Thursday, April 20, 2006

Forgotten Catholic Writer

Sigrid Undset (1882-1949) Nobel Prize 1928

Nowadays Undset’s name means little or nothing to that dwindling number of Catholics and others who still read. That is a great pity, as she has a number of interesting things to say and says them well. It is not inexplicable, however, for she writes with a serious, humane, intelligent and objective realism that went out of fashion in the trendy and superficially liberal and modish decades we have just lived through. Although she won the Nobel prize in 1928 and attracted a massive readership in English translation during her lifetime and immediately after her death in 1949, the centenary of her birth, 1982, went virtually unmarked in the English-speaking countries. It is time to look at her work again, and the aim of this modest essay is to encourage those who care about a sensitive and imaginative but clear-sighted and rational Catholic view of “man, the heart of man and human life” to read her novels and essays in the way they deserve. Her books were eliminated from libraries and bookshops in Germany in 1936 and in her native Norway in 1940. That is an honor. Our neglect of them is our loss..." More...