1897 – 1970
Who was Tarjei Vesaas?
Tarjei Vesaas was a Norwegian poet and novelist. Born in Vinje, Telemark, Vesaas is widely considered to be one of Norway's greatest writers of the twentieth century and perhaps its most important since World War II.
Vesaas spent much of his youth in solitude, seeking comfort and solace in nature. He was guilt-ridden by his refusal to take over the family farm, and this guilt permeates much of his authorship. The destruction he witnessed after World War I made a deep impression on him. He married the writer Halldis Moren Vesaas and moved back to his home district of Vinje in 1934.
His authorship covers almost 50 years, from 1923 to 1970. Written in Nynorsk, his work is characterized by simple, terse, and symbolic prose. His stories are often about simple rural people that undergo a severe psychological drama and who according to critics are described with immense psychological insight. Commonly dealing with themes such as death, guilt, angst, and other deep and intractable human emotions, the Norwegian natural landscape is a prevalent feature in his works. His debut was in 1923 with Children of Humans, but he had his breakthrough in 1934 with The Great Cycle. His mastery of the nynorsk language, landsmål, has contributed to its acceptance as a medium of world class literature.
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