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Growth of the Soil

by Knut Hamsun

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H. G. Wells
Growth of the Soil impresses me as among the very greatest novels I have ever read. It is wholly beautiful; it is saturated with wisdom and humor and tenderness.

Growth of the Soil impresses me as among the very greatest novels I have ever read. It is wholly beautiful; it is saturated with wisdom and humor and tenderness.”
—H. G. Wells

“The whole modern school of fiction in the twentieth century stems from Hamsun.”
—Isaac Bashevis Singer

Book Description
The epic novel of man and nature that won its author the Nobel Prize in Literature—the first new English translation since the novel’s original publication ninety years ago

When it was first published in 1917, Growth of the Soil was immediately recognized as a masterpiece. Ninety years later it remains a transporting literary experience. In the story of Isak, who leaves his village to clear a homestead and raise a family amid the untilled tracts of the Norwegian back country, Knut Hamsun evokes the elemental bond between humans and the land. Newly translated by the acclaimed Hamsun scholar Sverre Lyngstad, Hamsun’s novel is a work of preternatural calm, stern beauty, and biblical power—and the crowning achievement of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.

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Now, if Isak had wanted to show his displeasure with Oline and maybe thrash her for her doings, here was his chance--a Heaven-sent chance to do that thing. They were alone in the house; the children had gone after the men when they went. Isak stood there in the middle of the room, and Oline was sitting by the stove. Isak cleared his throat once or twice, just to show that he was ready to say something if he pleased. But he said nothing. That was his strength of soul. What, did he not know the number of his goats as he knew the fingers on his hands--was the woman mad?

From the Inside Flap
The story of an elemental existence in rural Norway.

About the Author
Knut Hamsun (1859–1952) won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920.
Sverre Lyngstad has translated Hamsun’s other novels for Penguin Classics and is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and comparative literature at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Brad Leithauser is a MacArthur Prize–winning novelist, poet, and critic who writes frequently about Nordic literature and teaches at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.



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