Digte og Sange I Can Read!

My first thought when reading about the next Nobel Prize winner, Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson, was "Oh great, here we go again!" Another poet, another foreign language I don't speak, and another barrier. According to Nobelprize.org, Mr. Bjørnson was awarded "as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit." He's known as one of "The Four Great" Norwegian writers, and he wrote the lyrics to the Norwegian National Anthem, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" (Wikipedia).

Having written verses since the age of eleven, Bjørnson decided to pursue his talent and studied at the University of Olso, moving on to a career in journalism and drama criticism. If it were available to the public, I'd be interested in reading some of the writing he did as a young teen and comparing it to his later works. It's neat to see how a writer develops over time. Anyway, Bjørnson seems to have led a very accomplished and interesting life. He worked as a theater director, wrote a number of plays and novels alongside his poetry, and he was even exiled from Norway for a short time for his political opinions.

In searching for a work by Mr. Bjørnson, I was delighted to find that my initial concern was unnecessary. How relieved I was to discover that there are full English translations of some of his volumes of poetry! Some of his novels have been translated as well, but as the Nobel site specifically mentioned his verse, I thought I'd stick to that. Unfortunately, though, my library doesn't carry anything by him...but that's not a problem either, thanks to Interlibrary loan! I'm currently awaiting the arrival of Digte og Sange (Poems and Songs), and I look forward to reading his work!


  1. Yes we love this land! Woohoo! Excited to read your reviews.


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