|From film directed by Liv Ullman|
The novels are a trilogy of books written by Sigrid Undset in the 1920s, Kristin Lavransdatter. I read an early translation (by Charles Archer and J.S. Scott) when I was in my twenties and living in Flint, Michigan with two small children. Reading was my escape, and I remember reading these books while the housework piled up around me. I couldn't put them down, so a few weeks ago I wondered if I would feel the same way about the books.
At first I figured I'd just download them onto my iPad from iBooks, since they would (I foolishly thought) be free as many other classics have been. No, they are EACH full price, so I got a copy from the library. They had two copies on the shelf and I'm now almost finished with the first book.
They are different, but then again, I am different. And it's a new translation! It's been almost fifty years since I last read these books. I found this information on Wikipedia:
A new and complete translation by Tiina Nunnally was released by Penguin Classics in 2005, and is considered by many critics to be the superior of the two, particularly for its clarity, reflective of Undset's "straightforward, almost plain style." For her translation of the third book, Korset (The Cross), Nunnally was awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize in 2001.Hard to say how much of the story I remembered, since they feel brand new to me. There are little pieces of the story that I still recall, but most of all I loved being wrapped in a different time and place, the 14th Century in medieval Norway. Undset won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1928, mostly based on these stories, and Liv Ullman, an actress I have long admired, wrote and directed a Norwegian film in 1995 based on the novels. Also from that Wikipedia link:
Critics gave it a lukewarm reception at best, and many considered it to be more true to the present than to the medieval era in which it was set. However, as it was viewed by as much as two-thirds of the population, it became one of Norway's most domestically successful films: an important cultural event. The release of the film coincided with rising national interest that centered on Norwegian medieval cultural history, and cemented Kristin Lavransdatter and Sigrid Undset as a part of the Norwegian national identity.And now, as I re-read these novels, I am again transported into the world of Long Ago and Far Away. I'm still not sure how I feel about them, but they are a good antidote to the world outside me right now.
Never heard of the series but sounds very interesting. Adding to my must-read list. Thanks!ReplyDelete
I'll check them out as they seem right up my alley!ReplyDelete
huh interesting...have never heard of these...its pretty cool how some books seem new when you pick them up again but these truly sound like they are a bit new...ha...ReplyDelete
Oh, oh, oh! Yes! I read that book (books, mine was all in one volume) as soon as I returned from my trip to Scandinavia. There I visited one of my ancestral villages, Sel, in the Gudbrandsdalen Valley in Norway. My ancestor had a mill in the pine woods just above the valley. At the north end of the valley sits the church and the ancient church yard. In it is a statue of Kristin Lavransdatter. From there we drove over the Dovrefjell, where we saw a musk ox, to Trondheim, much along the same route as Kristin made her pilgrimage.ReplyDelete
Reading that story with the settings fresh in my mind, was an amazing experience. I gave the books to my sisters to read, and they loved them too. Reading Kristin's story was like going back to the day long ago and far away of my ancestors.
My mother said that was one of her favorite books of all time. So far, I haven't read it. I may add it to my list.ReplyDelete
You see them from a different vantage point. As you said you've had more than fifty years of experience since you read them. Yes you will get something different out of them. I have reread some things. I'm terrible at remembering the story.ReplyDelete
Enjoy the trilogy.
This sounds so very interesting, DJan. I'd love to try it once my world settles down. I finally finished all my trip posts which will go up on their own. Now I'm concentrating on the trip album. And THEN... yae... my life will return to normal so I can pick up a book sometime. I've just discovered that I can definitely borrow books from the library on my Kindle. Too amazing.ReplyDelete
Love it when this happens. The stories change as we change. That's the definition of a classic, I think!ReplyDelete
Glad to know you delighted in reading the book again!ReplyDelete
Nice to hear that 'the world of Long Ago and Far Away' still has the power to enthrall. I had not heard of these books or their author either. When my to-read pile is at acceptable levels...ReplyDelete
I can relate. I never used to reread books and now I often do that and am glad for it. Long ago and far away usually finds me in England or Rome. I should look into the land of the Vikings. My Norwiegian mom would appreciate that...:)ReplyDelete
Long ago and Far away seems good to me. I just finished a novel called Completely Restored about a family transported back 100 years..house and all..it was interesting:)ReplyDelete
I love the way you write, Jan...ReplyDelete
I know that you are an avid reader, but I wanted to let you know that you are a writer beyond measure.
Thank you for your blogs...and your friendship.
I've been less than impressed with some of the rereads which first got my attention a few decades earlier but it's still fun to revisit from time to time. We're getting similar weather to yours and reading sounds like a good idea, right now. On to the next blog! ;)ReplyDelete
I've not heard of this series. I am intrigued. I will check it out.ReplyDelete
I haven't seen the movie but I did read the books years ago when I was in college or just after. I really don't remember much about the story but I do remember liking it.ReplyDelete
I have not read the triology DJan, however, it sounds most interesting - my kind of read. Am following TV Series at the moment - Downton Abbey and The Forsyte Saga, which I am quite enjoying. This triology sounds righ up my Alley for a good read over the coming winter months. Very well written Post. Have a great day.ReplyDelete
Yes it is lovely to go back in time. I find I do it more and more these days. One of my favourite books, as I was growing up, was an anthology of Norse fireside tales. I loved it but now I can't remember what it was called nor who wrote it. I would love to find it again. Perhaps one stormy night I will sit down at the computer with Google and see what I can come up with. If only I'd kept that book!!! Your books look very interesting. I think I would enjoy them very much. I have just finished one of Philippa Gregory's books set in Tudor times. I love her books and am ploughing my way (happily) through them.ReplyDelete
Dear DJan, a dear friend of mine up in MInnesota reads and rereads this trilogy. Many years ago, I bought my own copy of the three books in one volume. However, I've never read it. I hope your posting gives me the impetus to do so.ReplyDelete
How is jury duty going????? Well, I hope. Peace.
I may have read this many years ago. I have the movie in my queue--how odd, eh? I moved it up. :)ReplyDelete