Kristin Lavransdatter: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
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The turbulent historical masterpiece of Norway’s literary master
In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tiina Nunnally’s award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty.
As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty.
With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway’s most beloved author—one of the twentieth century’s most prodigious and engaged literary minds—and, in Nunnally’s exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall.
This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition includes an introduction by Brad Leithauser. The deluxe edition features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
faces toward the burning church. A light wind was blowing from the southeast. The fire was firmly entrenched in the north wall; on the west side the entrance was already blocked. But it had not yet seized the south side or the apse. Kristin and the women from Jørundgaard entered the churchyard south of the church, at a place where the gate had collapsed. The tremendous red blaze lit up the grove north of the church and the area where posts had been erected for tying up the horses. No one could
ribald sagas until the men were roaring with laughter and her mother and the maids would shake their heads and giggle. Ulvhild and Astrid would sing. Ragnfrid had the loveliest voice of all, but they had to plead before they could get her to sing. Lavrans didn’t need such persuasion—and he could play his harp so beautifully. Then Ulvhild would put down her distaff and spindle and press her hands behind her hips. “Is your back tired now, little Ulvhild?” asked her father, taking her onto his
you, Erlend—if on the whole round disk of this earth he had not one servant who was pure and unmarked by sin, and if in his holy Church there was not a single priest who was more faithful and worthy than I am, miserable betrayer of the Lord that I am, then the Lord’s commandments and laws are what we can learn from this. His Word cannot be defiled by the mouth of an impure priest; it can only burn and consume our own lips—although perhaps you can’t understand this. But you know as well as I,
has shown he is capable of other things—your husband has won a good name for himself through courage and swiftness in battle. It’s no small benefit for your sons that their father has acquired a reputation for his boldness and skill with weapons. That he is . . . incautious . . . you must realize this better than anyone. It would be best for you to redeem your shame by honoring and helping the husband whom you yourself have chosen.” Kristin was bending forward, with her head in her hands. Now
pressure her so much, but give her a little more time to regain her composure before they celebrated the betrothal ale. She had said that she would like to go to a cloister for a while. Simon sat up suddenly and gave a long whistle. “You don’t care for the idea?” asked Lavrans. “Oh, yes, yes,” replied the other man hastily. “This seems to be the best counsel, dear father-in-law. Send her to the sisters in Oslo for a year; then she’ll learn how people talk about each other out in the world. I