Kristin Lavransdatter - The Cross

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Where once it never rained till after sundown, By eight a.

Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross

This story could have lost a good pages and not suffered for it. These passages run on and on. And we learned in Volume II that Ragnfrid obsessed about her own sinfulness with respect to men as well. Kristin knew of neither of these things, and yet she turned out like her parents in those respects. Kristin was beautiful, and passionate though she hated as fiercely as she loved , kinder to strangers than those she loved, fiercely devoted to her children inasmuch as she was able aside from her self-absorption, and prone to deification first of her father, then of her husband but only after the beloved males in her life had departed.

It was unclear to me why everyone was in love with her, although a number of the characters in this book seemed to be incapable of rational evaluation in the face of physical beauty. Kristin herself was not immune to this fixation on looks. She was arrogant, stubborn as a mule, and prideful, yet obsessed with sin and religious redemption. She was remarkably insensitive to others, no doubt because so much of her mental energy went into seeing things in terms of her own needs and wants.

As far as I could tell, there were two characteristics that drew so many men to her: one, her looks, which apparently she retained even as she grew older; and two, her outward religious piety, which few others could approximate or would even want to do so. Kristin is no one-note character. She is complex, she is passionate, she is at all times a child, and at all times a woman. In fact, Billy Joel has Kristin down pat:. How can you not like Party Guy Erlend?

On the plus side, he had great looks, roguish, boyish charm, loyalty, and the inability to stay angry. Passion in love and war are always appealing, even if vicariously. It makes us feel more alive. Men who could be best friends with each other except for being torn apart by love for a woman is tragic yet secretly appealing. This roller coaster ride of extreme emotional states gives both a piquancy and a poignancy to the evanescence of life, so much more so than the quotidian concerns of daily chores and little errands. Lancelot, Guinevere, and Arthur, a. Erlend, Kristin and Simon. There were 48 nominees for the Nobel Prize in Literature in In these movies Ms.

Riefenstahl played a Wagnerian romantic heroine, in harmony with nature, fearless, and dedicated to fighting evil. It is not unlikely that Undset could have been influenced by these films; certainly the theme of Kristin Lavransdatter touches similar notes. Bergson had the most nominations, but he had a Jewish background. In , Mussolini was already in power in Italy, and Fascist movements were gaining in popularity in Germany, Austria, and Eastern Europe. France and Britain also had a surge in antisemitism although it not expressed by mass movements. Thus, in my mind, the Nobel Prize probably was heavily freighted with political considerations, and did not necessarily relate to quality.

I am amazed how how you stayed with it!! Great post!! Jill, I enjoyed your post even though I hate both Billy Joel and now, one singularly boring trilogy later Sigrid Undset! Thanks for joining us in the readalong, though! I agree — Billy Joel seems to have pegged Kristin perfectly!! Re: the Nobel Prize…had I been on the panel in my vote would have gone to Edith Wharton whose books always blow me away.

Great post, Jill! I like your theories on the Nobel committee. It was certainly a tense, awkward time in European politics, and that would, no doubt, affect things like literary awards, etc. I still have this on my shelf. I enjoyed your analysis of the Nobel Prize. I still want to read it! Amazing how three of us said she needed a good editor. Fabulous post! I have not read this — it looks like a wonderful challenge but man…. Yowza … what a review!! What dedication! What analysis!


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And no way in heck would I read this book. Hahaha… The Billy Joel song is perfect! Excellent post. Thanks for offering up some plausible explanations for the Nobel Prize, etc. Hurray for group reads! Farewell and good riddance! Impressive post — you clearly did a lot of research for this, and your analogies are interesting! Makes me wonder if the fact that Undset focused so much on Christianity in her books is what also spurred the Nobel Prize award.

I did enjoy this read-along in spite of the books themselves, and will probably keep my KL books for at least a while as a souvenier of it Pingback: Reflections projects and readalongs. KL is my favorite novel of all times and I was thrilled to find a readalong devoted to it.

I thought it was a page turner and reread it many times. Which is a struggle that everybody goes through. I liked the GWTW references. I am amazed that people would miss reading this great book because some purported expert gives a bad review.

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How is this a good post?? Also, you seem to ignore that the KL trilogy was published between and years before Riefenstahl became a star. Undset was so outspoken in her denunciation of Nazism that the Norwegian government had her leave the country just before the Nazi invasion.


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I can believe that this legitimately won the Nobel in the s; it was a worldwide best-seller, after all. Kristin is definitely unlikable a lot of the time, and I skimmed more than one of the many religious diatribes and crying jags. But there is so much depth to her psyche, and to other characters like Simon and her parents that I found it fascinating to trace the threads of personality through the thoughts and actions of the main characters over time.

She had so many other paradoxes: willful yet impatient with those who bend easily to her will like Erlend , fiercely devoted to her husband and children, but so prone to anxiety and depression that she feels no joy from her love. Or would she still be the restless and unyielding Kristin we know? It is partly her own headstrong nature that creates so much misery, but it is also the fact that she was a woman in a time and place that put enormous burdens on her: she was socially compromised by her affair with Erlend more than he ever was, and she lives with knowing she humiliated her father.

She was saddled with childbearing from the time she was first married, essentially missing out on her entire twenties, and faces the worries and cares of mothering alone as Erlend displays no interest in this huge aspect of her life and identity. Erlend loves her unwaveringly but distantly, as he avoids the domestic arena, which is her life, as much as possible: how much is her hard-heartedness toward him the cause or the result of this estrangement?

We know that she certainly drives him away with her bitterness. But we also know that Erlend does not take Kristin very seriously as an adult: he writes off her fears and hopes for their future, and she cannot count on him to support her or the children reliably. His flaws are a lot more dangerous in that light. Her faith and loyalty make her quite beautiful to me. Like Murasaki and Dos Passos, Undset tells the story of a whole life.

It is also very probably the noblest work of fiction ever to have been inspired by the Catholic art of life. It is as great and as rich, as simple and as profound, as such a story should be. One of the finest minds in European literature. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer.

Category: Fiction Classics Literary Fiction. Ebook —. Also in The Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy. Also by Sigrid Undset. About Sigrid Undset Sigrid Undset is a major figure in early-twentieth-century literature. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Thomas McGuane. Odessa Stories. Julian Gough. John Larison. The Air You Breathe. Frances de Pontes Peebles. We Went to the Woods. Caite Dolan-Leach. The Romanov Empress.

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Kristin Lavransdatter - Wikipedia

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