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Kristin Lavransdatter (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 1 Oct 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Deluxe Edition edition (1 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143039164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143039167
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 4.6 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) was born in Denmark and raised in Norway. A prolific writer of novels, stories, and essays on subjects ranging from Scandinavian history and literature to the Catholic church and politics, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1928.

Tiina Nunnally is an award-winning translator of Scandinavian fiction and the author of three novels.

Brad Leithauser is the author of several novels, four volumes of poetry, and a collection of essays. He is the Emily Dickinson Lecturer in the Humanities at Mount Holyoke College.

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First Sentence
When the lands and goods of Ivar Gjesling the younger, of Sundbu, were divided after his death in 1306, his lands in Sil of Gudbrandsdal fell to his daughter Ragnfrid and her husband Lavrans Bjogulfson. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jerz Jurkiewicz on 27 May 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I believe so. If you are passionate about books you have got to read this one. Simply read the reviews from others who have read it - they are all five star reviews. I own a bookshop, read prolifically, have a personal collection of about 3000 books but this is by far my favourite. It is unique. It covers the life of Kristin from childhood to her death. The richness of her life as a child, her relationships, especially with her father Lavrans, friends, her husband Erlend and her seven sons are woven within the beliefs, customs, superstitions and folk tales of the Norwegian landscape in the 14th century. The Picador version, which incorporates all three books of the trilogy is in my view the best translation and mine is so worn, being testament to the amount of times I have read the book or just picked it up to read a chapter or two. I am passionate about many books but the magical quality of the text in this saga is so rich it sets this book apart. It is not only a pleasure to read it is so inspiring.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Natalie Andersen on 29 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
Historical fiction is a difficult genre to write in without making it cliched or cheap, Sigrid Undset created a masterpiece with her trilogy which acts as an example of excellence. It is about Kristin Lavransdatter's life from girlhood to womanhood, right up until her death. Undset has melded together the life of the heroine Kristin stunningly with the culture of Medieval Norway. Kristin is a truly remarkable character, she risks her reputation and perhaps her future happiness for love. She almost resembles a modern woman because of her strength and courage. It is an extremly emotional novel which moves me to tears at several parts. I am doing this novel for my dissertation in Advanced Higher english because of its richness in characterisation, the interesting themes of; love, religion, family life, betrayal and the goodness within, and the stunning setting. For any lovers of historical fiction, I would say this is a must read. It far outshines other historical fiction writers like Gregory because of its sympathetic approach to a time of which we know fairly little. Every other historical fiction novel pales into insignificane next to this beautifull trilogy. Immensly detailed and accurate this novel will take you back to medieval Norway to share in Kristin's life.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jun. 1997
Format: Hardcover
The trilogy, Kristin Lavransdatter, tells the story of a Scandanavian woman who lived in the 1400s. The books--The Bridal Wreath, The Mistress of Husaby, and The Cross--were written by Sigrid Undset and won the 1928 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Before I commit to read a book, I have to want to read it. For many years, my younger brother told me I should read Kristin Lavransdatter. My reaction: What is so great about some lady living in the middle of nowhere in the 1400s? Maybe later...on to the bestseller list.

Oops! I had to eat my words and credit little brother with a great pick! Not to mention a total surprise!

This is probably the best set of books I have ever read in a lifelong love affair with the written word. The story chronicles the life of a woman from youth to death. In essence, however, the author touches on the lives of all women who have loved a man or men, borne and reared children, and faced the lighthearted concerns of youth, the cares of everyday adult existence, and, finally, the contemplations of elderly wives, widows, and grandmothers. Kristin's joys and trials are familiar...universal. First, she defies her parents. (Sound familiar?) She makes choices, then lives with the consequences of her choices.

Sometimes the names and terms are confusing; but, ultimately, the story is well worth the effort. Try it! And remember, men, my brother, whose reading tastes revolve around Asimov, engineering, and the Civil War, pushed these volumes rather forcefully into my purview.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Rgs Draycott on 3 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm just now reading Kristin Lavransdatter for the third time, which doesn't count all the times I've picked it up just to read a favourite passage or two. Like the one in which the child Kristin is allowed to go with her father to the mountain saeter, wanders away from the grown-ups who are all slumbering drunkenly, and across a mountain pool catches a glimpse of the elf maiden. Or the journey to Hamar. Or the contrasting deathbed scenes of the three main male characters, Lavrans Bjorgulfson, Simon Andresson and Erlend Nikulausson. Or the last few pages in which Kristin's own life is brought to an end and the cycle finishes. This is an inspiring, haunting, meticulously researched book, capturing the spirit of a particular time and place like no other book I know. To call it a historical novel would be like calling Beethoven's 9th Symphony a nice tune. It's more than that. It seeks to capture the fourteenth century Norwegian psyche, rather than just tell a story about that time and place from from a twentieth century outlook. Hence the preoccupation with religion and superstition, the unquestioning acceptance of so much which we would find unacceptable now (feminists and humanists beware!)
Some have complained about the archaic language of this translation. I believe that a more modern translation is now available, and perhaps I'll read it one of these days. (I have a need to read this book every ten years or so.) But for now I have no problem at all with the language of the old translation. If anything, it adds to the atmosphere and enjoyment.
This trilogy used to be available in a single paperback from Picador Classics. I bought two copies, lent them both to friends, and never got either of them back. This edition is no longer available. Shame on you, Picador!
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