Kielland, Alexander Lange


Kielland, Alexander Lange
(1849-1906)
   A Norwegian novelist and short story writer, Kielland is considered one of the finest stylists in Norwegian literature. He was born into a wealthy merchant family in the city of Stavanger, Norway. After graduating from the town's Latin School, he took a law degree at the university in Christiania (now Oslo), married, and purchased a brickworks near his hometown. Dissatisfied with his life, however, he read, among others, the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and in 1878 he left Stavanger for Paris, hoping to become a writer. His first book appeared, through the assistance of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson,as Novelletter (1879; tr. Tales of Two Countries, 1891). Encouraged by the Danish critic Georg Brandes, Kielland next wrote a novel, Garman og Worse (1880; tr. Garman and Worse, 1885), in which he drew heavily on his own family history; the book combines biting satire with a realistic portrait of Stavanger life in a bygone age.
   Kielland's purpose was not to write cultural history, but rather to castigate numerous social ills: class distinctions, hypocrisy and the abuse of power by state church ministers and other religious leaders, the stupidity of the school system, and lack of integrity in business and industry. His next novel, Arbeidsfolk (1881; Workers), is extremely polemical, but without the wit, style, and grace of his best works. Similarly to Arbeidsfolk,hisseveralnextnovelsprivileged heavy-handed satire over style and characterization. Else (1881; tr. Elsie: A Christmas Story, 1894) castigated the rich for their lack of concern for the poor, and Skipper Worse (1882; tr. 1885), a prequel to Garman og Worse, offers a satirical account of how religion can be used to obtain power. But a slender volume of short stories, To Novelletter fra Danmark (1882; tr. in Norse Tales and Sketches, 1896), shows that Kielland had not lost his skills as a writer. The short story "Karen," contained in that volume, is a masterpiece of irony and wit, but without the satire that, as practiced in most of Kielland's novels, could only detract from his artistry.
   Three of Kielland's next novels are set in Stavanger, but in the author's own time. Gift (1883; Poison) and Fortuna (1884; Fortune; both are translated as Professor Lovdahl, 1904) attack, respectively, the Latin School and the questionable ethics of the business world. Sankt Hans Fest (1887; Saint John's Festival) excoriates religious bigotry, and Sne (1886; tr. Snow, 1887), also set in southwestern Norway, shows what happens when fundamentalist religion mixes with conservative politics.
   Kielland was not much of a dramatist, but he wrote several light and entertaining plays, including Tre Par (1886; tr. Three Couples, 1917), Bettys Formynder (1887; Betty's Guardian), and Professoren (1888; The Professor), which became notorious for its unflattering portrait of the philosophy professor Marcus Jacob Monrad.The novel Jacob (1891) concludes Kielland's fictional oeuvre. It has been suggested that he may have exhausted his poetic gifts, but also that changes in the literary climate, which no longer favored social criticism as much as before, may account for his sudden abandonment of creative writing. In the final 15 years of his life he turned his talents to writing letters and is known as Norway's most artful correspondent.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kielland, Alexander Lange — ▪ Norwegian writer born February 18, 1849, Stavanger, Norway died April 6, 1906, Bergen       novelist, short story writer, and dramatist, one of the “big four” (with Henrik Ibsen (Ibsen, Henrik), B.M. Bjørnson (Bjørnson, Bjørnstjerne Martinius) …   Universalium

  • Alexander Lange Kielland — Alexander Kielland Alexander Lange Kielland (* 18. Februar 1849 in Stavanger; † 6. April 1906 in Bergen) war ein norwegischer Autor. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander Kjelland — Alexander Kielland Alexander Lange Kielland (* 18. Februar 1849 in Stavanger; † 6. April 1906 in Bergen) war ein norwegischer Autor. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander Kielland — Naissance Stavanger Alexander Kielland …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kielland — Kĭelland, Alexander Lange, norweg. Romanschriftsteller, geb. 18. Febr. 1849 zu Stavanger, lange Ziegeleibesitzer in Malk, seit 1892 Bürgermeister zu Stavanger; schrieb: »Novelletter« (1879), realistische Romane (»Arbeidsfolk«, »Else«, »Fortuna«,… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Alexander Kielland — Alexander L. Kielland Nacimiento 18 de febrero de 1849 Stavanger, Noruega …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alexander Kielland — ist der Name folgender Personen: Alexander Lange Kielland (1849–1906), norwegischer Autor Alexander L. Kielland bezeichnet: Alexander L. Kielland (Bohrinsel), nach Alexander Lange Kielland benannte Ölbohrplattform, die nach einem Unfall am 27.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kielland — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Der 1849 geborene norwegische Autor Alexander Lange Kielland Kielland bezeichnet eine 1980 gekenterte Nordseebohrinsel Alexander L. Kielland (Bohrinsel) Diese Seite ist ei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kielland —   [ çɛlan], Alexander Lange, norwegischer Schriftsteller, * Stavanger 18. 2. 1849, ✝ Bergen 6. 4. 1906. Kielland gelang es in seinen naturalistischen Romanen und Erzählungen, eine radikale Tendenz, die sich gegen soziale Missverhältnisse und die… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Kielland — (spr. kjéll ), Alexander Lange, norweg. Romanschriftsteller, geb. 18. Febr. 1849 in Stavanger als Sohn eines Großkaufmanns, studierte in Christiania die Rechte und ließ sich als Ziegelwerksbesitzer in seiner Vaterstadt nieder, bis die Bewegung… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.