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By: (1882-1949)

Jenny Winge is a Norwegian expatriate studying art in Rome, part of a Bohemian group of friends who explore the ancient City in an intoxicating passion for Beauty. Yearning for an immortal Love, she allows herself to fall into less-than-ideal romantic relationships and then has to struggle with all her might to recover her independence. Constantly resisting conformity, she demands absolute freedom for herself while always being tempted to fall back into the comfortable ruts of provincial domesticity. A profound psychological study of the social Outsider, the person who “sees through” the shallow façades of human social convention, this novel might also be seen as an early fictional exploration of the existentialist insistence on individual choice in all its terrifying responsibility. Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset, most famous for her later epic “Kristin Lavransdatter,” published this dark, remarkable, psychologically-dense novel in 1911, when the author was the same age as her protagonist and experiencing many of the same existential choices.

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