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Growth of the Soil

Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun
By: (1859-1952)

Growth of the Soil (Markens Grøde) is the novel by Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun which won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920. The essential elements of this novel are expressed in the words of the English translator W.W. Worster in his footnote in December 1920: 'It is the life story of a man in the wilds, the genesis and gradual development of a homestead, the unit of humanity, in the unfilled, uncleared tracts that still remain in the Norwegian Highlands. It is an epic of earth; the history of a microcosm. Its dominant note is one of patient strength and simplicity; the mainstay of its working is the tacit, stern, yet loving alliance between Nature and the Man who faces her himself, trusting to himself and her for the physical means of life, and the spiritual contentment with life which she must grant if he be worthy. . .The story is epic in its magnitude, in its calm, steady progress and unhurrying rhythm, in its vast and intimate humanity. The author looks upon his characters with a great, all-tolerant sympathy, aloof yet kindly, as a god.'

First Page:

GROWTH

OF THE

SOIL

Translated from the Norwegian of

KNUT HAMSUN

by W.W. WORSTER

[ORIGINAL TITLE "MARKENS GRØDE"]

1917

Chapter I

The long, long road over the moors and up into the forest who trod it into being first of all? Man, a human being, the first that came here. There was no path before he came. Afterward, some beast or other, following the faint tracks over marsh and moorland, wearing them deeper; after these again some Lapp gained scent of the path, and took that way from field to field, looking to his reindeer. Thus was made the road through the great Almenning the common tracts without an owner; no man's land.

The man comes, walking toward the north. He bears a sack, the first sack, carrying food and some few implements. A strong, coarse fellow, with a red iron beard, and little scars on face and hands; sites of old wounds were they gained in toil or fight? Maybe the man has been in prison, and is looking for a place to hide; or a philosopher, maybe, in search of peace. This or that, he comes; the figure of a man in this great solitude... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 1 review)

Reviewer: - June 8, 2015
Subject: Amazing
I've read a couple of Hamsun's other works - 'Hunger' being one of my all time favourites. This novel really is a thing of beauty. The Narrator does a fantastic job. His pace and delivery fits the tone of novel perfectly.


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