Love is God’s first word, the first thought that sailed through his mind. When he said: Let there by light! there was love. And he was well-pleased with what he had made, nor did he wish any of it unmade. And love was the world’s origin and the world’s ruler; but all its ways are filled with flowers and blood, flowers and blood. (Victoria, 1898)
Love is a recurring theme in Knut Hamsun’s writing, both the love between people, and the love of nature.
There are nuances in the types of love described. Descriptions of asymmetrical relationships occur often, with the lower social status of the male character creating difficulties. This is the case in Victoria – a novel sometimes described as a ”hymn of praise to love ".
But Hamsun also describes the erotic relationship of equals whose differing values are what keep them apart from one another for shorter or longer periods.
Love of children is another recurring theme in Hamsun’s writing, and in several novels, for example The Last Joy (1912), motherhood is offered as the only thing of any real meaning. In On Overgrown Paths (1949) Hamsun describes love of one’s country, a theme he addresses elsewhere in both short stories and articles.