By Halldór Laxness
This superb novel—which secured for its writer the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature—is ultimately on hand to modern American readers. even though it is decided within the early 20th century, it remembers either Iceland’s medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter. And if Bjartur of Summerhouses, the book’s protagonist, is a normal sheep farmer, his flinty choice to accomplish independence is certainly heroic and, whilst, terrifying and bleakly comic.
Having spent eighteen years in humiliating servitude, Bjartur desires not anything greater than to elevate his flocks unbeholden to any guy. yet Bjartur’s lively daughter desires to stay unbeholden to him. What ensues is a conflict of wills that's through turns harsh and touching, elemental in its emotional depth and intimate in its homely element. substantial in scope and deeply lucrative, Independent People is a masterpiece.
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Extra resources for Independent People
The Good Temptation 4I The temptation is good because by means of it the secret corruption within is exposed, and consequently we are better able to resist the blandishments of less benevolent tempters. In the struggle against sin, no weapon is more effective than a knowledge of the areas likely to be under attack : Thou must be carefull and diligent to finde out the subtilty, devices, and sleights of the devill, by which he doth assault thee very cunningly; for he hath a neere conjecture unto what sinnes thou art most inclined ...
I In Paradise Lost, our sense of time proves as illusory as our sense of space and physicality. Jackson Cope quotes with approval Sigfried Giedion and Joseph Frank, who :find in modern literature a new way of thinking about time : The flow of time which has its literary reflection in the Aristotelian development of an action having beginning, middle and end is ... frozen into the labyrinthine planes of a spatial block which ... can only be perceived by travelling both temporally and physically from point to point, but whose form has neither beginning, middle, end nor center, and must be effectively conceived as a simultaneity of multiple views.
To return to Book r, had Milton asserted the identity of Satan's spear and the tallest pine, he would not only have sacrificed the awe that attends incomprehensibility; he would also have lied, since clearly the personae of his extra-terrestrial drama are not confined within the limitations of our time and space. On the other hand, had he said that the spear is larger than one can imagine, he would have sacrificed the concreteness so necessary to the formulation of an effective image. What he does instead is grant the reader the convenience of concreteness (indeed fill his mind with it) and then tell him that what he sees is not what is there ('there' is never located).