Hamsun, Knut (1859–1952) By Krouk, Dean
Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun’s novels anticipated modernist psychological fiction and influenced a generation of major European figures. Winner of the 1920 Nobel Prize in literature, Hamsun wrote over thirty works in various genres, including both experimental modernist and neorealist novels. In the final decades of his life, Hamsun became a Nazi sympathizer during the German occupation of Norway, which has complicated his literary legacy.
Hamsun was born as Knut Pedersen in central Norway in 1859, but moved to the coastal north of the country while very young. He grew up with little formal education, writing his first works of imaginative fiction in the late 1870s. Hamsun made two extended stays in the USA in the 1880s, when he worked on farms and gave lectures about contemporary European and Scandinavian literature.