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Dreamers [Paperback]

Knut Hamsun
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 Sep 2013
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1921 edition. Excerpt: ...think thefe's anything much in being just a God of beasts and mountains. After all, it's us human beings that make Him what He is. So why shouldn't He be with us?" And, having delivered himself of this striking speech, Rolandsen looked extremely pleased with himself. She wondered at him greatly as she walked away. Ho-ho! 'Tw'as not for nothing that the knob of a head he bore on his shoulders had devised a great invention. But now the cognac had come. Rolandsen had carried the keg up from the wharf himself; he went round no back ways with his burden, but carried it openly under his powerful arm in broad daylight--so unafraid was he at heart. And then came a time when Rolandsen found comfort for all distress. And there were nights when he turned out and made himself regent and master of all roads and ways; he cleared them bare, and made them impassable for stranger men from the boats, coming ashore on their lawful errands, in search of petticoats. One Sunday a boat's crew appeared at church, all reasonably drunk. After the service they sauntered up and down the road, instead of going on board; they had a supply of brandy with them, and drank themselves constantly more boisterous, to the annoyance of those passing by. The pastor had come up to reprove them, but without effect; later, the Sheriff himself came up, and he wore a gold-laced cap. Some of them went on board after that, but three of them--Big Ulrik was one--refused to budge. They had come ashore, they said, and were going to let folk know it; as for the girls, they were their girls for now. Ulrik was with them, and Ulrik was a man well known from Lofoten to Finmarken. Come on, then! A number of people from the village had gathered about, farther off along the road or in among...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 34 pages
  • Publisher: TheClassics.us (12 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1230464190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1230464190
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"I read these novels with the gently expanding recognition due only to the
great writers." -- Doris Lessing

"One of the great writers of this century... Hamsun's novels have the
simplicity of total self-possession." -- 'Sunday Times'

"The whole modern school of fiction in the twentieth century stems from
Hamsun." -- Isaac Bashevis Singer

"A rare understanding of human nature comes through, expressed in
a measured, elegiac and lyrical prose."
-- 'Sunday Telegraph' --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Born in 1859, Knut Hamsun's early work were forceful and polemic before he became more compassionate in his later work, drawing inspiration from the country people of his native Norway. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920 for "Growth of the Soil". He has been recognised as one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth centuy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreamy little book 10 Nov 2009
By Sofia
Having never read any Hamsun before I was really taken by this little novel. Easily readable in a day, it focuses on a few characters in a village far in the north. There are some lovely characters: the new and overly pious curate; his wife, a formerly well-to-do lady with no concept of how to run a house; Enoch, the devout little man; the proud housekeeper; Mack, the successful entrepeneur keen to keep up his reputation. Mostly however, 'Dreamers' follows the telegraph office worker, Ove Rolandsen, a man of meagre means who dreams of making his fortune and knows how to spin romantic dreams for all the women around him. This is a charming little book, often funny and full of human frailties and the things people do to keep up appearances or realise their ambitions. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nordic charm 24 Feb 2010
Dreamers (1904) by Nobel prize-winner Knut Hamsun is a light comedy set in an isolated Norwegian fishing community. Essentially it is the tale of Ove Rolandsen, a mercurial telegraph-operator, striving to better his lot. Drunken yet serious, bellicose yet sensitive, Rolandsen is a man of towering contradiction. A lovable rogue with a passion for women and song, his rakish and seemingly impulsive behaviour threaten to be his undoing. However, his timely invention of a revolutionary fish-glue might just save his reputation and win him the love he so ardently desires.

Much of the comedy lies in Rolandsen's tomfoolery and flirtation, but other engaging if somewhat stereotypical characters including a zealous priest and a clumsy housewife bolster this farce. Most remarkable though is Hamsun's acute understanding of the psychology of human behaviour. The interplay between characters is deftly crafted, whilst Rolandsen's internal questioning and analysis of his place in the world is wholly natural. This sensitivity to the ticking of the psyche marks Hamsun as a truly modern forerunner to such authors as Joyce and Woolf.

As in much of Hamsun's work the theme of man's symbiotic union with nature is key. With a narrative starting in spring and reaching through the summer, the growth of plants and development of human feelings go hand in hand. Nordland is a fecund place, where freshly caught herring sparkle and wafts of smoked juniper flavour the air. This sketch of nature in her prime coupled with the author's comic touch is bound to lift even the gloomiest of souls.

Dreamers may not have the psychological gnawing angst of Hamsun's Hunger (1890) or the epic nature of Growth of the Soil (1917), but the lightness and joy radiating from this slight novel are a pleasure indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Night Music 5 Jan 2010
By Pensato
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A deceptively simple tale written in Norway in the early 1900s. The main character Rolandsen is a typical Hamsun protagonist - quixotic, prone to sudden passions and changes of heart, infuriating and compelling.

The book on one level recounts the events during one brief summer in a Norwegian village far in the north of the country. However, what I get from it is Hamsun's concern to express how transient and changeable our feelings are and the difficulty in expressing this authentically in a society that wants individuals to suppress this by being 'polite' and 'respectable'.

A charming book that resonates for me long after its brief 126 page duration.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 9 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great companion piece to 'Victoria' this is another short Hamsun novel revolving around love. Unlike 'Victoria' however this is light-hearted, very funny, and ultimately has a happy ending. Great translation, very readable and well worth seeking out if you are interested in Knut Hamsun. In fact it would make a great starting place if you haven't read his classic books (Hunger, Mysteries, Pan and Victoria).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Hamsun gem of a romantic tale in new translation. 27 Aug 1999
By August747@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Dreamers is another wonderful non-romantic romance involving ordinary people in a small Norweigen village from the master of the genre, Knut Hamsun. However, this new translation is a great dissapointment to me after reading the 1920's Alfred A Knopf edition. Much of the colour & humor are lost in this edition. I would strongly suggest using Amazon's used book search & auctions to find the out of print Alfred A Knopf version as it is a far superior translation to this edition that will bring many more smiles and laughs to the reader.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SMALL VILLAGE CASANOVA TRIUMPHS 6 Feb 2005
By Sesho - Published on Amazon.com
Ove Rolandson is what a modern audience would call a "playa". He goes around flirting with the factory girls, is the sire of a couple of illegitimate children, proposed to Elise Mack, the daughter of the local fish glue magnate, and become engaged to Olga, the sexton's daughter. And he also has an eye on the new curate's wife. As you can see, he has a lot on his plate. He's not quite the smooth operator that he wishes to be though. While working at the telegraph station and getting drunk and picking up chicks seems to be his only pasttimes, he harbors a secret desire to be an inventor and an entrepreneur. He is secretly experimenting on different methods of extracting fish glue from parts that others see as useless, that, if he can get them patented, could make him a competitor of Trader Mack, the boss of the town.

Dreamers is lighter novel than Hamsun usually writes. It's basically a comic work. We have almost-murders, almost-affairs, almost-dirty dealings, but nothing ever brings the book down into the realm of "heavy" literature. It almost feels like a Shakespearean comedy such as Much Ado About Nothing. Nobody gets hurt in the end. At bottom, most of the characters here have a core of goodness that never lets the plot degenerate into tragedy.

This was a good light read. For an example of more intense works by Hamsun, I would check out "Hunger" and "Pan", the latter novel showing how the same elements we find in "Dreamers" can be melded into something more primal and powerful. I would also recommend Shakespeare's comedies such as "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Love's Labor's Lost". Also, check out "Harvest" by Jean Giono for a similar take on a pastoral subject with more intensity.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful, humorous well-crafted novel 12 Jun 2002
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Hamsun is an author everyone should read - his clear and precise language, his ability to pick details that build fully human characters, and his wicked sense of humor all make for reading at its best.
In this novel, a young but ambitious telegraph operator who is a womanizing drunk as well as a clever inventor seeks capital to make his dreams of better, cheaper fish-glue with dye as a byproduct. Along the way one meets the fiancee he can't get rid of, a curate with a hell-fire-brimstone manner and a wife who is spoiled and childish, lay-helpers with hidden hatreds ... a whole village of believable characters acting in very human ways.
This is not a deep, philosophical novel but through the characters' actions there is a sense of hopefulness that overpowers the foibles.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimistic 3 Feb 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
What a delight this little book is! And to think that I expected Hamsun to be either experimental, or to have a heavy writing style so common among classic writers... Snip: (...).
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to Hamsun 18 Sep 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Light as gossamer, beautiful, and surprisingly insightful. Hamsun is a master of the human experience. His simple, visual style disguises a deep understanding of life. Dreamers is short and sweet - a great way to discover a Nobel prize winning author
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