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Sigrid Undset
Norwegian novelist who won the 1928 Nobel Prize for Literature
(1882-1949)



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The sun was shining but it had rained hard during the night so the streams were splashing and singing everywhere on the hillsides, and wisps of fog drifted below the mountain slopes. But above the crests, white fair-weather clouds climbed into the blue sky, and Lavrans and his men said it was going to be a hot day later on.
-- Kristin Lavransdatter (vol. I) (1920), translated by Tiina Nunnally

She understood not herself why she was not glad - it was as though she had lain and wept beneath a warm covering, and now must get up in the cold. A month went by - then two, now she was sure that she had been spared this ill-hap - and, empty and chill of soul, she felt yet unhappier than before. In her heart there dawned a little bitterness toward Erlend. Advent drew near, and she had heard neither from or of him; she knew not where he was.
-- Kristin Lavransdatter (vol. I) (1920)

Helge whispered aloud to the city of his dreams, whose streets his feet had never trod and whose buildings concealed not one familiar soul: 'Rome, Rome, eternal Rome.' And he grew shy before his own lonely being, and afraid, because he was deeply moved, although he knew that no one was there watching him. All the same, he turned around and hurried down toward the Spanish Steps.
-- Jenny (1911)

The erotic life, the problem common to the two sexes, which constitutes the centre of Sigrid Undset's psychological interest, is found again, almost without modifications, in her historical novels. In this respect, objections naturally come to mind. In medieval documents, the feminist question is not known; one never finds hints of the inner personal life which later was to raise this question. The historian, demanding proofs, has the right to note this discrepancy. But the historian's claim is not absolute; the poet has at least an equal right to express himself when he relies on a solid and intuitive knowledge of the human soul.
-- Presentation speech delivered by Per Hallström, Chairman of the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1928) to Sigrid Undset

I write more readily than speak and I am especially reluctant to talk about myself.
-- Acceptance speech for her Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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