Industrialization and the problems posed by the rapid development process are among the fundamental themes of contemporary literature. Works of social criticism were written by Johan Falkberget (1879-1967), Oscar Braaten (1881-1939) and Kristofer Uppdal (1878-1961). They find their best source of inspiration in the epic tale of a village setting and in the exaltation of the humble Olav Duun (1876-1939), than in the novels The Juvik Saga (1918-23) and The Man and the Powers (1938) addressed the problem of good and evil and man’s struggles with destiny, and Johan Bojer (1872-1959), who gave a vivid description of the life of fishermen in The Last Viking (1921). If the theme of migration dominated in the works of the twenties of the century. XX, in the following decades there was a clear pre-eminence of the struggle against the German occupation. In Encounter at the milestone (1947), Sigurd Hoel (1890-1960) wanted to give a psychological explanation of Nazism; Sigurd Evensmo (1912-1978) in Ship for England presented a vivid description of the secret work against the occupying forces; Nordhal Grieg (1902-1943) urged his compatriots to fight against the Germans; Tarjei Vesaas (1897-1970) addressed the theme of Nazism in a symbolic key in The house in the dark (1945); in other works Vesaas dealt with the Freudian theme of the subconscious. This was followed by Arthur Omre (1887-1967) and Johan Borgen (1902-1979).
The riksmål, who seemed to have lost ground with Tarjei Vesaas and other vernacular writers, was repeatedly defended by Ernulf Øverland (1889-1968), who in skinny lines Bread and Wine (1919) exposed the delusions of mankind after the great war and in Tables of the Law (1929) he tried to establish the moral norms that should guide man and protect his freedom. Since the 1950s, poetic modernism has asserted itself in Norway, with its main exponents in Paal Brekke (1923-1993) and Stein Mehren (b. 1935), both later released from their belonging to the aforementioned movement, affirming their creative autonomy. Stein Mehren continued his poetic research in the following decades, outside any literary current, confirming himself with his collections L’eclissi e la sua luce (1986) and Perso nel mondo. Canto (1988) and Nattsol (1992), which deals with issues of an existential nature, one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Norwegian opera. Visit thenailmythology.com for Norway landmarks.
Alongside his are the names of Rolf Jacobsen (1907-1994) and the younger Jan Erik Vold (b.1939), who exercised his wit in the social satire of Ikke (1993) and Kalenderdikt (1995). The realistic component and the traditional structure firmly resist in the fiction of the Sixties, while not lacking in fantastic deviations and with the constant attention to both formal values and psychological deepening by the authors trained in the previous decade, such as Terje Stigen (n. 1922), Kaare Holt (1916-1997), Finn Carling (b.1925). Realism and documentarism, expressions of the social and political commitment that represents the fundamental tone of these years, are deepened thanks to authors such as Dag Solstad (b.1941), Espen Haavardsholm (b.1945) and Tor Obrestad (b. 1938). Starting from the rejection of modernist experimentalism and through the faith in a literature of which the people were both the object and the recipient, they later demonstrated a greater openness and a different awareness of formal values, while remaining points of reference in every literature. militant also for the painful analyzes of existential problems linked to political commitment. In the context of the problem of bilingualism, the attention to linguistic experimentation acquires a different and deeper meaning in the works of writers in Neo-Norwegian, such as Einar Økland (b.1940) and Kjartan Fløgstad (b.1944), author of novels where the social criticism is entrusted to an acrobatic fantasy and a taste for literary parody (Dalen Portland, 1977;, 1986), or like Edvard Hoem (b. 1949), whose novels exalt the values of small peasant and fishing communities against the threats of the “oil civilization” which has profoundly changed the face of Norwegian society (Anna Lena, 1971; Ave Eva, 1987). In the overabundance of production that has characterized literature since the 1970s, making it difficult to accurately follow the different developments, the path followed by women’s literature is highlighted. After the great militant wave, many writers have turned to issues related to psychology and social life. The role of standard-bearer remains with Bjorg Vik (b. 1935), whose work Two acts for five women (1970) was one of the major theatrical successes of the seventies, and which later found its stylistic originality in the resigned tone of the short stories collected in Una handful of nostalgia (1979) or Soon it will fall (1982).
Greater crudeness of language and aggression in addressing the central themes of the feminist debate can be found in the works of Tove Nielsen (b.1954) and Liv Koltzov (b.1945), whose reinterpretation of the Ibsenian Casa di Bambola, Corri, uomo (1980), achieved renewed success with Who has your face? (1988). A tormented search for identity through language, so often denied to women, justifies the antirealistic choice of Cecile Løveid (b.1951), while the most successful writer of the Eighties, Herbjørg Wassmo (b.1942) appears more linked to traditional modules in the psychologically effective description of the harsh reality experienced by the residents of Northern Norway. In 1986 he received the Literary Prize of the Nordic Council. Among his novels, often centered on the condition of abused women and children in Nordic societies, is his Trilogy of Tora (La veranda cieca, 1981; La stanza muta, 1983; Cielo a nudo, 1986). Many of the central themes in the seventies, from feminism to ecology, were taken up by Knut Faldbakken (b.1941), a skilled and controversial successful author, in whose work the polemical vein is intertwined with the parody (Honeymoon, 1983; Bad Vintage, 1974-76). In the late Eighties, alongside the persistent interest in national and regional settings, there is an opening to international literatures in which the real-fantastic of South American derivation has had a decisive responsibility. In addition to the aforementioned Fløgstad, new forms of novel are attempted by Tor Åge Bringsvjærd (b. 1939). The fantastic, this time in the form of surreal deformations, is also present in the novel La grande fiaba by Jan Kjærstad (b. 1953) in which Norway is transformed into an absurd tropical island. The panorama of Norwegian fiction in the first half of the nineties was marked by the demonstrations of creative longevity of authors born in the early decades of the twentieth century and trained in the fifties or sixties. This is the case of the aforementioned novelists T. Stigen and F. Carling: the first published the moving Treskjæreren Johannes in 1990, in which he describes the confrontation between a Jewish concentration camp survivor and the former Nazi officer responsible for the death of his wife and of his daughter, and Allegretto (1995), the story of the last weeks of the life of a middle-aged teacher. The second, after dealing with the challenging issue of death in Antilopens Øyne (1992), returned to approach her by reproducing, in Dagbok til en død (1993), the diary kept by a woman for her deceased husband. On the other hand, Carling dedicated his subsequent Matadorens hånd (1996) to the art of writing. Among the younger authors, the aforementioned Jan Kyærstad, who demonstrated these characteristics in Rand (1991) and Forføren (1993), confirmed the position of pre-eminence acquired thanks to stylistic elegance and the intelligent use of irony. while the writer Tove Nielsen continued her analysis of the female universe in Lystreise (1995). Feminine universe that also examines Johannes Heggland (b. 1919), dedicating a series of four novels to a notable figure of woman, Karjana (the first volume of the tetralogy is entitled to her, which ended in 1992 with Det Stutte). Lastly, a leading figure is Jostein Gaarder (b. 1952), author above all of children’s books, who with Sofies verden (1991; The world of Sofia) has achieved great success in many countries. Through the eyes of the girl protagonist of the novel, the writer talks about history and philosophy, as happens with the big questions of life in Elisabeth’s Journey. (1999). And always to the children Gaarder entrusts the task of questioning themselves about the meaning of existence, about the evolution of the species, about friendship in Is there anyone? (2001), on illness and death in In a mirror, in an enigma (2001). Always designed for children and young people are the popular science books by Eirik Newth (n. 1964). Other authors of contemporary Norwegian literature now translated into several languages are Erik Fosnes Hansen (b.1965) and Lars Saabye Christensen (b.1953), who together with Nikolaj Frobenius (b.1965) and Erlend Loe (b.1969) wrote several screenplays as well, while specialized in the detective genre are Kim Småge (b.1945), Unni Lindell (b.1957) and Karen Fossum (b.1954) (The look of a stranger, 1996, Amatissima Poona, 2000), considered the best Norwegian writer in the field of psychological thriller.