A masterpiece of historical fiction by the Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist. Set in fourteenth-century Norway, the story traces the life of the daughter of a good-hearted landowner and farmer, centering on her love for and marriage to a well-born but disgraced nobleman. The wealth of historical detail is seductive in its authenticity, the whole atmosphere of medieval Catholic piety, with its deeply sacramental experience of nature, time, and culture and lingering overtones of pagan folk wisdom and superstition is vividly pervasive, creating a rich, multilayered universe with some of the most unforgettable and full-blooded characters in literature. Much is here that is incommunicable in poignance and beauty, creating a reading experience of rare transcendence. We daresay that any who allow themselves to be drawn into it will never be the same again. Volume 3 of 3.
An Eighth Day View:
In Kristin Lavransdatter (1920-1922), Sigrid Undset interweaves political, social, and religious history with the daily aspects of family life to create a colorful, richly detailed tapestry of Norway during the fourteenth-century. The trilogy, however, is more than a journey into the past. Undset's own life--her familiarity with Norse sagas and folklore and with a wide range of medieval literature, her experiences as a daughter, wife, and mother, and her deep religious faith--profoundly influenced her writing. Her grasp of the connections between past and present and of human nature itself, combined with the extraordinary quality of her writing, sets her works far above the genre of "historical novels." This new translation by Tina Nunnally--the first English version since Charles Archer's translation in the 1920s--captures Undset's strengths as a stylist. Nunnally, an award-winning translator, retains the natural dialog and lyrical flow of the original Norwegian, with its echoes of Old Norse legends, while deftly avoiding the stilted language and false archaisms of Archer's translation. In addition, she restores key passages left out of that edition.
Undset's ability to present a meticulously accurate historical portrait without sacrificing the poetry and narrative drive of masterful storytelling was particularly significant in her homeland. Granted independence in 1905 after five hundred years of foreign domination, Norway was eager to reclaim its national history and culture. Kristin Lavransdatter became a touchstone for Undset's contemporaries, and continues to be widely read by Norwegians today. In the more than 75 years since it was first published, it has also become a favorite throughout the world.