The acknowledged masterpiece of the Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter has never been out of print in this country since its first publication in 1927. Its story of a woman's life in fourteenth-century Norway has kept its hold on generations of readers, and the heroine, Kristin—beautiful, strong-willed, and passionate—stands with the world's great literary figures. Volume 1, The Bridal Wreath, describes young Kristin's stormy romance with the dashing Erlend Nikulausson, a young man perhaps overly fond of women, of whom her father strongly disapproves. From the Trade Paperback edition.
“[Sigrid Undset] should be the next Elena Ferrante.” —Slate The turbulent historical masterpiece of Norway’s literary master In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tiina Nunnally’s award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty. As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty. With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway’s most beloved author—one of the twentieth century’s most prodigious and engaged literary minds—and, in Nunnally’s exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall. This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition includes an introduction by Brad Leithauser and features French flaps and deckle-edged paper. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Set in 13th-century Norway, The Axe is the first volume in Undset's epic tetralogy, The Master of Hestviken. In it, we meet Olav Audunsson and Ingunn Steinfinnsdatter, who were betrothed as children and raised as brother and sister. In the heedlessness of youth, they become lovers, unaware that their ardor will forge the first link in a chain of murder, exile, and disgrace. Undset's novel is also a meticulous re-creation of a world split between pagan codes of retribution and the rigors of Christian piety--a world where law is a fragile new invention and manslaughter is so common that it's punishable by a fine."Undset reproduces medieval Norway in all the rich pageantry of color and form...she can transport us eight centuries and several thousand miles more effectively than most writers can take us into the house next door."--The Nation
The traditional Catholic novel, Fraser argues, was built on a set of deeply held religious convictions: that there was a "hidden God" as identified by Pascal, and that this God pursued the erring soul ("The Hound of Heaven" in Francis Thompson's metaphor); that there was an essential, Augustinian antagonism between flesh and spirit; that the suffering of one individual, however unjust, could serve the purpose, in the divine economy, of redeeming the soul of another; and that the Catholic world of sign and symbol reflects another, invisible reality.
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