Duun, Olav

(1876-1939)
   A Norwegian novelist and short story writer, Duun chose his home district of Namdalen in central Norway as the setting for his books. A teacher by profession and thus by necessity a part-time writer, Duun succeeded in creating some of the most complex characters in all of Scandinavian literature while at the same time writing extensive historical epics and providing some of the best descriptions of nature that Norwegian literature has to offer. After publishing a volume of short stories, Løglege skruvar og anna folk (1907; Oddballs and Other People), Duun had his literary breakthrough with Paa tvert (1909; Crosswise). His next several novels all concern the kind of conflicts between individuals that can be explicated according to the ideas of Freudian psychoanalysis: Nøkksjølia (1910; The Slope by Nixie Lake), Hilderøya (1912; Hilder Island), Sigyn (1913), Tre venner (1914; Three Friends), Harald (1915), Det gode samvite (1916; tr. Good Conscience), and Pa Lyngsøya (1917; At Heather Island).
   Firmly rooted in traditional Norwegian folk culture with its focus on the extended family as life's organizing principle, Duun's master-work is a series of six novels collectively entitled Juvikfolke (1918— 1923; tr. The People of Juvik, 1930—1935), which covers six generations of the Juvik family. The first three novels—Juvikingar (1918; tr. The Trough, 1930), Iblinda (1919; tr. The Blind Man, 1931), and Storbrylloppe (1920; tr. The Big Wedding, 1932)—all have as their protagonist a man named Per-Anders, whose values and general outlook on life can be traced back to the paganism of the Viking Age. The last three novels—I eventyre (1921; tr. Odin in Fairyland, 1932), I ungdommen (1922; tr. Odin Grows Up, 1934), and Istormen (1923; tr. The Storm, 1935)—tell about the life ofOdin Setran, whose character is a combination of the old family traits and a sense of both Christian ethics and capitalist prudence. In the end he sacrifices his life in order to save that of an enemy. Juvikfolke can be read as a record of the transition from a mentality governed largely by a concern for self to one where there is a balance between the individual's attention to the needs of self and other, as well as the story of Norway's change from an economic system built on self-sufficiency supplemented with bartering to a monetary economy.
   Duun was even more overtly preoccupied with the conflict between good and evil in his next major work, a trilogy consisting of the novels Medmenneske (1929; Fellow Man), Ragnhild (1931), and Siste leveare (1933; The Final Year of Life), which covers the first 15 years or so of the 20th century in the life ofthe Dale family. The father, Didrik Dale, has turned over his farm to his son Hakon and his daughter-in-law Ragnhild, but he becomes increasingly mendacious and manipulative with the young couple. Ragnhild, fearing that he will corrupt Hakon, kills Didrik with an ax in a moment of frustration. Hakon becomes increasingly like his father, however, and after her release from prison, Ragnhild comes home to try to prevent him from being consumed with bitterness and evil. The final volume of the trilogy shows that she has a measure of success in helping her husband heal emotionally and spiritually.
   The novels Ettermæle (1932; A Reputation Left Behind) and Gud smiler (1935; God Smiles) exhibit a strong reverence for common human beings and their internal strength. S mtid (1936; The Present Age) presents the frightening political situation of the 1930s in the guise of a conflict within a small community. The novel Menneske og maktene (1938; tr. The Floodtide of Fate, 1961) is an allegory of Nazism as it threatened to engulf Europe. A small group of people are caught on a low-lying island while the sea is rising, and Duun shows that human beings do have the internal resources that they need to maintain their dignity whatever their challenges.
   In addition to his first collection of short stories, published in 1907, Duun made a valuable contribution to the genre with three additional volumes: Gamal jord (1911; Old Soil), Blind-Anders (1924; Blind Anders), and Veg r og villstig (1930; On the Road and Getting Lost). While thematically related to Duun's other works, many of these stories are technically and formally sophisticated.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Duun, Olav — ▪ Norwegian writer born November 21, 1876, Fosnes, Jøa Island, Norway died September 13, 1939, Tønsberg       novelist who is one of the outstanding writers of 20th century Norwegian fiction.       Duun, a former cattle herder and fisherman,… …   Universalium

  • Duun, Olav — ► (1876 1939) Novelista noruego. Se inspiró en la vida campesina. Obras: La gente de Juvik (1818 23), La vieja tierra (1911) y Hombres y potencias (1938) …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Olav Duun — in 1936. Memorial stone of Norwegian author Olav Duun …   Wikipedia

  • Duun — Olav Duun (* 21. November 1876 in Fosnes; † 12. September 1939 in Holmestrand) war ein norwegischer Schriftsteller. Duun wurde vor allem durch seine Schilderung des bäuerlichen Lebens in Norwegen und durch seine Naturbeschreibungen bekannt. Er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Olav Duun — en 1936. Activités Romancier Naissance 21 novembre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • DUUN (O.) — DUUN OLAV (1876 1939) L’évolution personnelle de ce petit chevrier du Trøndelag, qui entreprit des études à vingt cinq ans pour se faire enseignant et commença à publier à trente et un ans des romans fortement marqués par Dostoïevski pour finir… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Duun — Duun,   Olav, norwegischer Schriftsteller, * Fosnes (Nord Trøndelag) 21. 11. 1876, ✝ Tønsberg 13. 9. 1939; war zunächst Volksschullehrer, wurde einer der bedeutendsten norwegischen Erzähler. Mit psychologischem Scharfsinn gestaltete er… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Olav Duun — (* 21. November 1876 in Fosnes; † 13. September 1939 in Holmestrand) war ein norwegischer Schriftsteller, der vor allem als Erzähler in Erscheinung trat. Er schilderte vordringlich den Kampf des bäuerlichen Menschen gegen innere Versuchungen und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Olav — ist ein skandinavischer männlicher Vorname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Bekannte Namensträger 2.1 Vorname 2.2 Herrscher …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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