Fascism and Modernist Literature in Norway

Dean Krouk

  • Published: September 2017
  • Subject Listing: Scandinavian Studies; Literary Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 184 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: N / A Europe
  • Series: New Directions in Scandinavian Studies
  • Contents

Fascism and Modernist Literature in Norway illuminates the connections between literature and politics in interwar Europe. Focusing on the works of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Knut Hamsun and modernist poets Asmund Sveen and Rolf Jacobsen, all of whom collaborated with the Nazi regime during the occupation of Norway in World War II, and those of the anti-fascist novelist and critic Sigurd Hoel, Dean Krouk reveals key aspects of the modernist literary imagination in Norway.

In their writings, Hamsun, Sveen, and Jacobsen expressed their discontent with twentieth-century European modernity, which they perceived as overly rationalized or nihilistic. Krouk explains how fascism offered these writers a seductive utopian vision that intersected with the countercultural and avant-garde aspects of their literary works, while Hoel's critical analysis of Nazism extended to a questioning of all patriarchal forms of authority. Krouk's readings of their works serve as a timely reminder to us all of the dangers of fascism.
Dean Krouk is assistant professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"A welcome contribution to fascist studies that uses sophisticated theory to illuminate the profound affinity between developments in Norwegian modernism and currents within Quisling's movement that have so far baffled or been ignored by mainstream historians. Once more a peripheral fascism seems central to our understanding."
-Roger Griffin, author of Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler

"Important for those interested in understanding the intersection of modernism as a literary-cultural movement and fascist movements of all sorts."
-Monika Zagar, author of Knut Hamsun: The Dark Side of Literary Brilliance

1. Norwegian Modernism and Fascist Utopianism
2. Blind Forces of Life: Knut Hamsun's Mysteries
3. Wild Spring: Asmund Sveen's Homoerotic Vitalism and Nazi Collaboration
4. Modernist Ragnarok: Rolf Jacobsen's Poetic and Political Anti- Nihilism
5. Unconscious Nazism: Sigurd Hoel's Psychoanalytic Antifascism