What: Hamsun plaque

Where: Storgata 106, 9008 Tromsø, Norway

Here it is: Storgata is the main street right in the centre of Tromsø. Walk upwards from for example the cathedral or from the coastal steamer quay. Storgata 106 is today a health-food shop.

Here the shop of the bookseller and publisher Urdal was located in 1877 and here came the young Knud Pedersen to have his first book "Den Gaadefulde" (The Enigmatic) published. In "Tromsøboka den fjerde" (Tromsø 2005) you may read the following: "The Enigmatic with the subtitle A Lovestory from Nordland was published by Mikal Urdal's publishing house in Tromsø in 1877 and was printed at Gustav Kjeldseth's printing house. It was a small book, unbound, and it is with a tiny possible exeption considered as Knut Hamsuns debut. In a later statement to publishing house director Harald Grieg, Hamsun claimed that he had never met Urdal, and that he did not know how Uldal had got hold of The Enigmatic. This is surely a slip in good Hamsun's memory. On the other hand he remembered Kjeldseth all his life. Perhaps due to this: In a letter to Eli Krog, who had asked Hamsun for material for the anathology The First I Had Printed, the poet answered in June 1950, that he remembered having received a letter from Kjeldseth , who had informed him, that he in The Enigmatic "had corrected some of the worst in this mess of nonsense". "This offended me", Hamsun writes, "since then I never had printed at Kjeldseth any more.""

© Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen www.hamsun.at