Lie, Jonas (1833–1908) By Krouk, Dean
Jonas Lie was a leading Norwegian novelist during the Scandinavian Modern Breakthrough, a period of literary realism and naturalism spanning 1870 to 1890. His major novels of the 1880s employ impressionistic narrative techniques to portray social changes in the process of modernization, especially regarding the status of women. Although Lie became associated with the Modern Breakthrough movement, he was never fully aligned with its goals. Lie thought that the indirect effects of literary texts were more important than overt socio-political criticism, and this put his impressionistic narrative art at odds with the standard Modern Breakthrough paradigm of critical realism. Lie left Norway in 1878 for a quarter-century abroad in Germany and France. In collaboration with his wife Thomasine, he produced his most important work during this period. Around 1890, Lie turned his artistic eye to darker depths of the psyche and used his longstanding interest in northern legends and lore to explore the irrational. From the turn of the century until his death in 1908, Lie continued to develop these themes, while also returning to the impressionistic domestic interiors of his earlier work.