Page:Hunger (Hamsun).djvu/11

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PREFATORY NOTE


Ten years ago a little book on "Intellectual Life in the America of To-day" appeared in Norway. The intense individuality of its (it must be admitted often wrong-headed) point of view aroused interest and curiosity as to its author. It was followed shortly by his first novel "Sult" ("Hunger"). It made a great sensation; was as the flash of some strange meteor, holding perhaps a menace to social life, across the firmament. It met with much adverse criticism; indeed, it demanded some courage in those days to declare oneself an admirer of "that dreadful Hamsun!"

There was something mysterious, challenging—something alike magnetic and repellent, in the man's personality, as in his work; something that invoked opposition. He was an unknown quantity in the society and literature of his country. "Hunger" was followed by a course of lectures, in which he beheaded the literary idols of the day (not a few werev