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Kristin Lavransdatter (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Sigrid Undset , Tiina Nunnally
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2005 Penguin Classics
In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tiina Nunnally’s award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty.

As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty.

With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway’s most beloved author—one of the twentieth century’s most prodigious and engaged literary minds—and, in Nunnally’s exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall.

Product details

  • Paperback: 1144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (1 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143039164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143039167
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.2 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,445 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
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever written? 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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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest book ever written. 29 Jun 2007
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars --A spellbinding mediaeval Norwegian soap-opera 5 April 1999
By A Customer
This three-volume novel translated from Norwegian (Vol I; The Garland; Vol II: The Mistress of Husaby; Vol III: The Cross) follows the fortunes and misfortunes a woman of 14th century Norway who in her youth marries in haste, a handsome and charming rascal; and spends the rest of her life repenting not at leisure, but in the endless and exhausing responsibilities enjoined upon her by her foolish choice--something, alas, too many women can relate to in any century. That said, the three volumes follow her from headstrong youth through responsible maturity, to wise old age. Forced to accept full responsibility for her early mistakes, Kristin struggles with the age-old moral challenges of an unhappily married wife who is also a devoted mother. She strives-- not always successfully--to measure up to a Christian ideal of moral worth, honour and courage. If there is sorrow in this woman's life, there is to temper that the awesome dignity and spiritual nobility attained by one who realized that the greatest work of anyone's existance is the life-long labour of developing a moral compass, a good character and being of service to one's fellow-man. The characters are complex and engaging, the Nobel-prize-winning author's understanding of human nature profound. Though the historical detail is breathtakingly vivid, and the images of Norwegian landscape and culture will haunt the reader ever ater, this work will be remembered less as a historical novel than as a testament to the timeless greatness of the human spirit seeking wisdom and goodness despite adverse circumstances.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars kristin lavransdatter
i read this book as a child in England and wanted to see it again. Considering the age of the paperback,I would say that it is in very good condition.
Published 26 days ago by jacqueline m. key
3.0 out of 5 stars Happy to be able to buy a used version of this book
Not able tu buy this book in english in Denmark
A little more used than i had expected
Everybody who requires a book in another language than danish
Published 5 months ago by Poul Bay Rasmussen
2.0 out of 5 stars This is a poor chick flick!
I don't understand...this is a boring, hackneyed chick flick. All the characters are shallow, the emotions don't get across, most of what is done and said in the book is irrelevant... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Marta Riba Ocaña
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware the translation
This review is for the Archer-Scott translation published by Abacus originally done in 1923 - and it shows! Sadly this turns Undset's work into a stodgy, turgid, cod-medieval mess. Read more
Published on 1 Aug 2011 by Roman Clodia
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the Archer translation if you can
Other reviewers have called this the greatest book ever written, and they could well be right. It's certainly my favourite novel, and stands head and shoulders above any other... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2011 by John Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Epic
I first read Gunnar's Daughter - a shorter "novella", very easy to read, fascinating story and then heard about Kristin Lavransdatter which according to reviewers was going to be... Read more
Published on 13 Sep 2010 by VJolli
2.0 out of 5 stars The impoverished world of Kristin Lavransdatter
I have only read the first part of this, (The Wreath) The prose is accessible and transparent and gets at the kind of nuances you do not expect from a translation. Read more
Published on 7 Sep 2009 by wrinkled weasel
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever written?
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. Read more
Published on 27 May 2008 by Jerz Jurkiewicz
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest book ever written?
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. Read more
Published on 3 July 2007 by Jerz Jurkiewicz
5.0 out of 5 stars Kristin Lavransdatter, for me, is the story of Everywoman.
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. Read more
Published on 3 Feb 2006 by Mr. Rgs Draycott
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