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The Bridal Wreath: Kristin Lavransdatter, Vol.1 (original 1920; edition 1987)

by Sigrid Undset

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965208,958 (4.05)71
Member:mucker28
Title:The Bridal Wreath: Kristin Lavransdatter, Vol.1
Authors:Sigrid Undset
Info:Vintage (1987), Edition: 1st Vintage Books, Paperback, 288 pages
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Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset (1920)

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» See also 71 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I'm glad to see that there's another translation of this book. The tortured syntax of this version can make you think that this was written by Yoda. Years ago, before I had forgotten my Norwegian, I read this in the original. It was a tough go with many, necessarily, archaic words that weren't in my Norwegian/English dictionary. But I remember it as being well written. The trouble with this translation, and the translator isn't even listed on the title page, is that it seems to be straight word for word. "Tenke du ikke", perfectly normal expression in Norwegian becomes "Think you not" no ways normal in English, even if you're going for a Medieval feel. It really becomes a problem in some of the longer passages where you have to stop and untangle the sentences to figure what the character is saying. Hopefully someone gave the anonymous translator some notes before heading into the next volumes.

At this point in the story, it's good but I'm not sure it's Nobel prize material. It seems historically accurate and does well reflect the Norwegian character with it's angst, concern with personal responsibility and love of the natural world. I never got through volume 3 when I was reading it in Norwegian, so I'll have get through the next 2 books. One does have to know how the story ends. No spoilers please, but I bet she dies. ( )
  harryo19 | Jul 26, 2014 |
The very end, and Kristin's increasing doubts, improved the book overall-- but generally, it just felt like another historical romance. ( )
  KatrinkaV | Jun 23, 2014 |
The Wreath is the first volume in the Noble Prize laureate Sigrid Undset's epic Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy and the first volume alone is proof of why she won in 1928.

The first volume tells the story of Kristin Lavransdatter, beginning with her childhood and through to her romance with Erlend Nikulaussøn, an impetuous and charming man. This first novel is a coming-of-age for the heroine; Undset though is able to not only make us sympathise with Kristin but also show us how foolhardy she is in breaking her betrothal so rashly.

Set in mediaeval Norway, Undset re-creates in great detail the daily life of the period, fully immersing the reader in the political, social, and religious customs of the time. Both the central character of Kristin and the others who inhabit this world are excellently realised and through Undset's prose all become relatable and real.

This is an excellent example of historical fiction and reflects Undset's deep knowledge of mediaeval Norway and the Roman Catholic faith so central to both the characters' lives and eventually Undset's own (after her conversion in 1924 - though she was certainly influenced by it even beforehand).

The translation by Tiina Nunnally is very readable and helps bring Undset's prose to life - a vast improvement on the stilted and archaic translations by Charles Archer. In her translation, Nunnally is able to fully capture this world that is so different to ours and yet often so similar. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
Considering the reviews I'd read and how much I often enjoy historical epic, I did not get nearly as invested in this story as I had hoped. I think it could have had a lot to do with the translation; if I decide to read the remainder of the trilogy, I'll try to get my hands on the Penguin edition translated by Nunnally. Even though I was not greatly enamored of Kristin's and Erlend's characters, it was interesting to read a story set in medieval Norway. ( )
  LudieGrace | Dec 4, 2013 |
It took me a while to warm to this book. It is clearly influenced by the Norse sagas, and at the start you are subjected to details of the characters' lineages and details of the historical setting. Whilst the style continues, the subject matter moves to the personal, to follow Kristin through her teenage years and eventual wedding after a battle of wills with her father.

Here it is lifted above a saga clone by the issues faced by Kristin, and the lack of simple answers: her religion and the hypocrisy of some of its leaders; the social expectations upon her as a woman, and of the wealthy class; her sexual feelings. Issues that resonate from the middle ages, through to the 1920s when this was written, and through to today. Despite this interest in theme, it is hard to escape the fact that the book feels rather flat -- it is a statement of facts, and we never really engage with the characters' emotions.

I'm glad to have learned more about this Important milestone in Norwegian literature, but am unsure whether I want to spend the time on the next two volumes. ( )
  rrmmff2000 | Sep 17, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sigrid Undsetprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Archer, CharlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, J. S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Bjorgulfson.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141180412, Paperback)

In Kristin Lavransdatter (1920-1922), Sigrid Undset interweaves political, social, and religious history with the daily aspects of family life to create a colorful, richly detailed tapestry of Norway during the fourteenth-century. The trilogy, however, is more than a journey into the past. Undset's own life—her familiarity with Norse sagas and folklore and with a wide range of medieval literature, her experiences as a daughter, wife, and mother, and her deep religious faith—profoundly influenced her writing. Her grasp of the connections between past and present and of human nature itself, combined with the extraordinary quality of her writing, sets her works far above the genre of "historical novels." This new translation by Tina Nunnally—the first English version since Charles Archer's translation in the 1920s—captures Undset's strengths as a stylist. Nunnally, an award-winning translator, retains the natural dialog and lyrical flow of the original Norwegian, with its echoes of Old Norse legends, while deftly avoiding the stilted language and false archaisms of Archer's translation. In addition, she restores key passages left out of that edition.

Undset's ability to present a meticulously accurate historical portrait without sacrificing the poetry and narrative drive of masterful storytelling was particularly significant in her homeland. Granted independence in 1905 after five hundred years of foreign domination, Norway was eager to reclaim its national history and culture. Kristin Lavransdatter became a touchstone for Undset's contemporaries, and continues to be widely read by Norwegians today. In the more than 75 years since it was first published, it has also become a favorite throughout the world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Originally published in Norwegian in 1920 and set in fourteenth-century Norway, The Wreath chronicles the courtship of a headstrong and passionate young woman and a dangerously charming and impetuous man. Undset re-creates the historical backdrop in vivid detail, immersing readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political undercurrents of the period. Her prose combines the sounds and style of Nordic ballads, European courtly poetry, and religious literature. But the story Undset tells is a modern one; it mirrors post-World War I political and religious anxieties, and introduces a heroine who has long captivated contemporary readers. Defying her parents and stubbornly pursuing her own happiness, Kristin emerges as a woman who not only loves with power and passion but intrepidly confronts her sexuality.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143039164, 0141180412

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