Sunday, March 31, 2024

Fortnightly Book, March 31

 I am running behind on a number of things, so the fortnightly book summary and review for Vida's Christiad will be put up at some point tomorrow. But I did want to get started on the next fortnightly book, which will be The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen & Moe

Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812-1885)and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe (1813-1882) are the Norwegian counterparts of the Grimm brothers; Asbjørnsen & Moe, as their book is usually called, was an attempt to do for Norway something like what Grimm's Fairy Tales (published in 1812) did for Germany. Asbjørnsen started collecting fairy tales and legends when he was in college; he and Moe had become friends as teenagers. By sheer happenstance, while Asbjørnsen was doing his own collecting folktales, he discovered that his old friend Moe was independently doing the same thing. They agreed to share results, and this began a longterm collaboration on the project. Asbjørnsen became a zoologist, which took him up and down the coasts of Norway. Moe became a tutor in Oslo, a position that allowed him to take long trips around Norway, and would eventually become a poet and a Lutheran bishop in the Church of Norway. Their collaborative work, Norwegian Folktales, began to come out in pamphlet installments in 1841; it did well enough that they began putting out slim book installments. The whole collection was completed in 1871.

The particular edition I am using is translated by Tiina Nunnally; this is actually the second translation of hers that has shown up in the fortnightly books; the other was Kristin Lavransdatter.

The Norwegian word for a fairy tale is eventyr, which is one of my favorite words. It's actually related to the English word 'adventure'.


Norske folkeeventyr(1914)-inset.jpg
The cover of the 1914 edition, with illustrations by Theodor Kittlesen; these illustrations became classics in their own right.