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CHAPTER THE LAST

«We are wanderers across the earth. We wander the highways and byways, sometimes crawling, sometimes standing upright and trampling on each other. Like Daniel, he trod on people and was himself trodden upon.»

1923
2017-04-2613:49 Viktor Håkonsen

Chapter the Last (1923) is set in the Torahus sanatorium, where the sufferings of most of the patients are related to civilisation.

The novel has a group of central characters, but no distinct main character. Among the characters is "The Suicide", who entered the sanatorium following the discovery of his wife’s infidelity and threatens constantly to take his own life. Another guest is the lovely Julie d'Espard. She enters into a relationship with the bogus Count Flemming and get pregnant. When Flemming disappears one day she turns to Daniel Utby, who runs a small farm near Torahus and who represents the novel’s ideological norm.

Chapter the Last is one of Hamsun’s darkest novels. It was written at a time when he was much preoccupied by death. The novel is often compared with Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, which was published the year after.

«Yes we're wanderers on the earth. We wander the roads and the wilderness,sometimes crawling, sometimes standing upright and trampling on each other.»

Front cover, first edition of Siste kapittel (Chapter the Last), published in Samlede verker. Ny utgave 2007–2009 (Collected Works. New edition 2008–2009). Gyldendal Norsk Forlag.