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Pan, From Lieutenant Thomas Glahn's Papers Paperback – 1990

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 27th Printing edition (1990)
  • ASIN: B002VZSPXQ
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,791,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
The only think I regret in "Pan" is that it ends so quickly. A true masterpiece, with love and nature touching everything. A hymn to life, to the North, to women and to the men who are strong enough to leave the path set by society and leave the life they want. How could anyone write so well? In Norwegian must be even better, although this could be hardly believed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Byrd on December 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I can only wish I were clever enough to absorb the full depth of this surprising novel in one reading. Instead, I look forward to revisiting this short work again, to see if my initial impressions hold up or change over time.

The Nobel Prize winning Norwegian author Knut Hamsum published Pan in 1894, though I only found that out after I'd finished. As I was reading it, it had felt as though it belonged to the early to middle part of the 20th century. Regardless, its themes are not restricted to any time or place.

No synopsis can really do this novel justice, since I feel the structure was simply a way for Hamsun to express some deeper psychological states - and I believe the title is the first clue that this is what he was trying to do. Very simply put, it is the story of a man, Lt. Glahn, who spends a summer in a rural part of Norway hunting and communing with the woods, who then becomes enamored of a local girl. The novel is written as though it is Glahn's memoir, recorded two years after the fact and spurred by a gift in the mail. The local girl that he'd fallen in love with, Edvarda, is an adept at the cat and mouse game of infatuation, and by toying with the Lt., events are set in motion that lead him into a kind of psychosis.

The spare descriptions of the characters leave them open for broader interpretations, and I think it was Hamsun's intention that they represent archetype figures. The same is true of the natural scenes that Hamsun's narrator _does_ go out of his way to describe, down to the tiniest aspect. In one sense this may be read as a catalog of the flora and fauna of the region, but in another, it is the landscape of Lt. Glahn's mind, and a clue as to just how disturbed he is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bschwab2@aol.com on January 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
I greatly admired Hamsun's ability to make me taste his chief character's latent self-concept when it is dragged to the surface(and through the mud?) by interest in, competition for, a capricious woman. His spare writing style gave only enough detail to prompt my brain to fill in the emotions from my own reservoir and squirm with unhappy recognition. Wouldn't we all love to think that we are best described by our affections for and from our dog?
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By B Brown on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
In Greek mythology, Pan, the God of wilderness, is depicted as having a human torso and head with a goat's horns, ears and legs. This book centers around the story of one Lieutenant Glahn's sojourn to the Norwegian countryside as he lives in a remote cabin on the edge of the forest. Not much there you might think, but this book is less visible action than of the currents in the mind.
This isn't to say that what does occur is boring-in fact some of the acts are almost overwhelming at the end-but the action, like Hamsun's more famous novel Hunger, ultimately is an inward happening. It is when Glahn falls for local heartthrob Edvarda that the book moves away from its meditative beginnings and into the intensity of feeling found in Hunger. Soon it is this love-embraced, unrequited, and scorned-that consumes everything in the vain, but intensely perceptive Lieutenant Glahn.
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