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A Happy Boy

  • Date Submitted: 02/17/2011 03:03 AM
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xA Happy Boy Björnstjerne Björnson
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction, Vol. XX, Part 2.
Selected by Charles William Eliot

Copyright © 2001 Bartleby.com, Inc.

Bibliographic Record

Biographical Note Criticisms and Interpretations I. By Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen II. By W. D. Howells Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI Chapter VII Chapter VIII Chapter IX Chapter X Chapter XI Chapter XII

Biographical Note
THE LIFE of Björnstjerne Björnson was so full and active, and involves to such a degree the intellectual and political history of his country in the second half of the nineteenth century, that it is impossible in a short sketch to do more than indicate its main outlines.

He was born, the son of a pastor, in Kvikne, Osterdal, Norway, on December 8, 1832, but his youth was spent mainly in the picturesque district of Romsdal. He was educated in Molde and Christiania, and early began a career as a journalist and dramatic critic. His first book of importance was “Synnöve Solbakken” (1857), and it was followed by “Arne,” “A Happy Boy” (1860), and “The Fisher Maiden.” These works deal with the Norwegian peasant, portrayed with understanding and sympathy, and, though true to nature, have an idyllic quality which separates them from much of the fiction of rural life that was being written elsewhere in Europe at that time. Meantime he was also experimenting in drama, and in a series of plays beginning with “Between the Battles” in 1855 and culminating in the trilogy of “Sigurd the Bastard” in 1862, he sought to develop national feeling on another side by reviving the heroic life of the old sagas. After acting as director of the theatre at Bergen for two years, and editing a Christiania newspaper for a short time, Björnson traveled through Europe from 1860 to 1863; and on his return he assumed the directorship of the Christiania theater, where he brought out with great success his “Mary Stuart in Scotland,” and a modern...


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