From Publishers Weekly
Norwegian writer Undset (1882-1949) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928 for her epic medieval trilogy, Kristin Lavransdatter, which has remained an international classic since its publication. Nevertheless, her earlier work has long been out of print. In his introduction, Page makes a cogent case for reintroducing Jenny, along with two short stories, "Simonsen" and "Thjodolf," and selected letters written between 1900 and 1922. Remarkably, all the texts are unflinchingly modern and realistic in their depictions of women struggling for independence and fulfillment in a male-dominated world. Jenny was first published in 1911, yet this new edition, which restores passages omitted from the 1920 English translation, could easily have been written today. The protagonist, 27-year-old Jenny Winge, is a talented Norwegian painter who journeys to Rome to seek inspiration. She and her friends spend their days pursuing their dreams and their evenings socializing in the city's restaurants. Jenny, unlike her sexually liberal friend Fransiska, vows to keep her virtue intact until she falls in love with fellow Norwegian Helge Gramm. When the relationship sours, a disillusioned Jenny becomes involved with Helge's father, Gert. Jenny ends up destroying her artistic ambition and herself. The writing is direct and dramatic in the brooding Nordic manner whereby mishap and misery are discussed matter-of-factly; the weighty issues Undset examines unrequited love, betrayal and death are infused with a Strindbergian melancholy. Though not all characters escape unscathed, all grapple admirably with life's challenges. (May 15)Forecast: For those who discovered Undset in Nunnally's recent Penguin translation of Kristin Lavransdatter, this will be a must-read. Although perhaps too unembellished and harshly realist to appeal to mainstream American readers, this volume is sure to be chosen by librarians for their collections.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Undset is another example of a writer who was quite popular during her time she won the Nobel prize in 1928 but has since fallen into obscurity. This volume contains Undset's novel Jenny plus the short stories Thjodolf and Simonsen as well as a handful of the Norwegian writer's letters and a scholarly introduction.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.