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Niels Lyhne

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Can you get any closer? Plant flowers and weave wreaths—do you get any closer? View all 3 comments. La vita un poema! Non quando si passa il tempo a poetare sulla vita invece di viverla. Jacobsen, come molti colleghi del secolo, sembra possedere quella conoscenza della natura umana che ce lo rende estremamente caro e che, allo stesso tempo, lo allontana inesorabilmente da noi, figli di due secoli di dubbio e di rifiuto della conoscenza.

La sua esistenza si svolge in un interminabile sogno: Una rosa di delicatissimi personaggi gli fa da contorno: Impressionante vedere quanto Mann ha preso da qua. Recommended to Eliza by: I had never read a danish author before so I was eager to read it. Niels Lyhne is a young Danish man from a rural family. We get to know about him before he was even born, first with his parents and how was their relationship, then we follow him from childhood to adulthood. As time passes, we are living things with him: We also live closely his observations of the world.

A kind of coming of age in the second half of the 19th century. Published in , German poet Reiner Maria Rilke recommended it this was in Letters to a young poet, another great book that M. Niels is a young man who observes, who tries to live and appreciate the world in order to reflect it in his poetry. But things will not be easy and as hapiness will come also the deep sadness will be present in many moments of his life.

Undoubtedly, naturalism and romanticism are very present in Jacobsen's writing and scenery. His writing has high beauty and detail, we have long passages of Lhyne's reflections on what is happening to him. I was very surprised by his personality, his deep atheism and the way of certain dialogues and scenes can leave you breathless.

These are undoubtedly the great moments of the novel, in which there are dialogues of great female characters that are charged with value that reinforce the equality between women and men, as human beings. Although the novel has moments that it can get quite dense, this is compensated with brilliant scenes beautifully written. No doubt everything that happens to Niels is a life full of suffering and learning and however things go, until the last moment, he stands firm in his convictions.

The writing is very beautiful and I can say that it has passages that are worth re-reading and returning to them from time to time. In conclusion, I can recommend Niels Lyhne for everything it represents. Admired by Stefan Sweig another of my favorite writers , It's a novel that is well worth reading and I feel that you can find something more in a reread, something that I will certainly do.

I feel that my review is vague and does not do the book justice, but I hope it will make you go read it soon. Una especie de coming of age en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX.

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Sin duda el naturalismo y el romanticismo impregnan la obra de Jacobsen. Su escritura tiene una belleza y un detalle bastante altos, en los que tenemos largos pasajes sobre las reflexiones de Lhyne sobre lo que le va aconteciendo. Si bien la novela tienen momentos que se puede tornar bastante densa, es compensado con escenas brillantes y llevadas maravillosamente.

La escritura es muy bella y puedo afirmar que tiene pasajes que vale mucho la pena releer y regresar a ellos de cuando en cuando. Jun 25, Liz rated it did not like it Shelves: Written during the naturalism movement Almost no dialogue but overly detailed descriptions and useless musings. I had to fight sleep all the damn time. A whiny character who can't make up his damn mind, lots of pointless occurances, somewhat ridiculous drama.

Almost as bad as the "Metamorphosis" by Kafka. Nov 06, Andrew added it Shelves: At times, you're reading Niels Lyhne, and you're caught up in the romanticism of it-- the unconsummatable romances, the damaged-soul artist-hero, and the lush, hypotactical descriptions of the natural world. But what Jacobsen effects is something far subtler, with one eye winking at a dawning modernism. Let's start with those descriptions.

Baroque in form, precise in biology, they seem like they would be perfectly at home in the weird tales of Lovecraft or the morose ponderings of Sebald. They ar At times, you're reading Niels Lyhne, and you're caught up in the romanticism of it-- the unconsummatable romances, the damaged-soul artist-hero, and the lush, hypotactical descriptions of the natural world.

They are post-romantic, and stand comfortably alongside the works of Kleist in their defiance of categorization. And there is, of course, Lyhne's profound and deeply humanistic atheism. That dear old dickhead C. Hitchens was an admirer of the novel, and it makes total sense. Unlike other writers of the era-- my beloved Russians, especially-- Jacobsen feels no need to reconcile his hero with a greater being. Rather, he has the courage to die alone. Niels Lyhne's death could be read as follows: And that's pretty cool. Jacobsen was, for Rainer Maria Rilke, one of two "inexhaustible" masters he revered.

The other was Rodin. Rilke noted that "every time I want to go on, I find the next, the next higher, the approaching stage of my growth sketched out and already created in [Jacobsen's works and letters]. Jacobsen's Niels Lyhne was a very positive surprise. His nature descriptions are unique, perhaps matched only by those of Turgenev, by whom he was influenced. I was glad to be able to read this in the original Danish, as many of those outstanding passages must be really hard to translate and even to my native Norwegian.

I read in the very useful afterwor J. I read in the very useful afterword in this edition that the particular work by Turgenev that Jacobsen was influenced by for this book was Fathers and Sons , but of course, by combining both of the main characters of that book into one, the result is something entirely different. A scientist by education, Jacobsen translated Darwin's The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man to Danish in the early 's and also introduced Darwin to the larger public through magazine articles before publishing his first novel in So, this is a Bildungsroman of sorts, but being a naturalist Bildungsroman, the protagonist doesn't reach the big moment of clarity or find his bourgeois vocation, he is rather slowly grinded down by life as he sheds illusion after illusion and as he is moved along by unconscious drives and urges, both his own and those of others.

Sigmund Freud wrote to a friend that he was "profoundly moved" by the novel, and Henrik Ibsen thought it among the very finest contemporary contributions in its field. Jun 30, Anna rated it liked it Shelves: He went into raptures about it, actually. Thus it surprised me to find the novel initially rather stolid and difficult to get into. I wonder if this might have something to do with the translation I read? I got a copy from the university library that was published in and translated by Hanna Astrup Larsen.

The style of the translation, which may accurately reflect the original Danish for all I know, is extraordinarily melodramatic to the point of incoherence, like a Victorian moral fable. Rather surprisingly, it is also a paean to atheism, which seems incongruous with the traditional, fussy style. Its end and aim is nothing but a disillusioned humanity. Then you are wiser; but richer, happier? I also liked the wonderfully-named Fennimore, especially her rant in chapter eleven, which included the comment: Take my word for it, there has been some filthy clay used in the shaping of them both.

For the most part I was puzzled by this novel. Perhaps it was the translation, or perhaps it was me. Wood argues that whereas the "new atheists" like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al and fundamentalist Christians are equally guilty of engaging in narrow, literalist approaches to questions of faith, novelists like JPJ provide far more insightful reflections on such questions by exploring the ambiguities of a fluctuating faith that most of us experience.

Essentially, Wood makes the case for power of literature to transcend ideological positions. Life isn't always grand, life isn't always tragic. It isn't always filled with success and it isn't always filled with failure, it isn't right and it isn't wrong. Sometimes, probably a lotta times, life just is, and there's beauty in that.

So while you're striving forward look left and right and stop and appreciate. Don't adhere but don't give in.

Niels Lyhne - Scholar's Choice Edition by Jens Peter Jacobsen

Above all, be natural. That's roughly what I took away from Niels Lyhne.

Disruptions (By Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard)

Niels Lyhne is a book haunted by death. The story follows a young poet, Niels Lyhne who passionately observes the world and the people in his life before he delves into himself, reflecting and dwelling on their motives and nature in order to transfer his thoughts into his writing. His convictions about the world are tested a number of times throughout the novel as he deals with rejection, loss, betrayal and numerous deaths Niels is deeply emotional.

We often see him paralysed and helpless, sick with the feelings and emotions that reach deep within his soul weighing heavily on his mind and forcing him to take indefinite breaks from him work. But he is also rational to an extreme: The words are so powerful, the description so alive that this book doesnt feel like a story but it is the living soul of Niels Lyhne, dripping with passion and emotion and struggling to make sense of the world. Shameful confessions and painful admission honestly and bluntly laid bare.

I wish I read this novel years ago. Lyhne, in assenza di ogni esigenza di ordine materiale, decide di dedicare il suo tempo sovrabbondante a un ozio neanche troppo creativo nel quale una quota assolutamente esagerata di spazio viene occupata da quelle che, con felice anonima sintesi, al giorno d'oggi si qualificano come seghe mentali e mi si perdoni se il termine non viene dalla letteratura specialistica sull'argomento.

Come succede sempre a chi fa delle seghe mentali la propria ragion d'essere anche Lyhne, il protagonista del libro, nel periodo dell'adolescenza e giovinezza trova la sua ragion d'essere nell'innamoramento onanista, quel fenomeno che usa un qualunque oggetto d'amore come proiezione delle proprie insoddisfazioni. In absentia, a volte, allo scopo funzionano pure feticci materiali I pedalini si autoalimentano nel cassetto delle cose pulite e il conto in banca e il prestigio sociale restano sostanzialmente intoccati da qualunque cazzata possiate aver voglia di fare. Si sente infatti, sotto la prosa fluida come uno stoccafisso appeso per l'affumicatura, puzza di pedagogismo luterano.

Storditi dall'atmosfera carica di odore di aringa e povera di ossigeno, rimbambiti dai canti di osanna cantati dall'intera famiglia dopo cena, davanti al camino, seccati da un cielo perennemente plumbeo e dalla digestione delle onnipresenti patate cadete preda di un sonno tormentato da sogni di spiagge esotiche e trasgressioni porcellone.

Tutto sommato un brav'uomo. Anche affascinante quando visto da lontano. Ma basta farci due chiacchere, basta immergersi nuovamente in queste pagine mal scritte, che la palpebra cala e l'entusiasmo sprofonda. Jan 31, Yuna rated it liked it. Hated it during the whole reading. Once finished, I found it not that bad Jan 29, lucille rated it it was ok Shelves: The "Madame Bovary" of North. This Danish novel was once immensely influential: That is reason enough to read it for those interested in literary history, but it is also a superb psychological portrait of a failed artist, written in a style marked by startling imagery and precise emotional analysis as conveyed in Tiina Nunnally's translation published by Penguin Classics.

There are a number of historical -is This Danish novel was once immensely influential: There are a number of historical -isms under which we could categorize Niels Lyhne. In its ruthless portrayal of middle-class life as actually lived behind the mask of bourgeois respectability, it resembles the disillusioning realism of mid-to-late 19th-century writers like Flaubert, Chekhov, and Jacobsen's fellow Scandinavian radical, Ibsen. In its emphasis on the frail body and biological processes leading toward death, coupled with its concluding atheist rhetoric, it is a work of naturalism akin to that of Hardy, Zola, or Crane.

In its plotless evocation of often morbid psychological states and in its focus on the artist as martyr to an uncomprehending society, it is a quintessential proto-modenist psychological novel like those of Dostoevsky, Huysmans, or Hamsun. Such attempts at narrow categorization, though, would miss the larger issue: Jacobsen's novel reflects and hastens the collapse, across a whole range of domains from geology to psychology, of prior forms of order and faith.

Jacobsen, who translated Darwin into Danish and who died young in after a long struggle with tuberculosis, tells the story of a character who tries to live, to love, and to make art when all the ideals that empowered prior generations, from Christianity in religion to Romanticism in literature, have been discredited by the ongoing revelation that a human being is only another animal. Niels Lyhne , in keeping with a Darwinian concern for genealogy, begins with the eponymous hero's parentage: These two parents pull young Niels in two different directions, neither of which will be able to appease his simultaneous need to understanding and to transcend reality.

The author, unlike the hero, gets to have it both ways, though: Of course this was not as clear and definite in [Niels's] childish consciousness as words can express it, but it was all there, unfinished, unborn, in a vague and intangible fetal form. It was like the strange vegetation of the lake bottom, seen through milky ice. Break up the ice or pull what is dimly alive out into the light of words, and the same thing happens—what can now be seen and grasped is, in its clarity, no longer the obscurity that it was. The novel follows Niels from his childhood to the premature end of his life; it is organized around his major relationships, mainly with a series of idealized women along with male friends who act as de-idealizing counterweights and, sometimes, erotic rivals.

While Jacobsen's prose often consists of the abstract notation of psychological states, he is also a writer of memorably vivid and sensory erotic scenes that convey the overwhelming sensuality of even seemingly trivial moments, as here with Niels encounters his older cousin, Edele, who comes to stay with the family shortly before her untimely death from tuberculosis, the first of many such early deaths in the story: Niels went over to it; he was beet-red, and as he bent over those matte-white, gently curving legs and those long, narrow feet that had something of a hand's intelligence in their finely cradled contours, he felt quite faint; when, at the same moment, the tip of one foot curled downward with a sudden movement, he was just about to collapse.

Edele's death brings Niels to his first rebellion against God, the cruel deity who took such a young and beautiful life: He thought with the mind of the conquered, felt with the heart of the defeated, and he understood that if what wins is good, what surrenders is not necessarily bad; and so he took sides, said that his side was better, felt that it was greater, and called the victorious force tyrannical and violent.

His next major relationship is to his an older boy named Erik, another cousin, with whom he enjoys idyllic boyhood escapades that provide a later model of intelligent, realistic play rather than just dreaming fantasy. This relationship, precisely because it is devoid of the erotic as such, proves more satisfying, even if it does not end more happily, than Niels's relationships with women: Of all the emotional relationships in life, is there any more delicate, more noble, and more intense than a boy's deep and yet so totally bashful love for another boy?

When the seemingly un-artistic Erik goes to Copenhagen to pursue sculpture, Niels follows and falls in with the urban demimonde, reflecting on the pleasures and sorrows of bohemia. There he has an abortive love affair with an older and more experienced widow, Fru Boye. Though described as child-like all Niels's love interests are both child-like and resemble his mother in their passionate iconoclasm—obviously a case for Jacobsen's contemporary Freud , Fru Boye speaks eloquently against the lingering Romanticism of Niels's artist friends.


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  • She upholds instead the earthly complexity of Shakespeare: Oh, I know full well that courage is what's missing. Neither artists nor poets have the courage to to acknowledge human beings for what they are—but Shakespeare did. We are forced to fit into the man's ideal. Like Cinderella, chop off a heel and snip off a toe!

    Whatever in us does not match up with his ideal image has to be banished, if not by subjugation then by indifference, by systematic neglect I call that violence against our nature. Fittingly, she dies amid the novel's most visionary and redemptive writing, with an intermittent vision of nature as unity: Then Niels and Erik both fall in love with the same woman, a seemingly guileless teenager named Fennimore.

    Her choice of Erik, her regret for that choice, and her consequent disastrous relationship with Niels brings the novel to its violent emotional climax, and with this climax we realize that every relationship in this narrative will end with either the death of a disappointed rebel or the chastened return of a disappointed rebel to the fold of normative society.

    Fennimore and Gerda - Wikipedia

    Or both at once, as the novel's conclusion proves: Niels at last seemingly finds happiness with another young woman. They marry, have a child, and together espouse atheism and humanism "There is no God and the human being is His prophet," Niels had earlier affirmed , so much so that it shocks their neighbors. Yet at the now-familiar approach of inexorable premature death, can doubt win out over faith? The answer varies by dying character, but Niels himself ends a lonely hero of integrity confronting death in fidelity to the anti-ideal that there is no God, no transcendence, no salvation. That summation and those excerpts should indicate why the novel proved so influential.

    Niels Lyhne had its greatest impact on American literature through its influence on the half-Danish Nella Larsen, whose great novella of the Harlem Renaissance, Quicksand , extends this doleful narrative pattern by applying it to a black woman rather than to a white man, showing that the existential dilemma may be the same, but that it manifests itself differently due to social circumstance and identity. But we should not be as careless as the Twitterati sometimes are when, in unwitting imitation of the white supremacists they claim to fight, they fling around the word "white" so much that they efface variations and hierarchies within the non-unity that was and is Europe.

    What made Scandinavian, Russian, and Irish literature so potent and influential in the late 19th and early 20th centuries like Latin American literature in the late 20th century was precisely its coming from Europe's periphery, from marginal or dominated nations able to look with a critical eye on both the provincial traditions they were struggling to transcend and the metropolitan modernity that often felt forced from above. Niels Lyhne participates in this modernist revolt from the European fringe, so it is no wonder the novel would inspire artists on the fringes of other polities or collectives.

    Niels Lyhne is also admittedly flawed. As Jacobsen's narrative method is mainly descriptive rather than dramatic, it often lacks tension, and its characters' complexity tends to be abstractly asserted rather than vividly depicted. The precondition and the price of this immoderate elevation of the subject is, however, the abandonment of any claim to participate in the shaping of the outside world.

    The novel remains a beautiful yet unreal mixture of voluptuousness and bitterness, sorrow and scorn, but not a unity; a series of images and aspects, but not a life totality. Niels Lyhne may not give us social reality in three dimensions, but it gives us what can be more rewarding to the individual reader: Reading this life story was not an unalloyed pleasure, however. The book is too episodic to be considered a novel. It comes across as a sequence of Jugendstil-ish woodcuts in which the relationships between the protagonist and usually a woman are quasi-allegorically played out.

    That is what makes a reading of this book still worthwhile. Here is a key passage that mirrors the concerns and self-doubts that many of us may have when contemplating the jarring dissonance between a felt assessment of our talents and the worth of our realizations: Once in a while the need to create wells up in him, the longing to see a part of himself set free in a work by him, and for days at a time his being can be tensed with joyous, titanic efforts to mold the clay into his Adam.

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    But he is never able to shape him into a semblance of his image, he does not have enough stamina to maintain the self-discipline that it demands. It make take weeks for him to give up the work, but he does give it up, and irritably asks himself why he should keep on: He has enjoyed the pleasure of creation, the tedium of upbringing remains, to nurse, nurture, and support entirely - why?

    He is no pelican, he says. But whatever he says, he is still ill at ease and feels that he has not done justice to the expectations he has of himself. This must have been a real labor of love. Jul 15, Jacob Wren added it. Jens Peter Jacobsen writes: