Back to this Norwegian

Hamsun, a largely self-schooled wanderer upon many rough roads, who visited America twice in the 1880s (deciding that we were a failure as a culture and a country)

Seeing what material is out there on his novel named after the god Pan. Glad this doesn’t happen in real life

To say these two lovers ruin each other is only to begin to sum up the harm they do.

It’s good that things like that only happen in books, huh?

Forgetting about that, between 1820 and 1920 about 900,000 Norwegians emigrated to the US. Most of them stayed. Hamsun lived in this town dump of a country in the 1880s for four years and decided to return to Europe, and he even wrote a book about why he hated it so much here. So, this is like a lesser known version of Tocqueville, except more vitriolic.

We were a magnet for this kind of person and it’s just gotten to be too much

America, the Apotheosis of the Philistines, the Confusion and Despair of Statesmen, the Mecca to which every religious and social charlatan goes

We reached our maximum limit and now it’s imploding. It’s like how Cantor, musing on the works of Twain, remarked that the American Dream was being misused by con-artists already only a century after its founding.

This is what he found here

no noble Souls

This can really go wrong

they left, as is well known, their homeland, because they wanted to live as free men in a free country

Hamsun wasn’t just some random immigrant. He won a nobel prize in 1920. He’s forgotten because of his politics.

He wrote in a letter he’d never be able to return to America after the publication of this book, and later in life he refused to allow it to be republished. This is a rare historical case. A future eminent man of letters thinking he’d find freedom in this place, only to be bitterly disappointed and return to his homeland.

I wonder if any of my ancestors read Hamsun

account of the unsophisticated nature of a country so many Scandinavians had emigrated to in earlier decades.

We need to go back!

The sad thing is that there were debates in Scandinavia during this time in the late 19th century as to whether they should Americanize–and they eventually did.

Whoa, that Mitchell Heisman might have been on to something

the Civil War as a war by northern capitalists against aristocrats 

This is too blinding to look at for most

This is the only time I’ve seen this confirmed outside of the work of Heisman, who is buried, and one of the most controversial genealogists of the 21st century. Leave it to Hamsun. He says the Civil War wasn’t for the emancipation of blacks, it was for the extermination of the aristocracy. Emancipation of the white blacks in other words.

And the rest is history

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