- The Vikings, by Johannes Brondsted, is one of the best written documents about the age of the Vikings, who dominated Europe from 800 to 1100. In the east these Northmen thrust down the great rivers of Russia to the Caspian & the Black Sea. In the west they sailed along the Atlantic coasts, past Arab Spain, thru the Straits of Gibraltar & over the Mediterranean. They reached out across the unknown Atlantic, to Iceland, Greenland & America. The book examines the motives of their voyages and investigates the origin of the people, their industries and equipment, ships, armies, social organization, daily life and religious beliefs as they are reflected in runic inscriptions, burial customs & medieval literature.
- The District Governor’s Daughters by Camilla Collett. By the 19th century, Norwegian writing began to be appreciated by the world. The Governor’s Daughter, published in 1854, became the first modern Norwegian novel. An intricate study of relationships, this novel portrays a bourgeois society in which marriage is a woman’s only salvation, and follows sympathetically the struggles of one intelligent young woman to break out of the mold.
- A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. A masterpiece of theatrical craft which for the first time portrayed the tragic hypocrisy of Victorian middle class marriage on stage. The play ushered in a new social era and “exploded like a bomb into contemporary life”.
- Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. Hedda Gabler, the daughter of a deceased General, marries dull George Tesman and foresees a life of middle class tedium stretching ahead when they return from their honeymoon. Increasingly, she is drawn into the clutches of her admirer, Judge Brack, who seeks to establish a ménage à trois. Then the brilliant but dissolute Eilert Lovborg, a former flame, arrives to rival her husband for an academic post.
- Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen. Among the masterpieces of world literature, this early verse drama by the celebrated Norwegian playwright humorously yet profoundly explores the virtues, vices, and follies common to all humanity — as represented in the person of Peer Gynt, a charming but irresponsible young peasant. Based on Norwegian folklore and Ibsen’s own imaginative inventions, the play relates the roguish life of the worldwandering Peer, who finds wealth and fame — but never happiness — although he is redeemed by love in the end. Like other early Ibsen plays, the work is imbued with poetic mysticism and romanticism, and in Peer we find a rebellious central character in search of an ultimate truth that always seems just out of reach.
- The Fisher Maiden by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. In the long list of works by this author, none is a more authentic isclosure of his idealism, his poetic conception of life, his love of art, and his command of humor, pathos, sentiment, sympathy, and deep feeling than The Fisher Maiden - a fresh, free, deep-seeing interpretation of the temptations, struggles, joys, sorrows, pains, and exaltations of the artistic temperament.
- Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man, but when she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty. With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway’s most beloved author, one of the twentieth century’s most prodigious and engaged literary minds and a story that continues to enthrall.