literature and began to set his thoughts down on paper. The observations of nature gathered during those years at the plow furnished Johnson with many prairie pictures for his later writings. It was in while on a homestead that he wrote Et Geni A Genius , published in It is the story of Sigurd Vaagen, an exemplary, studious young man who, shortly after his arrival from Norway, lived alone on the prairie while finishing an invention.
On its completion, the firm which had agreed to buy it rejected it; and, crazed with disappointment, Sigurd began to drink.
It was not long before drink overmastered him and brought about his ruin. It seems to the writer that in this story Johnson overemphasizes the importance of heredity. While the book lacks unity, it does show Johnson's ability to delineate character. Lonea, , is the story of the little cripple "Jul" Fagervold, who worked early and late taking care of the younger children in the family. The book is really a collection of beautiful, well written stories rather than a novel. Solberg in and published under the title From Fjord to Prairie.
It sketches pioneer life in the Northwest in its beginning. In a new settlement are Bernt Aasen, a young man of courage and foresight; the staunch, religious Grandfather Engh, his son Thor and his family; the clumsy, weak-witted "Per Trot" P. Pederson ; the unfortunate, patient Brovang family; and the ambitious Franz Flagstad and his group.
We read of their toilsome, dangerous trips after supplies and of their attempts to retain a little of their old culture by social and religious meetings. We read of the heavy snows, the hostile Indians, the destruction of crops, the coming of more settlers, the organization of the church, and the building of the railroad. In these stories, Johnson expresses himself simply, sincerely, and with conviction. Fallitten paa Braastad The Braastad Bankruptcy , , is a voluminous novel by Johnson dealing with the struggles and ambitions of the Norwegian people on the North Dakota prairie.
Tragedy in various guises stalks through the lives of the pioneer Jens Braastad, his wife Lisa, and their two children. Jens, a sturdy, industrious worker, does not realize the price that the drudgery and the loneliness of prairie life demand of his sensitive and rather weak wife. Neither of the parents understands the children; and part of the tragedy comes in that they are unable to bridge the gap between themselves and their American children.
Henry is aloof, moody, restless, and dissatisfied.
Louise, on the other hand, is more amiable and of a more equable temperament. The story closes with Louise's promise to marry Olaf Nelson, one of the most promising young men of the community. Johnson's next book, Frihetens Hjem Home of Freedom , , continues the story of Olaf and Louise and their efforts to build a home of culture. Henry marries but remains more or less unstable and unreliable. Lisa's mind weakens, and for a time, she is an inmate of a sanatorium.
After the marriage of the children, Jens casts all discretion to the winds and makes love to a young girl of the community. Much of the life of the last thirty to forty years is portrayed, especially the times of the World War, with its yellow paint, its "bombastic patriots," its farmers' party, and its tragedies. The book closes with the days of returning peace. One interesting venture, the first of its kind in Norwegian-American literature, the writer believes, is the trilogy of immigrant life by "Arnljot " -- Johannes B.
The contents of the first two books are indicated by their titles. The last presents the religious controversies of the eighties, the trivialities of local politics, including the county seat fight, and the change in the social and cultural life of a Norwegian-American community. As an immigrant, Wist became welt acquainted with the life of both the town and the city.
It is an account of the author's trip to Rochester with Bonifacius Bonifaciusen in a model Ford. The book relates with gusto the adventures of the inexperienced chauffeur and his rather timorous passenger. One of the most influential men in Norwegian-American belles lettres today is Waldemar Ager, editor and writer. Ager was born in Fredrikstad in , and came to Chicago in Since then, he has been connected with Norwegian-American newspapers in one capacity or another.
Bjørnson, Bjørnstjerne (8 September 1832 - 26 April 1910)
For a number of years, he was too busy with his editorial work to do much creative writing. Paa Drikkeondets Konto To the Account of the Liquor Evil , , is a group of sketches and poems written against the liquor traffic. The book shows that Ager has the gift of sympathetic characterization. Hverdags-folk Everyday People , , is a series of town and country sketches. The characterization, especially of children, is sympathetic and understanding.
In these stories Ager reveals touches of real art.
- They Walked Like Men!
- Bastoy: the Norwegian prison that works.
- Count On Henry Counting.
They are told in the first person, supposedly by Ager to his little son. As the story teller progresses, the child fails asleep, and the speaker allows his thoughts to wander over various topics that interest him. The first story begins thus: "When you are tired of playing, when your little feet need rest, your eyelids become heavy, and you climb upon my knee, and lean your weary little head against my shoulder, then I'll tell you stories. In , encouraged by the award, Aschehoug and Company of Oslo, one of the leading publishing houses of Norway, for the first time risked printing a Norwegian-American novel.
The leading character is the Reverend Walther Welde, an idealist and dreamer, who, as the story progresses, realizes "the untenable position he occupies in a congregation and a society in which selfishness and cowardice have the upper hand. Is he for Christ or is he, like Pilate, washing his hands? Both suffer the same fate, one because of the hardness of his heart; the other on account of his yielding heart.
In his next two books, Ager went back to the short story.
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As Ager sees it, the process should be allowed to take its natural course, that the heritage of the foreigner may become a part of America's culture. On board ship, he meets Hans Pedersen, an employee of his father. The two are together on the long voyage across the ocean and up the Mississippi River to a little lumber town in Wisconsin. Here Frederik and Hans secure work at the sawmill.
Ager pictures vividly the life of the lumber towns, the camps, and logging operations. Of the war pictures, the battle of Chickamauga and the life in Andersonville prison are the best. Frederik is injured and invalided home to his Gunda; Isak dies in Andersonville prison; Hans Pedersen returns to be married; and Ole Brekke, thanks to his military record, is enabled to marry the girl of his choice. This book shows Ager's sharp insight, his sense of humor, his sympathetic understanding, and his ability to make "unexpected and illuminating turns of speech.
This novel is announced for publication in English by Harper and Brothers. With the appearance of Exodus, , Jon Norstog, the so-called "North Dakota poet and peasant," enters the field of novel writing. The book Exodus is described by the author as a conflict between the old and new kultur, between the nations within the nation, between our country and the rest of the world.
The rest of the book tells about an automobile trip through Wisconsin with Dr. Halvor Huvestad, relates some pioneer history, and describes Djuve's greed for money and land.
This greed affects him both physically and mentally, but nature helps him to regain his mental and physical equilibrium. The story closes with the coming of his beloved Ruth from Norway. The theme of the novel and the characterization are excellent, but the book is ill-proportioned and verbose. It is interesting as coming from the pen of a man who has written mostly lyrics and Biblical dramas.
Thirty-four years ago, a young man in a lonely fishing hamlet in northern Norway left his work as a fisherman and came to America. Today that man is the author of Giants in the Earth, a book hailed by reviewers and critics as one of the outstanding novels dealing with American life. Since his graduation from St. Olaf College in , he has been a member of its faculty. He has written seven novels and a book of essays, and has collaborated on some textbooks for teaching Norwegian.
Smevik to His Father and Brother in Norway. The book tells in an interesting way of the immigrants, their impressions, and their experiences. At first, the letters reveal Smevik's dissatisfaction, but it is not long before he is urging his family to join him. His last letter to Norway closes: "And when you see Norway's coast sink into the sea, whisper a last farewell from me. I shall never do it myself. Paa glemte Veie Forgotten Paths , , is a story of a young woman who offers her life to win her father to God.
In this work he has shown his ability to build his story from one climax to 'another, up to the final one, and to create atmosphere.