The history of Hamsun

August 4, 1859: Knut Hamsun was born on Garmostræde, in Lom, as Knud Pedersen, no. 4 of the six children of the tailor Peder Skultbakken from Vågå in Gudbrandsdalen, who in 1852 had married Tørøe Olsdatter.

1862: Peder Skultbakken and his family emigrated to the North Country, where they endure conditions of extreme poverty in the village “Hamsund” at Hamarøy.

1868-1873: To help Knud’s parents, a pietistic uncle took Knud in care. Here he teaches him with his hard hand to write and read.

1873: After passing his first school Knut Hamsun is confirmed. Then he begins to take different types of work. He is employed as a merchant’s apprentice in Tranoy, then working on the quay in Bodø where he drags coal sacks. He is also an postman helps, shoemaker’s apprentice in 1976, teacher and toastmaster.

1877: “The Gaatefulde ‘. A love history of Nordland is printed in Tromsø.

1878: “A Gjensyn ‘epic poem, and” Bjørger’ is published.

Winter 1879-1880: He stays in Christiania, now Oslo, where he experienced extreme hunger and poverty.

Feb. 1881-October 1884: The first travel to the United States. He’s at different places in America, including Wisconsin, Minnesota where he works on the prairie farms.

Nov. 1884: He comes back to Norway. Sick and weak installs himself in Valdres where he gets well. He writes articles in various newspapers and makes conferences and speeches. He is experiencing a new period of hunger and poverty in Christiania.

Fall 1886: He takes off the second time to the US and stays in Minneapolis and works in Chicago as a train conductor.

1888: Hamsun returns to Scandinavia and stays for a while in Copenhagen. In the Danish magazine New Earth he publishes the first part of the novel “Hunger”.

1889: He publishes a long article: “From the modern America’s intellectual life”, in which he strongly propagandizing against the US outlook and -moral and against Emerson and Whitman. He also publishes other material, in which he challenges the great Norwegian writers, which he considers untalented. Including Lars Oftedal.

1890. Hunger is published as a complete work. The work is Knut Hamsun’s breakthrough as a writer.

1891-1892: He makes a tour with conferences in the cultivated Norway, where he is also attacking Ibsen and Johannes V. Jensen.

1892: Mysteries published.

1893: Editor Lynge, romantic book against the journalistic condition, that Hamsun despises.

1894: Hamsun publishes the novel Pan.

1898: Hamsun marries Bergljot Bech (separated in 1906). Under the influence of a violent infatuation he writes ‘Victoria‘, perhaps his greatest love novel. He travels to Finland where he is spending a year

1899: Travel to Russia, most of the Caucasus and in Turkey. He publishes travel diaries of this in 1903.

1900: Coming to Copenhagen in March, and travel to Hamarøy, where he labors with ‘monk-facing’. In autumn Hamsun returns to Christiania.

1901: Stays in Christiania (Oslo), Aas and Copenhagen. Works on the papers from the orient travel.

1902: The daughter Victoria is born. “Munken Vendt” is published.

1903: Stay on the island. He publishes “I Æventyrland”, “Kratskog” and “Queen Tamara”. A Hamsun bust is made by Gustav Vigeland.

1904: The collection of poems “Wild Choir” and “Sværmere” is released, along with articles in Forposten. Hamsun get a Houens scholarship. Stay in Copenhagen and the island. Meets with Johannes V. Jensen.

1905: Builds a house and settles in Drøbak. Participates in the union struggle with articles and poems. Publisher short story collection “Warring life”.

1906: Divorces Bjerglot. Hamsun lives at the hotel “The View”, and labors with the first “wandering books”.

1907: Hamsun’s father dies. Writes lecture: “Honor the young”. In summer he stays in Kongsberg. “Under høststjærnen” is published, together with Hamsun’s collected works in 5 volumes.

1908: Hamsun marries Marie Andersen from Elverum, actress. They have 4 children. His “Letter to Marie” has been released after his death. He also writes in this period on his wandering trilogy.

1913: With the trilogy and Benoni-Rosa Hamsun stigmatizes modernism and gives open respect and nostalgia for the old Norway and its values.

1917: He publishes “Growth of the Soil”, a book with strong anti-modernist themes.

1920: Hamsun receives the Nobel Prize in Literature for “Growth of the Soil”.

Winter 1926: Hamsun goes into psychotherapy in Oslo.

1930-1936: Hamsun August trilogy is written. In 1936 hew writes his last book “Closed Ring”. Hamsun from now on lives an isolated life at the Nørholm estate.

June 1943: Hamsun represents Norway at a press conference in Vienna. Hamsun is at this time deaf and half-blind, but has consistently advocated support for the Germans (as during World War 1). He expresses testimony against the Norwegian resistance strength, and is disappointed the King’s escape from Norway. Knut Hamsun is also among the Norwegians, who with his letters and inquiries, have released most Norwegians from German prisons.

June 26, 1943: Hamsun meets with Adolf Hitler, where he criticizes the German Terboven’s management of Norway. He argues openly with Hitler. Hitler is furious and stops the meeting.

May 7, 1945: Hamsun wrote an obituary on the occasion of Hitler’s death.

Starting 26 May 1945: Hamsun is assigned to Nørholm.

June 14, 1945: Hamsun being forcibly removed to Grimstad hospital and charged with treason. Even Hamsun says that he wants to be imprisoned or dismissed immediately. Marie Hamsun is being charged with Nazi propaganda. Hamsun is even to be tested mentally and become after a grueling stay in a psychiatric hospital discharged with the diagnosis: “Not crazy, but with permanently weakened soul abilities’. Hamsun himself says that he got the weakened ability from the stay at the psychiatric clinic.

From September 2, 1945: Hamsun admitted to nursery home in Landvik.

December 1947: Hamsun reads his defense in court in Grimstad.

1948: The Hamsun dismissed for membership of the NS, but ruined completely by a claim of 575,000 former Norwegian kroner.

1949 Hamsun publishes “On overgrown Paths”.

February 19, 1952: Knut Hamsun dies on Nørholm. Marie moves Knut Hamsun’s pillow, and he tells her: ‘Leave it be Marie, I’ll die now’.