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Olav Duun

Olav Duun

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Olav Duun was a noteworthy author of Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 fiction. He is generally recognized to be one of the more outstanding writers in Norwegian literature. He once lacked only one vote to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

.

Background


Duun was born on Jøa
Jøa
Jøa is an island in the municipality of Fosnes in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. The island lies on the south side of the Foldafjord between the mainland and the island of Otterøya. The island is partially forested with the southern part being flat and marshy and the northern part being more...

 an island in the Namsen Fjord in Fosnes
Fosnes
Fosnes is a municipality in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Namdalen region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Dun on the island of Jøa. Other villages include Salsnes and Nufsfjord.-General information:...

 municipality, Nord-Trøndelag
Nord-Trøndelag
is a county constituting the northern part of Trøndelag in Norway. As of 2010, the county had 131,555 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth-least populated county. The largest municipalities are Stjørdal, Steinkjer—the county seat, Levanger, Namsos and Verdal, all with between 21,000 and...

 county, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

  to Johannes Antonius Duun and Ellen (Fossum) Duun. Olav Duun was born Ole Johannesen Raaby. Duun was the oldest in a family of eight siblings. During his years as a boy his family lived at several farms on the island, the last one being Duun. He adopted the last name Duun when he left the island to start his training as a teacher.

He attended the state school at Trøndelag
Trøndelag
Trøndelag is the name of a geographical region in the central part of Norway, consisting of the two counties Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag. The region is, together with Møre og Romsdal, part of a larger...

. In 1901, Duun took a position as a school teacher iat Levanger
Levanger
Levanger is a town and municipality in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Innherred region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Levanger...

 in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. He completed the graduate teacher examination in 1904. In 1908, he was hired by the Ramberg school at Botne
Botne
Botne is a former municipality in Vestfold county, Norway.The parish of Botne was established as a municipality January 1, 1838 . According to the 1835 census the municipality had a population of 1,600. In 1942 a part of Botne with 148 inhabitants was moved to Holmestrand, and in 1947 a part with 8...

 in Vestfold
Vestfold
is a county in Norway, bordering Buskerud and Telemark. The county administration is in Tønsberg.Vestfold is located west of the Oslofjord, as the name indicates. It includes many smaller, but well-known towns in Norway, such as Larvik, Sandefjord, Tønsberg and Horten. The river Numedalslågen runs...

, where he combined teaching profession with writing poetry. He worked as a teacher in Holmestrand
Holmestrand
is a city and municipality in Vestfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Holmestrad. The city was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . The neighboring rural municipality of Botne was merged into the municipality of Holmestrand on 1 January...

 on the Oslo Fjord until 1927. At the age of fifty, he retired in order to devote his time to writing.

Career


Duun was known as one of the outstanding writers of 20th-century Norwegian fiction. He stands as a remarkable synthesis of the Norwegian folk spirit and the European cultural form. Duun wrote in Landsmål
Landsmål
Landsmål, meaning "language of the land/country", was the name Ivar Aasen gave the Norwegian orthography he created in the 19th century. In 1885 it was adopted as an official language in Norway alongside Danish. In 1929, Landsmål was renamed Nynorsk...

, an amalgam of peasant dialects that developed into Nynorsk
Nynorsk
Nynorsk or New Norwegian is one of two official written standards for the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. The standard language was created by Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian alternative to the Danish language which was commonly written in Norway at the...

, one of the official languages of Norway. In the period 1907-38 he published 25 novels, four short story collections ("sagas" was his own genre term) and two children's books. Many of his books incorporate the dialects of his subjects: peasants, fishermen and farmers. His novels analyze the psychological and spiritual characteristics of rural, peasant life. Contact with family traditions is a strength for the heroes in his historical novels, and awareness of those who have lived before, and the strength of their actions can help modern people through crises.

The most notable works are his six volume , The People of Juvik
The People of Juvik
The People of Juvik is a series of six historical novels by Norwegian author Olav Duun. The books chronicle the lives of the Juvikings, an old Norwegian landowning peasant family living in the Namdal valley...

, which deals with four generations of a family of peasant landowners. This work was translated into English and published as: The Trough of the Waves (1930), The Blind Man (1931), The Big Wedding (1932), Odin in Fairyland (1932), Odin Grows Up (1934) and Storm (1935).

Olav and Emma Duun's House


Olav and Emma Duun's House (Olav og Emma Duuns Hus) is the former residence of Olav Duun and his wife Emma. The house is located at 20 Olav Duun Street, in the community Ramberg in Holmestrand
Holmestrand
is a city and municipality in Vestfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Holmestrad. The city was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . The neighboring rural municipality of Botne was merged into the municipality of Holmestrand on 1 January...

. There is a library containing manuscripts, letters, and other things related to the writing career of Olav Duun. The first floor is at the disposal of recipients of the Duun Scholarship. In the garden, a memorial park has been constructed containing commemorative rocks with lyrical quotes from Olav Duun’s poems.

Awards

  • 1934 - Gyldendal's Endowment
    Gyldendal's Endowment
    Gyldendal's Endowment was a literature prize which was awarded in the period 1934–1995 by the Norwegian publisher Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. The prize was awarded to significant authors, regardless of which publisher the author was associated with...

     (initial award of this prize)
  • 1935 - Henrik Steffens Prize
    Henrik Steffens
    Henrik Steffens , was a Norwegian-born Danish philosopher, scientist, and poet.He was born at Stavanger, Norway. At the age of fourteen he went with his parents to Copenhagen, where he studied theology and natural science...

    (initial award of this prize)

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