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Growth of the Soil par Knut Hamsun
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Growth of the Soil (original 1917; édition 1921)

par Knut Hamsun

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1,503398,814 (4.14)144
The epic novel of man and nature that won its author the Nobel Prize in Literature When it was first published in 1917, Growth of the Soilwas immediately recognized as a masterpiece. In the story of Isak, who leaves his village to clear a homestead and raise a family amid the untilled tracts of the Norwegian backcountry, Knut Hamsun evokes the elemental bond between humans and the land. Newly translated by the distinguished Hamsun scholar Sverre Lyngstad, Growth of the Soil is a work of preternatural calm, stern beauty, and biblical power-and the crowning achievement of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. 'Growth of the Soil was a worldwide sensation . . . and almost from the day of publication there were rumors that Hamsun would win the Nobel Prize . . . Singer admitted to being 'hypnotized' by him; Hesse called him his favorite writer; Hemingway recommended his novels to Scott Fitzgerald; Gide compared him to Dostoyevsky, but believed Hamsun was 'perhaps even more subtle.' The list of those who loved his sly, anarchic voice is long.' - The New Yorker WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE Translated with Notes by SVERRE LYNGSTAD… (plus d'informations)
Membre:theodoredreiser
Titre:Growth of the Soil
Auteurs:Knut Hamsun
Info:London: Gyldendal, 1921.
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L'Éveil de la glèbe par Knut Hamsun (1917)

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» Voir aussi les 144 mentions

Anglais (33)  Norvégien (1)  Suédois (1)  Espagnol (1)  Allemand (1)  Danois (1)  Néerlandais (1)  Toutes les langues (39)
Affichage de 1-5 de 39 (suivant | tout afficher)
After reading a book that I really like, I try to find reasons to hate it because writing a mean review is far easier than writing a nice one. Conveniently, there's a ready-made reason for anyone wanting to dismiss Growth of the Soil outright. The novel's author, Knut Hamsun, wasn't just your average Nazi sympathizer. This dude stuck with those guys to the bitter end, even writing a eulogy for Hitler after his suicide, and when his friends and fans tried to excuse his behavior and his political leanings as an unfortunate consequence of his mind becoming cloudy in old age, Hamsun got pissed off and wrote a whole book at the age of 90 just to prove his clarity of thought. Make all the excuses you want for him, but if the guy wanted to be a Nazi so badly, let him be a Nazi!

Now, what does this have to do with the book? Not all that much. Yes, there's a sense of anti-modernism, but it's not exactly Julius Evola's Revolt Against the Modern World. Isak, the novel's focus, certainly distances himself from civilization to build his farm, but this is the 1850's in the far north of Norway, not 2017 Manhattan. The jabs at city life are fair ones, and one can easily take the novel's ideas to heart without going full-on Luddite.

Take for example the conversation between Isak's second son, Sivert, and a friend/benefactor of the family named Geissler. Geissler, a man with whom Hamsun probably identified a great deal, talks to Sivert about the failings of his money-grubbing contemporaries ("Just imagine turning the means into an end and being proud of it!" is my favorite line in the whole book), but more importantly he shares how much he admires Isak and his family: "Listen to me, Sivert: Be contented! You have everything to live on, everything to live for, everything to believe in; you're born and you bring forth, you are vital to the earth. You sustain life. You go on from generation to generation, fulfilling yourselves through sheer breeding; when you die, the new brood takes over. This is what is meant by eternal life."Now, this conversation comes at the end of the novel, so it might be easy to leave with an impression that Geissler's statement is fact, but it's important to recognize that Geissler is selling himself way short.

Yes, Isak's family had "everything to live on," but how did they get that land in the first place? The land was owned by the state, and if Isak hadn't been assisted by Geissler in the purchase of the plot, the state could have and almost certainly would have taken advantage of him. Yes, Isak and his wife Inger succeeded in the whole "fulfilling yourselves through sheer breeding" thing, but without Geissler's legal assistance in getting Inger out of prison far earlier than was expected, it would have been far harder for Inger to maintain a family with Isak, and he might have lost her entirely. In his introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of the book, Brad Leithauser mentions how often the reader sees potential for Isak's plans to go awry, but they really never do, and it's almost always due to help from Geissler. I'm not saying Hamsun is going for some sort of 'It takes all kinds!' sort of message, but if he really wanted to advocate a complete separation from modernity, he wouldn't have made such an influential character be a man of the city.

Something that I've thought a lot about since finishing the book is where Hamsun decides to end the story. Isak starts to recognize that he is aging, and he begins to make plans on how to slowly cede control of Sellanraa to his son, but we never actually see Isak get too old to be productive anymore. It seems to me like Hamsun thought quite a lot about age throughout his life (he had plenty of time to think about it, as he lived to be 92), and he didn't seem comfortable with getting old. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, he sheds some light on his struggles with aging: "No, what I should really like to do right now, in the full blaze of lights, before this illustrious assembly, is to shower every one of you with gifts... to be young once more, to ride on the crest of the wave... Today, riches and honours have been lavished on me, but one gift has been lacking, the most important of all, the only one that matters, the gift of youth... It is proper that we who have grown old should take a step back and do so with dignity and grace."In Growth of the Soil, Isak made the decision to take the step back, but once you've taken that step, what do you do? We'll never know how Isak would have handled it, but we are well aware of the path Hamsun took.

Had Hamsun taken his own advice, he would have headed home with his Nobel Prize and, then at the age of 61, settled down for a quiet life with his family. Yet there he was, almost a quarter century later, hanging out with Hitler in Berchtesgaden. Did he just live too long? Did his penchant for moral conservatism and aversion to modernity build up over time to the point that he couldn't contain it anymore? I don't have a clue what happened, but I certainly see a man who felt that the world was trying to leave him behind and didn't know how to cope with (or even how to write about) being in the twilight of his life.

I've written far too much about what Growth of the Soil doesn't have, because it has so, so much. It's a beautifully simple story filled with nature that you can almost reach out and touch, and there's a whole lot of heart in the people and animals that inhabit Isak's world. You don't have to know anything about nature to fall in love with it here, and regardless of what Knut Hamsun held inside him in 1945, what he put on paper in 1917 is far more important. ( )
  bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
Det er forunderligt, at det er den samme forfatter, der har skrevet Sult og Markens Grøde. Sult er en modernistisk klassiker, der tager livtag med eksistentiel ensomhed og kunstnerisk stræben i en anonym storby, mens Markens Grøde er … noget andet.

Der er noget næsten mytologisk over romanens åbning: ”Den lange, lange sti over myrene og ind i skogene, hvem har trakket op den? Manden, mennesket, den første som var her. Der var ingen sti før ham.” (s. 7) Og fornemmelsen af en grundlæggelsesmyte forsvinder kun langsomt og i takt med at Isak, hovedpersonen, får brudt nyt land og skabt rammen om en tilværelse et sted i ødemarken i Nordnorge.

Isak er en naturens søn, der ved hjælp af en kolossal arbejdsevne hugger en tilværelse ud af naturens hænder og etablerer gården Sellanraa. Snart slutter Inger sig til ham, og det kan godt være, at hun har hareskår, men hun kan arbejde, og hun kan føde ham børn. Imens bliver gederne til flere geder, fårene til flere får, markerne til større marker, køer, høns og heste kommer til, og de to sønner Eleseus og Sivert vokser op som uskyldige naturens børn – lige indtil Inger føder en datter, der også har hareskår og straks derefter slår barnet ihjel.

Forbrydelsen kan ikke skjules, men slår den familien ud af kurs? Egentlig ikke. Isak knokler videre, den intrigante Oline flytter ind for at hjælpe med børnene, og gården vokser. Helt uden problemer er familien selvfølgelig ikke. Inger får sære ideer af opholdet i fængslet og kontakten til bylivet, og Eleseus bliver også ramt af civilisationens bacille, da han kommer i tjeneste hos en ingeniør i bygden. Bogen igennem er kontrasten mellem byens folk og landets simplere, men også mere ægte befolkning tydelig. Isaks modsætning er Brede, som også køber land, men som slet ikke har den flid eller den sparsommelighed, der skal til for at bygge noget nyt op.

Den eneste person fra byen, der for alvor fremstilles positivt, er lensmand Geissler. Han hjælper Isak med at få købt sin jord, og han hjælper familien med stort og småt undervejs. Selvom han er civilisationen, så har han tydeligvis mest til overs for nybyggerne, der skal skabe et nyt og stærkere Norge, og han gør hvad han kan for at hjælpe dem på vej. Men han er også en dæmonisk og manipulerende skikkelse, der behandler de lokale som børn og forfølger sin egen opfattelse af, hvad der er rigtigt og forkert. På sin hvis er han forfatteren selv, der træder ind i romanen og styrer sine personer i den rigtige retning.

Romanens værdidomme er svære at overse: ”Men kanske var det så, at denne gut hadde godt at slægte på og var ordentlig utstyret engang, men kom ind i kunstige forhold og blev omgjort til bytting? Blev han så flittig på et kontor og i en krambod at al hans oprindelighet gik tapt? Kanske var det saa. Ialfald går han nu her snil og lidenskapsløs, litt svak, litt likeglad og vandrer videre og videre på sin avvei. Han kunne misunde hver mand i marken, men ikke engang det magter han.” (s. 294)

Jeg var meget begejstret for Sult, som viser et menneske i al dets svaghed og selvbedrag, men jeg er mindre glad for Markens Grøde og dens idyllisering af den barske nybyggertilværelse. Selvom Hamsun ikke kan holde sprækkerne væk – hele to spædbørn bliver dræbt ved fødslen – så fastholdes livet på landet som den eneste ægte tilværelse, og historien fortælles i et bevidst langsomt og gammeldags sprog. På mig virkede det kunstigt og lidt kedeligt. ( )
  Henrik_Madsen | Apr 24, 2017 |
This book started out as a wonderful tale of 2 misfits but ended up as a boring story that got mired down in endless dreary details. ( )
  Amante | Jul 29, 2016 |
a tiller of the ground, body and soul; a worker on the land without respite.'
By sally tarbox on 2 April 2013
Format: Paperback
For the first couple of pages I didn't think I could get into this style of writing: Hamsun looking on, writing in at times an almost Biblical style, remaining impartial and not voicing his characters' emotions. And yet I quickly realised he was achieving great literature through this simple style, and the people still become vividly and movingly alive.
We begin with Isak's first steps to create a home in the Norwegian wilds:
'The wilderness was inhabited and unrecognizable, a blessing had come upon it, life had arisen there from a long dream, human creatures lived there, children played about the houses. And the forest stretched away, big and kindly, right up to the blue heights.'
He finds a woman, initially a simple soul, whom life gradually makes more complex.
Gradually other settlers move in - the idle, the industrious, the promiscuous; and the self-seeking Oline
'Never in life would she give in and never her match for turning and twisting heaven and earth to a medley of seeming kindness and malice, poison and senseless words.'
One of the most enigmatic characters is Geissler, originally introduced as a decent official with whom Isak has dealings; he helps him at other times and made me wonder if Hamsun was equating him to a divinity ?
'I'm something, I'm the fog as it were, here and there, floating around, sometimes coming like rain on dry ground... There's my son, the lightening'
A beautiful celebration of the rural life:
'Nothing growing there? All things growing there; men and beasts and fruit of the soil. Isak sowing his corn. The evening sunlight falls on the corn that flashes out in an arc from his hand and falls like a dropping of gold to the ground. Here comes Sivert to the harrowing...Forest and field look on. All is majesty and power - a sequence and purpose of things.' ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
Very different from his novel Hunger, here Hamsun has written a sweeping story of one man's accomplishments as a homesteader in northern Norway near the border with Sweden.

Isak, a young and very strong man, with no fear of work, goes looking for a good place to settle. He walks and walks, looking for a place that has everything he needs: water, haying grounds, pasture, areas to farm, timber.

When he finally finds it, he settles in. There is a coastal town a full day's walk away (20 miles? 10 miles?). He puts out word that he needs a woman's help--and lo and behold, Inger comes. She too has no fear of work, and she has a harelip--teased for much of her life, she finds a good man in Isak.

They work, they have several children, Inger is imprisoned for 6 years. Others come and settle the area between their farm Sellanra and the town.

A fascinating story of rural northern Norway in the 2nd half of the 19th century. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Hamsun, Knutauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionsconfirmé
Angermann, S.Übersetzerauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Lyngstad, SverreTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Meyboom, MargarethaTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Sandmeier, J.Übersetzerauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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Den långa, långa stigen över myrarna och in i skogarna, vam har trampat den?
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The epic novel of man and nature that won its author the Nobel Prize in Literature When it was first published in 1917, Growth of the Soilwas immediately recognized as a masterpiece. In the story of Isak, who leaves his village to clear a homestead and raise a family amid the untilled tracts of the Norwegian backcountry, Knut Hamsun evokes the elemental bond between humans and the land. Newly translated by the distinguished Hamsun scholar Sverre Lyngstad, Growth of the Soil is a work of preternatural calm, stern beauty, and biblical power-and the crowning achievement of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. 'Growth of the Soil was a worldwide sensation . . . and almost from the day of publication there were rumors that Hamsun would win the Nobel Prize . . . Singer admitted to being 'hypnotized' by him; Hesse called him his favorite writer; Hemingway recommended his novels to Scott Fitzgerald; Gide compared him to Dostoyevsky, but believed Hamsun was 'perhaps even more subtle.' The list of those who loved his sly, anarchic voice is long.' - The New Yorker WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE Translated with Notes by SVERRE LYNGSTAD

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