Let’s learn about Norway!–Ibsen vs. Hamsun

Henrik Ibsen is probably Norway’s most famous writer. I like to think that Ibsen is as famous as he is because of his fantastic facial hair (really, just look at it), but that’s probably not the case. His literary talent is probably the reason for his fame.

But Ibsen is not the only Norwegian author famous for his (facial hair) writing. There was another man named Knut Hamsun, who I have nicknamed “nut.”

Hamsun was an interesting character. He was critical of many things; he felt that many writers made characters who were shallow, he thought literature should be artistic as opposed to educational, and he was critical of Anglo-American culture.

However, it’s undeniable that he was a great writer. He wrote realistic, complex characters, and one of his novels (The Growth of the Soil) won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Now, I know you’re thinking that I call him “nut” because his name kind of looks like “nut,” even though it’s not pronounced the same. And I’ll admit, that is part of it.

The main reason I call him “nut,” though, is because he… was kind of crazy.

He supported Nazi Germany.

After World War II ended, Hamsun was placed into an old people’s home, since it was believed that he was mentally impaired. Given that he supported the Nazis, that’s probably a fair belief.

So in a battle between Hamsun and Ibsen, I would have to back Ibsen, because he doesn’t seem as crazy.

Plus nothing can beat that facial hair.

Photo credits: Hamsun picture from http://astridterese.wordpress.com/tag/knut-hamsun/, and Ibsen picture from http://www.mic.no

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