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Folio Archives 95: Pan by Knut Hamsun 1983

Folio Society devotees

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Jan 17, 9:41pm Top

Pan, From Lt. Thomas Glahn’s Papers by Knut Hamsun 1983

This delightful little book is set in northern Norway and was written in 1888, but the novel is set in 1857.

This strange and passionate fictional story revolves around the life of Lt. Glahn as he spends the perpetual daylight hours of a northern summer impressing the local girls, hunting and rambling through the hills. The life of the tiny village in which he is posted is described at a time when Norway was the poorest country in Europe (a far cry from today). Eventually he falls in love with the beautiful and quixotic Edvarda, with whom he has a stormy relationship. The book ends with a mock eulogy for the missing Glahn.

The Pan of the title reflects more “Pantheism” as the natural environment of the dramatic coast is described and explored by Glahn and his hunting dog.

Knut Hamsun was a Nordland native from the Lofoten Islands, who emigrated to the USA, but returned homesick after only two years, and found himself starving for lack of work, which triggered him to write his first novel (“Hunger”), which was well received, and Pan followed soon afterwards. The high point of his life was being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1920, but his subsequent years spiralled down to the point where he supported the Nazis in World War 2 and was indicted for treason.

Only 121 pages long, and 23.2x14.2cm. in its plain grey textured slipcase, the book is bound in grey cloth that is blocked in brown on all sides with a coastal scene. The endpapers are plain brown. The book is translated by James W McFarlane and there is an introduction by Peter Forster. There are six wood engravings by Fredrik Matheson. It cost £8.50 when published.

An index of the other illustrated reviews in the "Folio Archives" series can be viewed here.

Jan 20, 4:26pm Top

I read this book a few months ago Warwick. It was excellent - had a sort of Joseph Conrad feel about it.

Thanks for uploading.

Jan 20, 6:06pm Top


I have this as well

Is this the only Folio by Knut Hamsun ?

Not Hunger ?

I have the Penguin paperback of Hunger translated by Sverre Lyngstad who seems to be the current preferred translater of Hamsun

Some authors seem to go missing at the Folio Society, especially non_English and there seems to be always iissues of translations,at least in the early days where those in the public domain were usually chosen. It does, however, seem better than it was.

Jan 21, 3:34am Top

>3 peto11:
According to the Complete List of FS Publications (https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/Groups:BOOKS_PUBLISHED_BY_THE_FOLIO_SOCI...), this was the only book by Hamsun published by the FS.

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