Knut Hamsun's 'Pan'

" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_dbkE5wB5Kaw/RrWND9ughiI/AAAAAAAAAEM/_4c5MCTKreE/s400/Knut_Hamsun.jpg" border="0" /></a></p>

<p>I just finished the best novel I’ve read in a very long time. I am stunned at how beautiful <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knut_Hamsun">Knut Hamsun</a>’s writing is, and cannot believe that he is not a household name in America. He was a very flawed man - like Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, and too many others, he abused his considerable intellectual gifts in support of Nazism, and it is understandable that this removed his right to a full place in the Great Books pantheon.</p>

<p>All the same, however, he is an incredible writer whose work deserves to be a standard on classics lists. <em>Pan </em>was a truly special read, and I am going to read as many of his novels as I can get my hands on. Here are some excerpts to give you a taste:</p>

<p>…</p>

<p>In a big, white-washed house down by the sea, I met someone who for a short while filled my thoughts. She is no longer always in my memory, not now - no, I have quite forgotten her. But I do recall the other things, the cries of the sea birds, the hunting in the forest, my nights, and all the warm hours of the summer. It was in any case by sheer chance that I met her; and had it not been for that chance she would never have lain in my thoughts for a single day.</p>

<p>…</p>

<p>For it is within ourselves that the sources of joy and sorrow lie.</p>

<p>…</p>

<p>There was a boulder outside my hut, a big grey boulder. It always seemed by its expression to be well-disposed towards me; it was as if it saw me as I came past and knew me again. I used to like making my way past this boulder when I went out in the mornings, and it was as though I left a good friend there who would be waiting when I got back.</p>

<p>…</p>

<p>For some days a chill atmosphere of unrest hung over the earth; rotten branches snapped and the crows collected in flocks and squawked. But it was not for long, the sun was near; one morning it rose up behind the forest. A sweet pang strikes through me when the sun comes; I throw my gun on my shoulder in silent rejoicing.</p>

<p>…</p>

<p>I followed every bend, taking my time; there was no hurry and nobody was waiting for me at home. Free as a king I went my way in the peace of the forest, as leisurely as I pleased.</p>

<p>…</p>

<p>Everywhere the sky was open and pure. I gazed into the clear sea and it was as if I lay face to face with the depths of the earth, and as if my beating heart went out to those depths and was at home there.</p>

<hr />

<p><em>More excerpts to come; all of the above beauties were in the first ten pages of the 192 page book. A </em>New Yorker<em> article about Hamsun can be found <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/12/26/051226crat_atlarge">here</a>, and the book can be purchased <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Pan-Knut-Hamsun/dp/1406937932/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0086905-3665754?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1186303891&sr=8-1">here</a>. I give it my highest recommendation.</em></p>

     
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