Halldór Kiljan Laxness

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Laxness, Halldór Kiljan

 

(pseudonym of H. GuDTilde-jonsson). Born Apr. 23, 1902, in Reykjavik. Icelandic writer. Son of a road foreman.

Laxness began his literary career with the romantic novella Child of Nature (1919). He published the philosophical novel The Great Weaver From Kashmir in 1927. His stay in the USA and Canada (1928–29) brought Laxness into contact with socialist ideas; their influence is felt in the collection of sketches The Book of the People (1929). The realistic novel Salka Valka (vols. 1–2, 1931–32; Russian translation, 1959), described the first steps of the Icelandic workers’ movement. The theme of Independent People (vols. 1–2,1934–35; Russian translation, 1954) is the tragic struggle of a poor peasant for land and human dignity. The tetralogy Olafur Ljósvíkingur (1937–40; Russian translation, Light of the World, 1969) lyrically recounts the fate of a poet in bourgeois society.

Impressions of the USSR formed the basis of two books of travel notes, Road to the East (1933) and Russian Fairy Tale (1938). In the historical trilogy The Bell of Iceland (1943–46) and the satirical novel Atomic Station (1948; Russian translation, 1954), Laxness set forth the problems of Iceland’s national independence and the struggle with fascism. Laxness condemned war in Happy Warriors (1952; Russian translation, Gerpla, a separate chapter published in 1957). The novels Brekkukotsannáll (1957; Russian translation, 1958) and Paradise Won (1960) depict the search for genuinely human values.

Laxness also wrote plays—for example, Song of a Pipe (1961), The Sun Workshop (1962), and Banquet of Roast Pigeons (1966) —that reflect his search for new (conventional) forms to express moral and ethical problems.

Laxness’ artistic approach organically combines pathos and irony, profound psychological insight, subtle lyricism, humor, and the influence of the epic style of the Icelandic sagas. A book of essays and reminiscences, Hidden Places, was published in 1971. Laxness’ humanism, formed under the influence of socialist ideas, and his criticism of bourgeois society are sometimes interwoven with thoughts about the limitations of human capabilities.

Laxness is a member of the International Peace Council and chairman of the Iceland-USSR Society (1950). He was awarded the International Peace Prize (1953) and the Nobel Prize (1955).

WORKS

Kristni hald undir jõkli. Reykjavik, 1968.

Innansveitarkrõnika. Reykjavik, 1970.

In Russian translation:

Liria. Moscow, 1955.

Prodannaia kolybel’naia. Moscow, 1955. [Rasskazy.] In Rasskazy skandinavskikh pisatelei Moscow, 1957.

Milaia freken i gospodskii dom. Moscow, 1961.

REFERENCES

Andresson, K. Sovremennaia islandskaia literatura, 1918–1948. Moscow, 1957.
Fadeev, A. “O Khaldore Laksnesse.” In Za tridtsat’ let, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1959.
Shatkov, G. “Gumanizm Laksnessa.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1958, no. 6.
Shatkov, G. “Samostoiatel’nye liudi i islandskie rodovye sagi.” In the collection Genezis sotsialisticheskogo realizma i literatura stran Zapada. Moscow, 1965.
Neustroev, V. P. “Islandskaia literatura.” In Istoriia zarubezhnoi literatury posle Oktiabr’skoi revoliutsii, part 1. [Moscow] 1969.
Krymova, N., and A. Pogodin. Khaldor Laksness. Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1970.
Hallberg, P. Den Store vävaren. Stockholm, 1954.
Hallberg, P. Skaldens hus. Stockholm, 1956.
Eskeland, I. Halldór Kiljan Laxness: Menneske og motiv. Oslo, 1955.
Khaldor Kil’ian Laksness: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1963.

AMRNI JOHANSON BERGMAN [Iceland; 14–359–3]

References in periodicals archive ?
For this his seventh volume of short fiction he was awarded the Halldor Laxness Literary Prize and the prestigious Icelandic Literary Prize as well.
Iceland's Halldor Laxness won a Nobel prize, for example, and he isn't exactly one of the twentieth century's major authors.
But while competent writers, both of fiction and poetry, have grown in number, none has yet managed to soar so far above the others as to lay a legitimate claim to the mantle of Halldor Laxness, who died last year.
At the front of Landi> handan fjarskans (The Land Beyond Distance), a novel awarded the Halldor Laxness Literary Prize in 1997, is a kind of dedication that states: "Fond thanks to Grandaunt Olof, that delightful lady who kept alive the stories of her great-grandmother, Gossamer Olof, an unwed mother of a child by an excellent man who longed for peace and fled war.
Halldor Laxness, Icelandic novelist and 1955 Nobel laureate, near Reykjavik, 8 February, age 95.