Reading Bjørnson’s works entails being confronted with large chunks of text that appear to be coarse, programmatic and unprocessed – in short, they seem like bad literature. Completely disregarding this literature, however, is not very fruitful, even in the context of establishing a literary canon.
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson was born at Kvikne on 8 December 1832, and he died in Paris on 26 April 1910. The year 2010 marks the centennial of his death. Bjørnson was the first Norwegian to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. Through the Norwegian national anthem Ja, vi elsker, his words are still on everybody’s lips.
When Bjørnson accepted the Nobel Prize in Literature in Stockholm in December 1903, he was 71 years old, and perhaps the most famous Norwegian ever – both in Norway and abroad.
Edvard Hoem is a Norwegian author and Bjørnson biographer. When he visited Shanghai in December 2009, he saw a Chinese production of The Newlyweds and gave a talk about Bjørnson’s life and letters.