Vinje, Aasmund Olafsson


Vinje, Aasmund Olafsson
(1818-1870)
   A Norwegian poet and journalist, Vinje was born on a farm at Vinje in Telemark County. He adhered to many of the ideas of national romanticism, particularly that Norway, independent from Denmark since 1814 and since then in a union with Sweden, should develop a written language based on popular dialects rather than the Danish-inspired written norm that had emerged in the course of the 400-year union with Denmark. But Vinje did not share Ivar Aasen's love of archaic grammar and vocabulary, and instead he based his form of Landsmaal (later renamed nynorsk) on the dialect of his native district. Although educated in Dano-Norwegian, Vinje used his own form of Landsmaal when in 1858 he started the newspaper Dølen (The Dalesman), in which he commented on the social, political, and cultural issues of his day.
   In addition to being a talented journalist, Vinje was also a gifted poet. His best works are Ferdaminni fraa Sumaren I860 (1861; Travel Memories from the Summer of 1860), in which he tells about a journey from Christiania (now Oslo) to Trondheim, and which includes many of his best-known poems, and the epic cycle Storegut (1866; Big Boy). A travelogue written in English and entitled A Norseman's View of Britain and the British (1863), although a perceptive analysis of the British national character, found few readers and did not appear in Norwegian until after Vinje's death. Many of Vinje's poems remain popular, especially through the musical settings by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907).

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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