Win a Family Weekend Break with Lovereading and VisitWiltshire - click here for details...

tudor queens series likeyoulove
Search our site
The Last Summer by Andree Michaud Read the opening extract of the brand new Andree Michaud book before its publication on 25/01/2018

Enigma The Life of Knut Hamsun by Robert Ferguson
  

Enigma The Life of Knut Hamsun

Synopsis

Enigma The Life of Knut Hamsun by Robert Ferguson

The beginning of Robert Ferguson's introduction is arresting. 'If they've heard of him at all, people tend to know two things about Knut Hamsun: that he wrote Hunger, and that he met Hitler. Those who know a little more know that in Hunger, Mysteries and Pan, he produced novels that have had a decisive effect on European and American literature of the twentieth century. Ernest Hemingway tried to write like him; so did Henry Miller, who called him 'the Dickens of my generation'; 'never has the Nobel Prize been awarded to one worthier of it.' Thomas Mann wrote in 1929. Hermann Hesse called him 'my favourite author'. Russian writers like Andre Bely and Boris Pasternak read him keenly in their youth, and Andre Gide thought him arguable superior to Dostoevsky. They all read him - Kafka, Brecht, Gorky, Wells, Musil. Rebecca West described him as the possessor of 'qualities that belong to the very great - the completest omniscience about human nature'. And Isaac Bashevis Singer stated that Hamsun was quite simply 'the father of the modern school of literature in his every aspect - his subjectiveness, his fragmentariness, his use of flashbacks, his lyricism'. Singer, in his foreword to Hunger, goes on to say that 'The whole modern school of fiction in the twentieth century stems from Hamsun.' Yet in discussions of the history of modern literature, Hamsun's name is rarely mentioned. His reputation, which probably reached its height around 1929 with the world celebrations of his seventieth birthday, was in ruins by the end of the Second World War. Alone among the major European writers, he had supported Hitler. Brazenly alone, he had hailed he rise and bemoaned the fall of the epitome of spiritual tyranny in recent history.'What a subject, and in this, the first biography, Robert Ferguson brilliantly gets the measure of this awkward, paradoxical writer, or, as he calls him 'a multiple paradox, a living riddle; a human question-mark'.'Enigma is scholarly, very readable, warm, intelligent, shrewd, refreshingly unpretentious, invaluable, essential. A magnificent achievement.' Martin Seymour-Smith, Washington Post'Enigma is simply a pleasure to read. When Ferguson writes of the demonic muse that haunted Hamsun throughout his life, we glimpse something profound about the creative act of writing, and we come very close to the exalted emotion that every writer feels - or hopes to feel. Indeed, the highest praise that can be bestowed on Ferguson's work is to declare that Enigma is one of the most moving, inspiring and exciting books on the subject of writing that I have ever encountered.' Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times'Robert Ferguson's is the first full length English biography of Knut Hamsun and no one could ahve done a more expert job.' John Carey, Sunday Times

About the Author

Robert Ferguson was born in Blackpool in 1948. After completing Norwegian studies at University College in London, he took up a state scholarship in Norway in1983, and has since then lived in Oslo. Ferguson is an award-winning dramatist and has translated and adapted several of Ibsen's plays for the BBC. Apart from Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography he is also the author of two other highly acclaimed biographies, Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun and Henry Miller: A Life.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

15th July 2010

Author

Robert Ferguson

More books by Robert Ferguson
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Publisher

Faber & Faber

Format

Paperback
472 pages

Categories

Biography: literary

ISBN

9780571271368

A great place to go to find your next literary escape, and where you don't have to judge a book by its cover!

Suzanne Beney

As for why I'd recommend Lovereading, it's simple - it's a great place to get information and reviews about new books!

Margaret Freeman

For me, to read is to learn, to reflect, to escape, to think, to contemplate and my time for space and calm.

Sally Ellsmore

At Lovereading there are fabulous books available in every genre, with great reviews to help you pick the right book for you.

Teresa O'Halloran

I read new, exciting writers and established authors before publication and there is a great website full of brilliant books and opinions.

Lynda

Lovereading - a community of people passionate about reading and sharing their views. An incomparable website for book lovers.

Helen Clark

Lovereading is like booking a holiday, you don't know what it will be like and it is a whole new experience.

Sue Burton

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!

Lindsay

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools