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Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 1, 1997
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Winner of the 2014 Type Directors Club Communication Design Award
Praise for Kristin Lavransdatter:
“A master…writing in a prose as vigorous, articulate and naturalistic as the novel it re-creates, Tiina Nunnally brilliantly captures a world both remote and strangely familiar.”
–PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize citation
Praise for Penguin Drop Caps:
"[Penguin Drop Caps] convey a sense of nostalgia for the tactility and aesthetic power of a physical book and for a centuries-old tradition of beautiful lettering."
“Vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers…. Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections.”
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"The Penguin Drop Caps series is a great example of the power of design. Why buy these particular classics when there are less expensive, even free editions of Great Expectations? Because they’re beautiful objects. Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische’s fresh approach to the literary classics reduces the design down to typography and color. Each cover is foil-stamped with a cleverly illustrated letterform that reveals an element of the story. Jane Austen’s A (Pride and Prejudice) is formed by opulent peacock feathers and Charlotte Bronte’s B (Jane Eyre) is surrounded by flames. The complete set forms a rainbow spectrum prettier than anything else on your bookshelf."
—Rex Bonomelli, The New York Times
"Classic reads in stunning covers—your book club will be dying."
Original Language: Norwegian
Top Customer Reviews
Oh, and the story is great, too. The timeless problems of forbidden love, children born out of wedlock, and familial conflicts are presented through the eyes of a perfectly ordinary woman: Kristin Lavransdatter. It's been said she was the first perfectly real woman in all literature. In "The Wreath," the reader encounters Kristin's early life to her marriage and the difficult decisions she makes. Nunally writes of Kristin's actions without condemnation, but with compassion. I think this impartiality gives the book more power. THe reader is left to judge Kristin. Also, this is not one of those overwrought books in which every sentence must be analyzed for symbolism. One can read into Kristin Lavransdatter on many levels, but it does not consist wholly of linguistic capering as so many modern novels do. At the very least, it's just a great story with some extremely memorable characters.
Undset was the first woman to win the Nobel prize for literature, and largely because of Archer's *hesitation* LOUSY translations, she's fallen into obscurity in the USA, at least. Hopefully with the advent of Nunally's fresh new translations of Kristin Lavransdatter and Jenny, Undset will once more reappear on the literary landscape.
KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER is a historical soap opera par excellence set in medieval Norway. The headstrong heroine does not always do what is "best" for her by the standards of this quite strict Catholic society, and her love affair with the dashing Erlend Nikulaussøn gets her in plenty of hot water with her family -- not to mention her betrothed, Simon Darre.
I predict this new version will banish the old one to dustbins and library sales once all three volumes are released. And let's hope that Penguin Books will see fit to publish them all together in a handsome clothbound edition.
The Wreath is the first novel in the series, and in it we follow Kristin as she comes of age. She is a passionate girl, and this is the story of her passion. We might want to read the tale as the story of a girl overcoming the obstacles of her era to realize her dreams, but there is more to the story than that. Kristin's romance with Erland Nikulausson creates havoc in all the lives around them. Undset was a convert to Catholicism, and this is a Catholic novel. Kristin finds her true love, yes. But will it bring her true happiness? Undset presents the heroine's plight with sympathy, but she presents the consequences of her choices with honesty. This first novel sets the stage, and in the next two we will follow on Kristin's journey to know herself and the world around her. It's a great novel about a great life.
While Kristin is the focus of the novel, Undset also fully brings to life her family and friends. We meet some great characters along the way. From Arne Gyrdson, Kristin's devoted childhood friend to Fru Aashild, the wise woman who teaches her much about the ways of the world, to Brother Edvin, the saintly monk who offers her spiritual direction, we meet characters that we will long remember. The relationship of Kristin's parents Lavrans and and Rangfrid is especially poignant.
To enter gingerly into the translation wars, I have read both versions. For myself, I prefer this one.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel blew me away. I read this because it was recommended for people going to Norway, and I was expecting something dull. I found myself in a page-turner. Read morePublished 29 days ago by A. Lovett
As David implied, it became part of me too- still in that world and will reread the trilogy again. I read it 25 years ago and on rereading this time am so much more able to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
As described but much more delicate than I had hoped. I. Would not have described as a good reading copy.Published 2 months ago by Mark
Loved the setting of Norway in the 14th Century, the customs, beliefs and the descriptions of the environment. A way of life that is hard to imagine. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cphe
A friend suggested that I read this book because the hero's name is Erlend and our last name is Erlandson. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Doug Erlandson
This trilogy has been on my to-read list for years, but motivating myself to read a 1100-page classic novel isn’t easy. Read morePublished 4 months ago by E. Smiley
If you like historical fiction set in faraway Norway and you enjoy old-style language, you will like this romantic story of a naive girl breaking away from her home. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Head Bookie
Kristin is a wonderful, fully-realized character. The book gives a great picture of medieval Norway. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Patricia Breitzer