Gunnarsson, Gunnar

Gunnarsson, Gunnar

(gü`när gü`närsôn), 1889–1975, Icelandic novelist. Gunnarsson lived abroad until 1939, when he returned to Iceland. Through his early works, written in Danish, he helped interest Europeans in Icelandic culture. Guest the One-eyed (4 vol., 1912–14; tr. 1920) is an Icelandic family saga; Seven Days' Darkness (1920, tr. 1930) concerns the problem of war. The Heath Laments (1940) and Sonata on the Sea (1954) are written in Icelandic. His masterpiece, the semiautobiographical Church on the Mountain (5 vol., 1923–28), illustrates his rich imagination and poetic skill. It was partly translated as Ships in the Sky (1938) and The Night and the Dream (1938). Among his later works that have been translated into English is Black Cliffs (1967).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gunnarsson, Gunnar


Born May 18, 1889, in Val-thjófsstadur. Icelandic author.

Gunnarsson, who writes in both Icelandic and Danish, is a representative of neoromanticism in Icelandic literature. At age 18, Gunnarsson went to Denmark (he returned to Iceland in 1939). In Denmark he published his first novel, The History of a Family From Borg (1912–14). During World War I (1914–18), Gunnarsson tried to save his faith in “goodness” and “humanity” by turning to abstract morality (the novels The Outcast, 1916, and Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit, 1920). The theme of the five-volume autobiographical novel The Church on the Mountain (1923–28) is the simple life that is close to nature and is the only defense against the contradictions of the age. Gunnarsson is the author of a cycle of novels on historical themes, including The Sworn Brothers (1918), The Black Bird (1929), Jón Arason (1930), Vikivaki (1932), The Grief of the Wilderness (1940), and Requiem Mass (1952). In 1954 he wrote Sonata of the Sea, a psychological story about fishermen.


Skáldverk, vols. 1–7. Reykjavik, 1960.
In Russian translation:
Syn. In Rasskazy skandinavskikh pisatelei. Moscow, 1957.


Andresson, K. Sovremennaia islandskaia literatura. Moscow, 1957.
Arvidsson, S. Gunnar Gunnarsson islänningen. Stockholm, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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