Knut Hamsun

Knut Hamsun (1859 - 1952)

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Knut Hamsun
Born in Lom, Oppland, Norwaymap
Husband of — married 16 May 1898 in Oslo, Norwaymap
Husband of — married 25 Jun 1909 in Oslo, Norwaymap
Died in Grimstad, Hordaland, Norwaymap
Profile last modified 24 Jul 2019 | Created 19 Jul 2019
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Knut Hamsun was a writer and the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920. His work, which spans more than 70 years, includes more than 20 novels, a collection of poetry, short stories, a travelogue, and essays. His most significant works include Hunger (1890), Mysteries (1892) and Pan (1894). Many scholars consider him to be the father of modern fiction writing. His work was held in great esteem by many fellow writers, and artists, including Franz Kafka, Henry Miller, Herman Hesse and Thomas Mann.[1]

He was born as Knut Pedersen on 4 August 1859 in Lom, Gudbrandsdalen, Oppland, Norway, the son of Peder Pedersen and Tora Olsdatter. He was baptized 28 August 1859 at the Lom Church.[2] At the age of six, he appeared in the 1865 Norway census, living with his parents and siblings. His father was a tailor and renting their home.[3] He was confirmed in the Lutheran Faith at the age of 15 at Lom on 4 October 1874.[4] It's interesting that, on both his baptismal record and confirmation record, a priest later wrote in the last name "Hamsun."

In 1882 and 1886, Knut, poor and in need of work, emigrated to the United States, where he was employed in numerous jobs, including a farmhand and a Chicago streetcar conductor. His novel "Hunger" was in part autobiographical, dealing with the issues of poverty, alienation, and desperation.[5] The publication of Hunger, in 1890, met with great success and helped to establish him as one of the most acclaimed authors of his time.

In 1891, Knut was listed in the census of that year, living in a boarding house in Oslo with a number of other people, including another Nobel Prize winner, Sigrid Undset.[6]

On 16 May 1898, in Oslo, Knut was married to his first wife, Bergljo Bassøe Bech.[7] They were the parents of one child, a daughter named Victoria, born 15 August 1902. They were divorced in 1908.

On 25 June 1909, Knut was married to his second wife, Anne Marie Andersen in Oslo.[8] They were the parents of three children: Tore, Arild, and Ellinor.

Knut's actions during World War II, with his support of Hitler and Germany, were extremely controversial, especially after the conclusion of the war. After the war, many Norwegians who had supported Hitler were punished by death or imprisonment; however, Knut was spared this, given his age and mental state. His political stance; however, left a black mark on his legacy.

Knut died 19 February 1952 at Grimstad, Aust-Agder, Norway at the age of 92.[9]

Interest in Knut's work continues to this day. More than 27 of his works have been adapted to the screen, including "Victoria," "Fluen," "Hunger," and "The Last Chapter." His novel, Pan, was adapted three times between 1922 and 1995. [10]


  1. Knut Hamsun on Wikipedia.
  2. Record of the Birth and Baptism of Knut Pedersen. Lom prestekontor, K/L0006: Ministerialbok nr. 6A, 1837-1863, s. 236.
  3. Folketelling 1865 for Hamarøy prestegjeld.
  4. Record of the Confirmation of Knut Hamsun. Lom prestekontor, K/L0007: Ministerialbok nr. 7, 1863-1884, s. 153.
  5. Knut Hamsun Biography on IMDb.
  6. Folketelling 1891 for 0301 Kristiania kjøpstad. He was living in the same household as Sigrid Undset.
  7. Record of the Marriage of Knut Hamsun and Bergljot Bassøe Bech. Johannes prestekontor Kirkebøker, F/Fa/L0006: Ministerialbok nr. 6, 1893-1906, s. 98.
  8. Record of the Marriage of Knut Hamsun and Anne Marie Andersen. Oslo byfogd avd. I, L/Lb/Lbb/L0007: Notarialprotokoll, rekke II: Vigsler, 1907-1911, s. 184b.
  9. Find a Grave Memorial for Knut Hamsun.
  10. Knut Hamsun on IMDb.

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Knut Hamsun
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