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VICTORIA

«The miller’s son walked along, thinking. He was a well-built lad of fourteen, tanned from the sun and the wind and brimming with ideas. When he grew up he would be a matchstick maker. It would be so deliciously dangerous, he would have sulphur on his fingers and no-one would dare to shake his hand. His friends would hold him in high esteem on account of his creepy trade.»

1898
2017-04-2613:02 Viktor Håkonsen

Victoria (1898) is Hamsun’s "hymn of praise to love".

Ever since childhood Johannes, the miller’s son, has been in love with Victoria, the local squire’s daughter. Johannes goes to the city to study and there he also has his first literary efforts published. In the meantime, however, the squire has run into financial difficulties, and to rescue her father Victoria gets engaged to Otto, son of an affluent court official. Eventually, and after a great many complications, there seems to be a chance that Johannes and Victoria will get each other after all. But the novel ends in tragedy with Victoria dying of tuberculosis at the age of 23.

The simple story uses sophisticated narrative techniques and lyrical language, and the novel has been called a masterpiece of European impressionism.

Front cover of Victoria, 2005. Photo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag.