See also the reports from previous years here..
"Han var en
dreven kjender av utenlandsk liv og herlighet, og i sin
smak for dyr praktutfoldelse hadde han reivet på sig et
blodrødt sjal til belte om livet. Det var intet mindre
end høiste mote i Sydamerika, forklarte han. Hvad du
tror de sier når vi kommer? spurte han Edevart. Da de
nærmet sig grænden forlangte han at de skulde puste på
for ikke at komme utaset frem. Han tok op av lommen en
cigar til hver, kjøpt i Bodø til bruk netop ved dette
høve, og han advaret Edevart mot å røke for stærkt
på den og øde den før tiden. Men når vi går forbi
Karolus sin stue så skal du dampe storveies! sa
No, we did not arrive like the Vagabonds puffing our
cigars and wearing blood-red scarves, but joy and
expectation were in our hearts: finally, there are again
As we always travel by car, we take the opportunity on
our way to Hamarøy, to pass places with Hamsun-relation.
We passed Elverum and visited good friends and with them,
we visited the place, where Marie and Knut Hamsun lived
as newly wed and we took pictures of the street named
after Marie, Marie Hamsunsveg.
After Elverum, we passed Koppang, where I had to pat a
certain stone. It was erected in the memory of Hamsun's
stay in the town in 1909, while he wrote "A
Wanderer Plays on Muted Strings":
"...det skal en viss grad av ringhet i ævnen
til å gå og være varig tilfredsmed livet og atpå
kjøpet vente sig noget nyt og godt av det." .
Our trip continues towards Atna, Sollia and Atnebru,
where we had booked a quite unique cottage Borgen,
The Castle at Brænd gård. Here Marie and Knut Hamsun
stayed for 10 months during the years 1909 - 1910. The
Castle was Knut Hamsun's scriptorium. Today it
stands almost like in Hamsun's days, without electricity
and water. A bed and a table is still there and something
unique, a bookshelf made by Knut Hamsun himself. Outside
a plaquette commemorates Marie and Knut
Hamsun's stay. Yes, the whole place is historic.
writing room at Brænd gård The bookshelf, made by Knut
We were heartily welcomed
by Berit Brænd, who is in sixt generation owner of the
farm, and by two dogs and two cats. Berit told, that soon
her son will move into one of the houses, so seventh
generation is secured on the farm. Her great-grandfather
was the owner when Marie and Knut stayed there.
The weather was excellent, so we sat outside the cottage
having our supper, enjoyed a glass of wine and read the
newspapers of the day, while the waterfall below the
cottage roared loud. Imagine, here Knut Hamsun sat so
many times listening to the same roar.
They do still have a rooster on the farm. An often-told
story is how Hamsun demanded the rooster slaughtered
as it was disturbing his writing.
We slept very well in the bed loft to the roar of the
waterfall and with Hamsun's spirit soaring in the room.
After some days of driving
through the beautiful landscape, we arrived in Hamarøy.
When we see the mountain Kråkmo, we always have the
sensation of being home. And full of joy in our hearts we
reached Hamarøy Fishcamping at the stream Glimma, where cottage no. 14 was waiting for us.
The fabulous Hamsun-centre like smiled down upon us and
bid us welcome. A place, which not only invite you to
study Hamsun but also a place for cosiness and coffee and
a chat with the dedicated staff, so we could be found in
the centre every day.
The Hamsun-centre with
Koolwijk's installation Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen at the Hamsun-bust
Soon we were seated with
the exiting programme for the festival in our hands,
exiting days and experiences await us from 28. July to 5.
August. The most difficult of it all is to choose, it is
impossible to participate in everything.
To sit here at the stream
Glimma is like a fairy-tale and it is as if Hamsun's
voice is heard in the distance:
"Så sitter jeg igjen og hører på suset i
skogen. Er det Ægæerhavet som ligger og lyder, er det
nu havstrømmen Glimma? Jeg blir svak av å sitte og
lytte, erindringer vælder op i mig fra mit liv."
Here in Hamarøy we have had the best of
experiences, intensified through the years of friendship
with many Hamsun enthusiasts. We are every day exchanging
thoughts, articles and books and every time we feel that
we get a little bit wiser. But sure is, that one will
never know Hamsun completely. Every time one thinks,
"Now I've got him", he has already walked on.
To understand Hamsun is like climbing mountains, every
time one has reached a summit, there is one more peak to
Most years we have always had beautiful sunshine during
the Hamsun festival, this year though we had a few
raindrops and needed from time to time a warm sweater.
Vernissage at the
arts exhibition, Young artists conquer the farm
Skogheim, an exhibition from Nordland kunst og
filmfagskole. Really full of imagination. More visits are
needed to grasp all.
Vernissage at this year's art
exhibition in Skogheim
Thereafter down to the
Hamsun-centre to join the Opening of the Hamsun
festival 2012. And luckily it was now dry.
Hans van Koolwijk had given blue wings to the yellow
balcony in the centre. It was a blue installation, that
was mounted on the yellow balcony and inside the centre.
The dutch artist and musician, Hans van Koolwijk had
composed a fanfare for the opening of this year's
Hamsun-days and all week one could enjoy the
installation, that was laid out in many corners of the
Curator of the Hamsun-centre
Bodil Børset's and mayor of Hamarøy Rolf Steffensen's
welcome adresses for the Hamsun festival 2012.
After the fanfare the
mayor of Hamarøy, Rolf Steffensen, bid us all welcome
and pointed out, that it was now 150 years since the
Pedersen family arrived here from Lom, that it was 100
years since Tore Hamsun was born here in Skogheim and
that it was 30 years since the Hamsun-days started.
The stage was then conquered by the
"Poetics Guerilla", 5 local youths aged
15-20 participating in a poetry workshop:
Poesigeriljaen det er oss. Poesien den skal fram. I
mange år har den vært lam, was the slogan from
guerilla leader Borghild Otelie Aasebøstøl and her
comrades as they made their assult on the opening
ceremony. On their side in the workshop we found also the
nordic champion in poetry-slam, the actor Taro Vestøl
Cooper. The office of curator Bodil Børset was also
occupied by the Guerilla and Bodil had to recite a
self-composed poem at the opening ceremony to get her
office back. Well done, Bodil! and a fresh and cute idea
from the Poetics Guerilla.
Bodil bid us then officially welcome and we all entered
the Hamsun-centre. There was quite some activity the next
hours on all 5 floors, really a good start of the
a unique concert later in the evening with Hans van
Koolwijk and singer Anette Askvik, a splendid
sound-experience, with all the bamboo pipes mixed with
Anette's voice, a truly beautiful experience of music.
Bambuso Sonoro Hjalmar and Heidi Martinussen
Innumerable events were
offered the next days, for example:
Lecture by Hjalmer
Martinussen at the Fishcamping on "Hamsun's
The lecture took place in a tent, and as we did not
experince tropical temperatures outside, but in contrast
a fresh nordic wind, it proved a good idea to put a rug
over one's knees. Heidi and Hjalmer started as Marie and
Knut Hamsun, a lovely idea. All accompanied by Reimond
Hansen's melodic songs.
Another thrilling experience was the lecture in the
Hamsun-centre with Andreas Lødemel and Solveig Hirsch
titled "Famous and condemned". Andreas lectured and Solveig read from
Hamsun's texts appropriate passages, really a combination
We had a talk with some of the other participants,
amongst others Kari Leken, who was back in Hamarøy,
where she had lived from she was 6 to 11 years old. She
had been in the choir as the Hamsun-bust in Hamsund was
Baroque concert in Hamarøy church with
Jens Lühr and Veronica Fucci. A fine musical experience,
where Veronica wore a dream of a baroque dress.
As always, we enjoy the ambience in Hamarøy, a visit to
the city-of-books is mandatory. I bought enough books to
last the long cold dark winter nights. Then again a visit
to the Hamsun-centre, where postcards were written over a
cup of coffee, while Gert attended a series of short
movies from "Nordland kunst og filmskole."
Gert also attended the architectural walk through the
centre. Outside rain had started to fall.
We drove to Skutvik to see
the new shop. The fog laid so low, that we could not see
the mountain Hamarøy skaftet. The old vicarage tempted
more with delicious coffee and cake in its cafe, a lovely
place to sit and contemplate.
A charismatic personality: Per
Knutsen A charismatic
musician: Bjørn Kåre Odde
A meeting with the author
Per Knutsen in the Hamsun-centre with the theme to
write oneself . The lecture crept under the skin, a
truly exellent lecture and lecturer. Then dinner at the
Fishcamping with Leif Hamsun. Later Jarnfried Kjøkk and
musician Bjørn Kåre Odde from Lom joined us.
One of the highlights is always the visit to Hamsund and
the childhood home. Smoke came from the chimney and a
tempting smell of coffee from the big kettle over the
fire was in the air. Here we heard an interesting lecture
by Terje Ellingsen, who had written a book on Knut
Hamsun and his fellow villagers" in collaboration
with the Historical society. A completely different angle
on Hamsun. I secured a book with the author's signature
for my collection. The young fiddler from Lom Bjørn
Kåre Odde accompanied the lecture with typical norwegian
dances slåt and Halling.
After that Arne Andre Solvang gave an introduction to the
childhood home and guided tours were offered.
Arne Andre Solvang welcomes us
to the childhood home Eivor Bergum in the theatre of the
Back to the Hamsun-centre for a lecture
in the theatre by Eivor Bergum: Straight to the
river for water. Eivor told about her own writing
in a most personlig and exiting way. I did not know her
books, but they were immediately put on my wish-list.
The highlight of the Hamsun festival
was the jubilee celebration in Hamsund. The tiny village
hall of Hamsund was filled by 70 happy people enjoying
the beautifully decorated tables with all sort of
delicacies both from Lom and from Hamarøy
Leif Hamsun and Nils Magne
Knutsen enjoy the jubilee Jarnfrid Kjøkk sings folksongs from Lom
We celebrated the start of the Hamsun
festival 30 years ago. It was also 150 years since the
Pedersen family moved here from Lom and it was 100 years
since the birth of Tore Hamsun here in Hamarøy. Musician
Bjørn Kåre Odde in his beautiful national costume
played norwegian folklore, amazing what he can do with
his fiddle. Then Nils Magne Knutsen held the commemorative
speech. And what a speech! Niels Magne is always such a
pleasure to listen to. And finally Jarnfrid
Kjøkk also in national costume sang folksongs and read
passages from Hamsun's texts with relation to Lom:
"Jeg husker alt. Jeg husker jeg var halvandet
år: Jeg stod og svaiet på låvebroen på Oppigard Garmo
i Lom og kjente en bestemt lukt. Jeg kjenner den lukt
enda!". (Growth of the Soil).
Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen and
Karl Erik Harr enjoy the evening
Karl Erik Harr also
congratulated with the jubilee and presented on of his
paintings to the Hamsun-centre. Alf Einar Øien and May
Valle also said some well-chosen words. The food was
delicious and we totally enjoyed the evening. Well after
midnight we were on our way back to our cottage, and it
was still no night.
We rose early to have
breakfast whilst enjoying the vue over Glimma before we
went up to the Hamsun-centre, where the literary seminar
started at 9.30. The seminar I always visit with great
pleasure, there is nothing like hearing new angles to
Hamsun, then I fly along on the wings of fantacy..
"De skaffet sine hjærters næring. Også de
havde syner når de glodde ind i fantasiens land" (Segelfoss
Bodil opened the seminar and introduced Gunvald
Hermundstad with his lecture Pulses of light from a
stellar collision on the psychiatric forensic
observation of Hamsun during the winter 1945 - 46. We
learned a.o. how Hamsun was censored by professor Gabriel
Langfeld. A most interesting and wise lecture, I do like
many of Gunvald's approaches.
Gunvald Hermundstad in a
The Poetics Guerilla have
conquered the stage
Then we listened to
Elisabeth Oxfeldt Rape in/of Africa. Imperialistic
disgrace in Knut Hamsun's Vagabonds". Oksfeldt
compared August's tales with passages from Nordahl
Rolfsen's History of the world for children, and showed
how August represent the typical norwegian conception of
the rest of the world, especially Africa, in those days.
Also a most interesting lecture.
The Poetics Guerilla also visited us with som rap-poetry.
Really a refreshing and new idea.
After a small coffeebreak and some chat we were ready for
the next lecturer Frode Boasson: What drives
Hamsun's Vagabonds?, about desire that leads to
departure and travel in Hamsun's works.
Vagabonds in Hamsun's works are leaving something as much
as they are travelling to something. In the crossroad
between being stationary and travelling, Hamsun is
grasping one of modernism's most important problems: The
sense of being rootless in a modern world. Boasson
investigated some elements in Hamsun's travellers and
posed the question:Why are they travelling and what is
Then we had a literary lunch at the old vicarage cafe.
Nameless daring dishes from Growth of the Soil.
Solveig Hirsch and Andreas Lødemel told and recited
while a three course lunch from Isak and Inger
Sellanraa's cooking was served: Oatmeal porridge, a cold
dish of potatoes, sour cream, two kinds of ham and smoked
salmon and as dessert a warm soup of cloudberry -
dishes from Growth of the Soil
Knut (Tor Valle) and Marie (Elin Eidsvik) and their Buick
A surprice was now awaiting us at the
Hamsun-centre. Marie Hamsun (Elin Eidsvik) drove up
before the centre in Hamsun's old Buick from 1933, it
stopped and entering the car was Knut Hamsun (Tor Valle)
himself. We were all thrilled, the press and TV were
present as well. The Hamsun-centre is planning to buy the
car, they have already more than half of the funding
Inside the centre we continued the seminar. The actor
Gard Eidsvold told about the plans for a film based on Growth
of the Soil: "From book to film." Gard
Eidsvold has the rights and is now in the planning phase.
Really an interesting project.
Andreas Lødemel: Roots and Rootlessnes. August and
Edevardt in Vagabonds". Two of the major flows in
Hamsun's works summit in Vagabonds: Nordland as setting
and the wanderer as motive. "De pratet og pratet
det over i sit forunderlige nordlandssprog, det var med
mange påfaldende ord, uventede ord, det var ravgalt
indtil kunst, men det uttrykte deres meninger." (Vagabonds).
Next on the agenda was Hamarøy International Centre HIS,
where an international finger food buffet was served,
before we sat to hear Ketil Eide tell about
Children as lone refugees. What has history tought
Both before and after the Second World War children have
fleed alone and have been separated from their families
due to desasters and wars. What may we learn from
history, when it comes to receiving children and youths?
A major dilemma, equally present today.
Up till now the conference room had been filled, but for
the next lecturer people were queueing outside in masses.
Some wall panels were removed so that everybody could
hear the medical doctor Mads Gilbert tell about:
The palestinian Story. Why is it being silenced to
death?. We now witnessed one of the most intense
lectures we have ever heard together with pictures of inconceivable horrors from the palestine territories where
Mads Gibert had worked as an anaesthetist in a hospital
for several periods of time. We were all deeply moved by
the sufferings of civilians. A debate was difficult after
such a lecture, but all was at the end tied up nicely.
What a day!
We rounded off the day in the company
of Leif Hamsun, Gunvald Hermundstad and Teji Grover from
India, who had arrived with her husband Rustam during the
afternoon. Hamsun has been translated into many
languages, also indian. Teji Grover has translated two of
Hamsun's novels from english to indian,
"Hunger" and "Pan" and she is now
translating Hamsun's last book "On overgrown
Paths". Her big wish was to participate in the
Hamsun festival even though she does not understand
And yet another day filled with exiting
experiences. And Glimma rustles night and day, day and
We had been looking forward to participate in the
Hamsun-centre Master Class. The masterclass was chaired
by professor Per Thomas Andersen from Oslo. He opened by
discussing on the different methods within the Hamsun
research, stated where we are today and explored what are
our options for the future..
Amongst the participant were people from the literary
seminar and also professor Dean Krouk from St. Olaf
College in Minnesota and professor Nils Magne Knutsen fra
Ph.D. students Julia Langhof and Anne Fewer from the
Universitety of Münster, Germany presented their work.
Langhof works on an analysis of the Hamsun-jubilee in
2009 as it has been covered by the media. Fewer works on
sentimentality and brutality in Hunger. Bodil
Børset presented the project "Hamsun in
Nordland", a collaboration between the Hamsun-centre
and Universitety of Nordland. And also here we had a
visit by the charming Guerilla Poetics people.
The marketplace at Tranøy with
meatballs, cake and lots of talk in the cafe Dorotheas
Fryd, visits to all the galeries, looking out over the
ocean, where Hamsun had stood so many times and a visit
to the lighthouse - all that is part of all the good
memories from a Hamsun festival.
Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen enjoys
the market at Oppeid Leif Hamsun pays tribute to his grandfather
on the 153. birthday
One of the highlights is always Knut
Hamsun's birthday. The sun was shining and there was
market at Oppeid, all the village being there and stands
with all kinds of delicacies. We had the baconburger and
waffels and cake. Everyboby just as happy as can be.
Mayor Rolf Steffensen gave a rap he had composed himself
- as he was ordered to by the Poetics Guerilla. Cool!
At 2 we drove with Teji and Rustam to Hamsund, where the
birthday celebration took place at the Hamsun statue. A
fine and lovely tradition. Leif Hamsun was driven - how
could it be otherwise - in the old Buick with Marie
Hamsun at the steering wheel. Leif said some
well-chosen words on the day, thereby mentioning, that it
was 150 years since his family came to Hamarøy and that
it was 100 years since the birth of his father Tore. He
then laid a wreath at the bust.
And could we not all fell Hamsun's spirit around us in
the trees and flowers: "Ja det var de unge dager
som ingen interesse har nu mere og derfor ikke skal
nevnes. Men selv i Nordland, i Salten fogderi, mindes jeg
at vi la luen ydmygt under venstre arm og hilste freden!
når vi kom ind, signe arbeidet! til dem som holdt på
med noget og bli i freden! når vi gik igjen." (On
visit: Teji Grover from India...
and Kirsten Hedvig
Rasmussen from Germany
In the evening we had first performance
of Alexander and Leonarda in the theatre in the
Hamsun-centre. A splendid and unconventional performance
based on Hamsun's short story and played by 8 young
students, 4 russian and 4 norwegians. I succeded in
getting the autographs from the young actors in my
Before the performance the audience was given buckets and
kindly asked to fetch water in the Glimma.
This theatre performance became one of the highlights of
this years festival, not only to us but to all we spoke
"Der var derhjemme en
Havstrøm som hedte Glimma. Og der var i sin Tid en
Tatergut som hedte Alexander. denne Alexander havde jeg
engang en Samtale med paa Akehus Fæstning hvor han sad
indespærret for Vold. Nu læser jeg i Bladene at denne
farlige Misgærningsmand er død; Celleluften hadde slaat
ham ihjæl. Mig fortalte han at han engang havde ombragt
This is how Hamsun commences the story of Alexander and
Leonarda. And here is the final chapter after pages of
heartbreaking experiences in a rowing boat on the Glimma
with one broken oar:
"Du gjorde det med Vilje, sa hun for første
Gang i Angst.
Javel. Du kommer ikke levende iland.
Et Øjeblik efter lød et hvinende Skrig, Baaden tørned
mod Stenen og slog Siden ind. I samme nu kom Tateren sig
op paa Stenen, han saa Leonarda rulle rundt nogle Gange,
derpaa blev hun rejst ivejret og endevendt med Hodet
foran. Saa kogte hun tilbunds med Vandet.
De var iagtagne fra Land og Tateren blev bjærget. -
Og ingen kunde faa den unge Alexander noget paa. Hans
Aare var knækket, der var ingen Skyld hos ham; men
Ulykken havde været ude.-
Denne Historie fortalte Alexander mig selv paa
Akerhus Fæstning hvor han sad fast for Vold."
Only slowly we returned to reality and
could again see Glimma as a fair and pleasant stream and
only later yet we realized, how Hamsun had mesmerized us
It is highly recommended to read the short story sitting
by the Glimma, the stream running in and out, in and out.
Water is being fetched from
Glimma for .. . the theatre performance of "Alexander
We slept soundly to the
roar of the Glimma.
Sunday August 5th:
We woke to an overcast and cool day, we enjoyed our
breakfast spotting the Glimma betweeen raindrops.
The Hamsun-days ended with service at the ruins of the
vicarage. Splendid days had passed, it was time to say
good-bye. A short visit to Tranøy galery to say good-bye
to Kirsti Kalstad and to congratulate her and Børge
Strandskog on the August-award.
And then there were alle
the events, that we would have liked to partake in , but
where we simply did not have the time and all the events
for children and youths:
Market in Skutvik
Tales on the tracks of Hamsun
Hamsun-school: Workshop in combatpoetry
Row row the boat in the Hamsund Polden
Family-concert with Tonje Undstad
The author Rawdna C.Eira
Cafe-concert with Anette Askvik
Helge Stangnes in words and music
Author meets youth with Arne Svingen
Growth of the Soil. Theatre performance
Acoustic picnick with Jonas Alaska, Ingeborg Oktober and
Literary walks to Hansbakk
Honningbarna rocks the Hamsun-days
Most important in a
festival like this is talks with like-minded - seeing old
friends again and meeting new friends. It is impossible
to mention all the sympatic, open and warm people, who
made the festival unforgettable. Special thanks to Rita and Hans Petter at Hamarøy
Fishcamping and to everybody in the Hamsun-centre, you
all gave energy and memorable hours, that will last us
for the rest of the year!
Monday August 6th: Got up
to drizzly weather and 12°, and drove on towards Skutvik
and the ferry to Svolvær in Lofoten. Our destination was
Sortland hotel in Vesterålen and The
Hamsun-society literary seminar 9 - 11 august. -
For the first time outside Hamarøy.
Sortland, the beautiful
blue town. Here Hamsun stayed 100 years ago. I sense his
spirit still inhabits the place and makes our thoughts
free and open. We took the opportunity to spend the three
days before the seminar started to visit Vesterålen and
enjoy its nature and culture.
Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen in the Hamsun
lobby at Sortland hotel
"Ingen-ikke en eneste en - kan ventes å skrive
tilnærmelsesvis så godt efter femtiårsalderen som før
den, det er bare de enfoldige eller de egeninteresserte
som hævder en stigning efter den alder." (Look
Back on Happiness).
And imagine what dear Hamsun wrote after his 50ies years.
We were so happy to see so
many well-known faces again and so many new.
A bus brought us to Jennestad Handelssted, where we sat
in the beautiful garden, the sun sparkled its silver rays
through the green leaves, lit up the beautiful Pan statue
and tried to alleviate the cool air. Most of us had
Chairman of the Hamsun-society
Even Arntzen Dag Solstad with an amusing discourse
Grete Ellingsen as "Miss Ellingsen"
Kåre Bjørn Kongsnes bid
welcome to Jennestad
Even Arntzen opened the
seminar and wished us all interesting days in Hamsun's
Mayor Grete Ellingsen came dressed as Miss Ellingsen from
Hamsun's days in Sortland and read a letter, that Hamsun
had written her in 1912. Then she took off her blouse,
revealed her mayor's chain and bid us heartly welcome to
Sortland and declared the seminar open.
Kåre Bjørn Kongsnes gave an introduction to the
historical place and invited us inside after the opening.
Then Nils Magne Knudsen gave us a lively and fascinating
introduction to thehistory of powerfull tradesmen in
Northern Norway, which Jennestad was a part off.
Music was taken care of by Skjalg Bjørnstad on accordion
singing Hamsun texts.
Henny Moen recited Hamsun poems, right to the heart.
And finally Dag Solstad told in his unique and humourous
way about Knut Hamsun.
actress Henny Moan Nils Magne Knutsen from Tromsø university
We were all by now stiff
from the cold wind, so it was perfect to be treated to
drinks and snacks and a tour inside the beautiful
buildings of Jennestad. And off-course to an enjoyable
chat with old and new friends.
Back in the bright evening to Sortland hotel, where we
chatted for a couple of hours in the Saaby library over a
glass of red wine bottled especially for the seminar with
a label showing the Hamsun bust, the door to Hamsun's
room and the title Look Back on Happiness. We
celebrated, that it was 100 years since Hamsun sat here,
that is in the former Miss Ellingsen's boarding house,
and wrote "Look Back on Happiness".
The Hamsun bust in the
lobby is made by Nico Widerberg, who also made the bust
of Lars Saaby Christensen in the Saaby library. The
Hamsun bust has been patted many times on its scull, just
cant help it. The Hamsun bust in the Hamsun-centre is
also made by that same sculpturer.
Nico Widerberg's Hamsun bust in
We slept well and after breakfast at 9.15 we were ready
for the lectures of the day and other experiences. Harald
M. Jacobsen bid us welcome to his hotel, he was happy,
that the seminar could be held here. He also gave an
introduction on Sortland hotel and Knut Hamsun.
As I sit here listening my thoughts go to some wise
words, this time not by Hamsun, but by Barbara Tuchmann: "Books
are the bearers of civilization. Without books history is
silent, literature mute, science mutilated, thoughs and
Professor Henning Wærp UIT spoke on the subject: A
quest for simplicity. On Knut Hamsun's last novel The
Ring is Closed".
Professor Dean Krouk, St. Olaf College, Minnesota then
lectured on Other states: Hamsun, Musil and the
secular mysticism of modernism.
After that a well deserved coffeebreak, as always used
for a chat with other participants.
Other topics this day were:
Even Arntzen UIT: Hamsun and Strindberg
Ronald Altinius: Hamsun and Behring Breivik.
Then we went to the cinema in the town hall to see parts
of the theatre play "A truly ugly location" - a
play based on Hamsun's encounter with Sortland 100 years
ago. It was first played in 2009 at the Hamsun jubilee.
Mayor Ellingsen was again Miss Ellingsen, really a
The seminar continued in the lecture hall with;
Hamsun-stipendiat Atle Nordøy, UIT: To see the
world. Interpretation in Hamsun's short stories.
Ph.D. student Julia Langhof, Münster: An analysis
of the Hamsun-jubilee 2009
Førsteamanuensis Wenche Torrissen, HIV: "The best
that has been written, Hamsun and Hulda Garborg.
Then the bus took us for an excursion to Lihallen
kunstgård, beautifully situated with a splendid vue.
Wenche Torrissen Lihallen kunstgård
Lihallen is a former
sanatorium and has been handsomely restored by Harald's
brother and sister-in-law, the artist Tove Jacobsen,
whose art also can be admired in Sortland hotel.
Back in the lecture hall
Vigdis Hjort enchanted us with Hamsun's bulimic
language. Vigdis is such a pleasure to listen to.
Equally interesting but completely different was the last
lecture. Professor Lisbeth Wærp, UIT told about Hamsun's
novel Look Back on Happiness.
The day ended with chat and live music in the pub. We
tried, but loud music is not beneficial if you would like
to talk. So before it was too late, we returned to our
room and slept soundly. It has now started getting darker
Saturday August 11th
Early rising to acceptable but cool weather. At 9.30 the
bus departed for Bø, a tour we had been looking forward
to. In 1878 - 79 Hamsun, or Knud Pedersen as he was
called at that time, was a policeman here, that is when
he was 19 - 20 years old .
Hamsun on his grandfather's bench
Policeman Knud Pedersen's
notes in the protocol
"He was a
routhless comet, one of the homeless souls, the Radical
which neither right nor left could posess."
(Knut Hamsun, letter, 1892).
We were well received at Bø Bygdetun, Vinje where Julia
Sæter gave an introduction to the museum, which held
everything from a barn to a fishing village. On the beach
you could see the sculpture "The Man from the
Sea", an integral part of Skulpturlandskap Nordland,
rising. I let Gert and others stress around to see
everything. I concentrated on copies of the police
protocol, where Knud Pedersen's handwriting was easily
discovered. He did have many different tasks and a huge
district to cover, mostly on foot over the mountains. A
wooden bench in the museum had been Knud Pedersen's bed.
Off-course I had to sit on it and Leif too.
We had coffee and bisquits before we took the bus to the
next venue, Ringstad Bygdehus, where fishsoup was been
served and a lecture from the always enthusiastic Nils
Magne Knutsen: And he wore the goldrimmed hat. On
police officers and policemen in Hamsun's works".
In the distance the school
where young Knud Pedersen was a teacherAlways enthusiastic Nils Magne Knutsen in
The busses were crawling
along on narrow narrow roads to the ruins of a school.
No, Knud Pedersen was not a teacher here, but from here
we could look down to the place, where young Pedersen
with his own 265 schooldays taught. He was a well-liked
and different teatcher, we were told by the local guide,
who could also tell how the schools at the time worked.
Strange to stand here and sense the ways of the past.
Thereafter we drove on to the small fishing village of
Hovden, a village under Hamsun's jurisdiction. A
competent local guide told about life in the village in
hamsun's time and we were served coffee and cake in the
After this immensely interesting day we drove back to
Sortland, where we before dinner was served a lecture by
Inge Fagerbakk, the author of the Hamsun cookbook,
A delicious bacalao. Hamsun and food". Luckily
we were not served bacalao for dinner but a delicious
lanb. We had a lovely good-bye dinner with lots of talk
Unfortunately Lars Saabye Christensen could not attend.
An interview with him had been planned.
After much talk with Hamsun-friends time had come to go
back south again. We had many experiences and an
interesting seminar. We will see each other again in two
years for the next Hamsun-society literary seminar,
whereever it might be.
"Skogen og marken lærer du mig intet om, der
føler jeg hvad intet menneske har følt."
(Look Back on Happiness).
"Det fins trakter
på vår jord som man ikke kan forlate bare ved å reise
derfra; landskaper som gir en så dyp og voldsom
opplevelse at man blir nødt til å vende tilbake. For
meg ligger disse strøkene nordpå, alle sammen."
(Per Olof Sundmann).
The beautiful passages of
Knut Hamsun's texts written here in the original
norwegian, I'll leave to you to find yourself in your own
preferred language and translation. And maybe you will
read a little more...