Hoel, Sigurd

(1890-1960)
   A Norwegian novelist, Hoel is also considered one of Norway's major novelists of the 20th century. The heir of both neoromanticism and realism in Norwegian literature, Hoel decisively altered his country's literary landscape by making Freudianism a staple in Norwegian fiction, particularly in his portrayal of relationships between men and women. Hoel was also a cultural journalist, critic, and editor at Norway's foremost publishing house, Gyldendal. His impact on Norway's cultural life was second to none.
   Hoel's literary debut took place in 1922, when he published a collection of short stories, Veien vi gaår (The Road We Walk), which shows that he had already been influenced by Freud. Syvstjernen (1924; The Seven-Pointed Star) is a rather tedious allegory. Hoel's definitive breakthrough came with the novel Syndere i sommersol (1927; tr. Sinners in Summertime, 1930), which satirizes the way a group of middle-class graduate students conduct themselves while insisting that they, in contrast to their elders, are able to avoid self-deception. Male rivalry is a major theme, but so is men's fear of commitment. Many years later Hoel wrote a sequel in which the characters are 30 years older, Jeg er blitt glad i en annen (1951; I Am in Love with Someone Else), but it is not as charmingly entertaining as Syndere i sommersol.
   Although born in the countryside, Oslo, Norway's capital, had long been Hoel's home. Ingenting (1929; Nothing) is the first of many Hoel novels that are set in Oslo. Like the first-person narrator in Knut Hamsun's Sult, Hoel's protagonist wanders the streets but remains dissatisfied with his life. En dag i oktober (1931; tr. A Day in October, 1932) also deals with unsatisfied longing and men's inability to extend themselves emotionally. Considered an example of the collective novel, it is set in an apartment building and tells a detailed story of one particular dysfunctional couple, which is presented in the context of several unhappy marriages.
   Freud's theories of childhood are on display in the autobiographical novel Veien til verdens ende (1933; The Road to the End of the World), in which Hoel draws on his childhood memories. These memories also inform the stories in Prinsessen pa glassberget (1939; The Princess on the Glass Mountain). He also felt a need to understand himself better through psychoanalysis and became a patient of the psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), who lived in Norway after fleeing his native Austria. Strongly influenced by this experience, Hoel published Fjorten dager før frostnettene (1935; A Fortnight before the Frost Nights), which presents the midlife crisis of a physician, the emotionally barren Knut Holmen. Echoing the process of analysis, Holmen goes on a search for a woman whose love he had betrayed while in his early 20s.
   Hoel's gift for satire is on display in Sesam, sesam (1938; Open Sesame), in which he caricatures many of Norway's leading cultural figures. Ved foten av Babels tarn (1956; At the Foot of the Tower of Babel) is an example of satire turning into bitterness.
   During World War II Hoel was occupied with resistance work and had to flee to Sweden. After the war he probed the causes of Nazism in his novel Møte ved milepelen (1947; tr. Meeting at the Milestone, 1951), one of Norway's finest novels about the trauma of occupation and the tragedy of collaboration with the enemy. The first-person narrator, a former resistance fighter, discovers that his own betrayal of a woman he loved has contributed to some of the wartime problems, and that his conscience is not as clear as he used to think. The less successful novel Stevnemøte med glemte aår (1954; Rendevous with Forgotten Years) deals with similar issues.
   Before fleeing to Sweden during the war, Hoel had published the novel Arvestaålet (1941; The Family Dagger), in which issues of love and marriage figure prominently. Set in the region of Telemark in the 1800s, its male protagonist, Havard, indirectly causes the suicide of the woman who loves him, Tone, by becoming interested in the attractive widow Rønnaug. In the sequel Trollringen (1958; tr. The Troll Circle, 1991), Havard has married Rønnaug and has moved to her farm in a different community, where his stepdaughter Kjersti falls in love with him. When Rønnaug dies in an accident, Havard is accused of murdering her, is found guilty and executed, and Kjersti is hounded to suicide by the women in the community. Again, it is a man's inability to commit himself emotionally that causes the disaster.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hoel, Sigurd — ▪ Norwegian novelist born December 14, 1890, Nord Odal, Norway died October 14, 1960, Oslo       novelist who is considered most representative of the interwar generation of fiction writers in Norway. He was the first Norwegian writer of fiction… …   Universalium

  • Hoel, Sigurd — ► (1890 1960) Escritor noruego. Autor de las novelas Pescadores bajo el sol de verano (1927), Camino hacia el fin del mundo (1933) y Quince días antes de las noches frías (1935) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hoel — Hoel, Sigurd …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sigurd Hoel — Sigurd Hoel, 1950 Sigurd Hoel (* 14. Dezember 1890 in Nord Odal; † 14. Oktober 1960 in Oslo) war ein norwegischer Schriftsteller, der sich auch politisch engagierte. In seinen Werken verband er Sozialkritik mit Erotik und Satire …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sigurd Hoel — Sigurd Hoel, 1950 Sigurd Hoel (né le 14 décembre 1890 dans le Nord Odal, et mort le 14 octobre 1960) est un écrivain et conseiller éditorial norvégien. Il a débuté en 1922 avec le recueil de nouvelles Veien vi gaar, et a conn …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sigurd Hoel — (December 14 1890 October 14 1960) was a Norwegian author and publishing consultant, born in Nord Odal. He debuted with the collection of short stories Veien vi gaar ( The way we go ) in 1922. His breakthrough came with Syndere i sommersol (… …   Wikipedia

  • Sigurd — bzw. Sigurður ist ein männlicher Vorname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Verbreitung 2 Bedeutung 3 Formen 4 Namenstage …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hoel — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Adolf Hoel (1879–1964), norwegischer Geologe und Polarforscher Halvor Hoel (1766–1852), norwegischer Politiker Sigurd Hoel (1890–1960), norwegischer Schriftsteller Tore Elias Hoel (* 1953), norwegischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sigurd Hoel (boxer) — Sigurd Emanuel Hoel (August 15, 1897 ndash; July 21, 1977) was a Norwegian boxer who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics.In 1920 he was eliminated in the quarter finals of the heavyweight class after losing his fight to Xavier Eluère.External… …   Wikipedia

  • Hoel —   [huːl], Sigurd, norwegischer Schriftsteller, * Nord Odal (Provinz Hedmark) 14. 12. 1890, ✝ Oslo 14. 10. 1960; von S. Freud beeinflusster Erzähler und Dramatiker, der mit pessimistisch gestimmten erotischen Darstellungen und scharfer Satire… …   Universal-Lexikon

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