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the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “There is a strong link between the centre’s architecture and the author it has been built to portray,” says Børset, continuing: “Holl spent a lot of time getting to know Hamsun and his works before starting to sketch. He also spent time here in his hometown, to get a feel for where Hamsun came from and the conditions that influenced his books. His knowledge and understanding of Hamsun is palpable in each nook and corner of the centre – it shows contrast and tension, it engages people’s opinions and views, and never really blends in – just like Hamsun’s characters.” A great author – the life, the works, the controversies It is this experience visitors to The Hamsun Centre can indulge in today. The centre displays a permanent exhibition of the life, works, breadth and ingenuity of the commended, and sometimes controversial, writer. The exhibition is divided into several themes that allow you to immerse yourself into whatever part of Hamsun’s legacy you find the most interesting: whether it is his childhood and adolescent life, political engagement or his widely celebrated works such as Hunger, Pan, Mysteries, and the Nobel Prize-winning novel Growth of the Soil. The more controversial aspects of the author’s life are also examined, providing a foundation for debate and discus-
sion on topics such as democracy, openness and freedom of speech. “We know that Hamsun was and is celebrated for his pioneering modernist works, but his controversial political views have also been openly condemned. These topics will always provide us with things to talk about, and we find it important to keep investing time in these discussions,” says Børset. The authenticity of Hamsun’s self Your immersion into Hamsun’s existence need not end at The Hamsun Centre, however, as an important location nearby represents an unrivalled closeness to who this remarkable man and writer was. Firstly, Knut Hamsun’s childhood home, is open to visitors during the summertime, offering yet another location for reflection on a great author’s life’s journey. “Such simple conditions defined his childhood and youth,” says Børset, musing: “You can only ask yourself: how did this little boy, who at a very young age decided to become an author, come to this idea? His parents were smallholders, and yet, his ultimate goal was to go out into the world and write of its characters. This is what he then did, relentless in his conviction. It’s impossible to come much closer to the authenticity of Hamsun’s self.”
other venture: an Artists in Residence venture located at Breidablikk, a nearby trading farm with panoramic views, where Hamsun used to buy his daily necessities. Here, young creatives will be invited to draw inspiration from the same area as the great author, and thus bring forth his unwavering dedication to his craft to new generations. “We’re very excited about this project,” says Børset, “it will allow young, new artists of all kinds to ‘become Hamsun’ in their own chosen way.”
For more information, please visit: hamsunsenteret.no
The Hamsun Centre recently decided to bring on Hamsun’s legacy through yet an-
Issue 75 | April 2015 | 73
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with moviemaking legend Lasse Hallström.