See also the reports from previous years here..

Hamsun festival 2012.

"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 han" (Vagabonds).

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 Hamsun-days!
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.


"Borgen", Hamsun's writing room at Brænd gård The bookshelf, made by Knut Hamsun himself.

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 climb.

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 tower.


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 festival.

Bambuso Sonoro: 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 life".
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 that worked.
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 unveiled in1961.
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 Hamsun-centre

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 town).
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 stellar collision 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 their goal?
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 - interesting.


Daring dishes from Growth of the Soil Knut (Tor Valle) and Marie (Elin Eidsvik) and their Buick 1933.

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 together.
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 us?”
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 norwegian.

And yet another day filled with exiting experiences. And Glimma rustles night and day, day and night.
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 UIT.
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 overgrown Paths).


International 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 program.
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 with.

"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 en pige...."
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.
Han svarte:
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 again.
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 and Leonarda"

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 Eline Torp
Literary walks to Hansbakk
Studio Sokrates
Honningbarna rocks the Hamsun-days
Ball

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

Hamsun in Vesterålen 2012:
"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 dressed warmly.



Chairman of the Hamsun-society Even Arntzen Dag Solstad with an amusing discourse
Mayor 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 world.
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“.


The 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 Sortland hotel

Friday August10th
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 ideas frozen".
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“.


Even Arntzen Ronald Altinius

Lunchbreak.
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 splendid performance.
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.


Vigdis Hjort Lisbeth Wærp

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 around midnight.

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 .


Leif 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 Ringstad Bygdehus

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 village hall.
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 and speeches.
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...


© Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen www.hamsun.at