He knew he had his greatest following in the city, Kristiania couldn’t do without him, there he was in his element! What did it matter if a couple of readers from Trøndelag or a handful of people from Toten cancelled their subscriptions to his paper? They would be replaced by other readers, people whose deepest political instincts he had touched precisely by the change in his position. Oh yes, he’d ridden out bigger storms than this.
And he quizzed Leporello daily on the city’s attitude towards issues: But what is the city saying? What are they saying in the Grand? (Editor Lynge, 1893)
Kristiania was the name of Norway’s capital city until 1924. Kristiania is the setting of three of Hamsun’s novels – Hunger (1890), Editor Lynge and Shallow Soil (both 1893).
Kristiania represents the big city in his writing, and Hunger especially relates the big city to the idea of modernism. In the two other books Kristiania is used more as a tool in the writing of a polemic novel with easily recognisable characters operating in a familiar environment.
Hamsun had an ambivalent attitude to Kristiania, or Oslo, as the city was called from 1925. Apart from a lengthy stay there between November 1926 and April 1927, when both he and his wife were in psychoanalysis, Knut Hamsun spent only short periods of time in Oslo.