Laxness, Halldor Kiljan

(1902-1998)
   An Icelandic novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist, and dramatist, Laxness was an extremely prolific writer from his debut in 1927 until becoming disabled with progressive dementia in the 1990s. A Nobel Prize winner in 1955, he is Iceland s best-known modern literary artist. His debut was the autobiographical novel Vefarinn miklifra Kasmir (1927; The Great Weaver from Kashmir), which he wrote after several years of travel in Europe and which offers a young man s rash opinions about the cultural and moral ideas of the age. A stay in the United States during the difficult late 1920s made him a socialist, which is reflected in his two novels about a young woman named Salka Valka, who becomes involved in social justice work in an Icelandic fishing village; the novels bear the titles Puu vividur hreini (1931) and Fuglinn i fjorunni (1932; tr. together as Salka Valka, 1936). Another novel about poor but resilient Icelanders is Sjalfstætt folk (1934-1935; tr. Independent People, 1945-1946), which tells about the life of a sheep farmer. The trilogy Heimsljos (1937-1940; tr. World Light, 1969) has a poor local poet as its protagonist.
   In 1944 Iceland became politically independent for the first time in almost seven centuries, and the publication of Laxness s trilogy Islandsklukkan (1943-1946; Iceland's Bell) coincided with this event. The trilogy gives a faithful historical representation of life in Iceland at the turn of the 18th century. There is also a political dimension to the diary novel Atomstodin (1948; tr. The Atom Station, 1961), in which a young housemaid from the countryside tells about her experiences during a year's stay in Reykjavik, at a time when Icelandic politicians were dealing with a demand from the United States for the right to establish a permanent military base there. Grepla (1952; tr. The Happy Warriors, 1958), on the other hand, draws on the Old Icelandic sagas, but it too has a strongly pacifist message.
   The novel Brekkukotsannall (1957; tr. The Fish Can Sing, 1966) has as its setting Reykjavik around the year 1900, the time when the narrator grew up there, but the events are viewed from a point in time when the narrator has long been an adult. A novel about the conditions and demands of art, it has many parallels with Laxness s own life. So does, to a certain extent, the novel Paradisarheimt (1960; tr. Paradise Reclaimed, 1962), which takes as its theme the search for a spiritual paradise on earth. As a young man, Laxness had converted to Roman Catholicism, and he maintained an interest in spiritual matters throughout his life. The protagonist in Paradisarheimt finds his personal paradise among the Mormons in Utah, but when he goes back to Iceland as a missionary and chances upon his old farmstead, he comes to realize that paradise had been right under his nose all along.
   In Kristnihaldundir Jokli (1968; tr. Christianity at Glacier, 1972), in which a young theologian is charged with investigating the activities of a distant pastor, Laxness probes the limits of objectivity and the conditions under which truth may be established. These concerns also dominate his final two novels, Innansveitarkronika (1970; A Local Chronicle) and Gudsgjafapula (1972; A List of God's Gifts), which tells about how a young writer gets a start in life.
   Laxness also wrote four volumes of memoirs from his early youth. A volume of poetry, Kvædakver (1930; Small Book of Poems), was republished in an augmented edition in 1949. Of his several plays, one bears mention: Duufnaveislan: skemtunaleikur i fimm pattum (1966; tr. The Pigeon Banquet, 1973). He also published several volumes of short stories and numerous essays.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Laxness, Halldór Kiljan — pseud. di Gudjónsson, Halldór Kiljan …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Laxness, Halldor Kiljan — ► (1902 98) Escritor islandés. Fue premio Nobel de Literatura en 1955. Autor de Salka Valka. y La crónica del terruño …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Halldór Kiljan Laxness — Halldór Laxness (Porträt von Einar Hákonarson) Halldór Kiljan Laxness [ˈhaltour ˈcʰɪljan ˈlaxsnɛs] ?/Info/IPA (eigentlich Halldór Guðjónsson; * 23. April 1902 in Reykjavík; † 8. Februar …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Halldór Kiljan Laxness — Halldór Laxness Halldór Kiljan Laxness par Einar Hákonarson, 1984 Halldór Kiljan Laxness, né Halldór Guðjónsson, (Reykjavik 23 avril 1902 – 8 février 1998) est un célèbre écrivain islandais du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Laxness, Halldór — orig. Halldór Kiljan Gudjónsson born April 23, 1902, Reykjavík, Ice. died Feb. 8, 1998, near Reykjavík Icelandic novelist. He converted to Roman Catholicism while traveling in Europe as a young man but later dissociated himself from Christianity… …   Universalium

  • Laxness, Halldór — orig. Halldór Kiljan Gudjónsson (23 abr. 1902, Reykjavík, Islandia–8 feb. 1998, cerca de Reykjavík). Novelista islandés. Se convirtió al catolicismo en su juventud mientras viajaba por Europa; pero luego se alejó del cristianismo y abrazó el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gudjónsson, Halldór Kiljan — vero nome di Laxness, Halldór Kiljan …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Laxness — Laxness, Halldor Kiljan …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Halldor Laxness — Halldór Laxness (Porträt von Einar Hákonarson) Halldór Kiljan Laxness [ˈhaltour ˈcʰɪljan ˈlaxsnɛs] ?/Info/IPA (eigentlich Halldór Guðjónsson; * 23. April 1902 in Reykjavík; † 8. Februar …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Laxness — Halldór Laxness (Porträt von Einar Hákonarson) Halldór Kiljan Laxness [ˈhaltour ˈcʰɪljan ˈlaxsnɛs] ?/Info/IPA (eigentlich Halldór Guðjónsson; * 23. April 1902 in Reykjavík; † 8. Februar …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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