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Shyness and Dignity

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  441 ratings  ·  45 reviews
An Ibsen scholar falls desperately out of society—publication coinciding with Ibsen's 100th anniversary celebrations

In front of him, twenty-nine young men and women about the age of eighteen who looked at him and returned his greeting. He asked them to take out their school edition of The Wild Duck. He was once more struck by their hostile attitude toward him. But it could
Paperback, 150 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Graywolf Press (first published 1994)
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While struggling to open his umbrella in the school yard where he teaches, Elias Rukla bursts into a rant, berates a female student who is looking at him in amazement, and then lunges at a group of students with his broken umbrella. In that single, dreadful moment, Rukla realizes his teaching career is finished, there would be no going back to the life he has known, and that he has now "fallen out of society, quite simply." Dag Solstad's brilliant novel tells the story of a "socially aware indiv ...more
Um professor de norueguês no ensino secundário, com mais de 50 anos, um pouco alcoólico, irremediavelmente preso a uma triste rotina, casado com uma mulher que já foi "indescritivelmente bela" e a quem já pouco mais diz do que "tem um bom dia".
O dia em que atinge o limite, em que se desmoronam todas as ilusões e apenas sobra a solidão.
"É terrível, mas não há caminho de volta."
MJ Nicholls
A bunch of so-so ideas barely stapled together in novel-form. Elias Rukla (fore- and surname used throughout the whole novel) is a teacher who has a moment of realisation about a peripheral character in Ibsen’s The Wild Duck. His pupils couldn’t give a hoot, and he smashes an umbrella to bits in the playground as a kind of rebellion.

Flashback, then, to his time at university, his friendship with an eminent philosopher, and his subsequent marriage to an “indescribably beautiful” woman, who is des
Luís Miguel
Engenhoso, bastante mesmo. Apesar de ser um livro pequeno, conta a história de um professor de Norueguês do ensino secundário que, ao analisar a obra de Ibsen “O Pato Selvagem”, desencadeia nesse dia uma serie de acontecimentos e reminiscências sobre a sua vida. Solstad descreve muito bem parte do que é ser professor, sendo esse o trecho que mais me cativou e não deixará indiferente quem sabe o que é leccionar. Esta novela sobre o dia decisivo de Elias Rukla encerra um universo que gradualmente ...more
An element of intranslatability in the title: Dignity is translated from Norw 'verdighet', which isn't wrong, but in the Norw there's an additional subtext of value ('verdi'), or -- more to the point -- value-ness. So there's a sense in which the title alludes to shyness and value-ness, the sense that existence has been assigned value(s), which makes it appear more contingent than the English assumes.
William Cane
This is Kafka leaping into the 21st century with plenty of Beckett thrown into the mix; a brilliant tour de force that brings pastiche and pathos to a new high.
João Carlos
NOTA PRÉVIA: “Pudor E Dignidade” do escritor norueguês Dag Solstad é um livro que deve ser lido por todos os professores do ensino secundário com alunos de mais ou menos 18 anos.

Elias Rukla é um “professor cinquentão, ligeiramente alcoólico, com uma mulher que engordara uns quilos a mais e com quem tomava o pequeno-almoço todas as manhãs."
Numa rotina exasperante ensina na Escola Secundária de Fagerborg há 25 anos a alunos de 18 anos literatura norueguesa, dedicando especial atenção a Henrik Ibs
Kniha o ničem, respektive o středoškolským učiteli v Oslu (v Oslu.. lol - nevyčerpatelná studnice vtipů, Norové sou srandovní), kterej se jednoho dne tak nasere, že před svejma stundetama na školním dvoře rozmrdá deštník. Deštník v oslu. Lol.

Proč ho rozmrdá? Protože mu dojde, ze mu je 50 něco a že život je k hovnu. Jeho přidaná hodnota společnosti je 0, parchanti neposlouchaj, národ čumí na komerční televizi, ve sborovně sou hlavní témata hypotéky a jeho stará stárne a tučnatí. A jemu tak po več
A moving, poignant novel with an unusual style - like a work of music based on a man's interior life. The protagonist, Dr. Elias Rukla is a thoughtful man, a rather humble teacher of Norwegian literature who feels sure that his work is valuable to society, until suddenly he perceives a change - in his students, in society, among his fellow teachers - that leaves him feeling profoundly alienated. Unable to go on, he melts down on the school playground, beating his poor hapless umbrella to shreds ...more
This novel has an existential mood which reminds me of Sartre's Nausea. Elias Rukla was awaken one day and start contemplating his life.

I could feel a different closeness with this novel as I live in Norway, having been to the places mentioned in it, or having experienced being a student in the University of Oslo. The setting was pretty much involving the life of students in a Norwegian context. I could also relate to the boredom Elias felt in his mundane everyday life of stable Norway. And his
Lukáš Palán
Každé souvětí této knihy je delší než knížky Barbory Nesvatbový, takže tímto tuto knihu rozhodně nedoporučuji těm dvěma ženským, který dělají na Flóře v pekárně. Kromě toho je to ovšem kniha velmi dobrá. Dá se číst jak na záchodě (odzkoušeno doma i u rodičů), tak i v pokoji či kuchyni. Moc se mi také líbilo, že vydavatel zvolil bílý papír a černé písmo = text je velmi dobře čitelný. Co se týče děje, tak tady bych trochu vytknul, že kniha vůbec neobsahuje sex, tanky, výbuchy a ani jedním slovem s ...more
Harry Rutherford
A short, introspective novel about a literature teacher in a Norwegian secondary school; he has an unexpectedly emotional reaction to an apparently trivial moment in a lesson, and it triggers off an examination of his life story.

The portrayal of his interior life seemed nuanced and persuasive, and the book does a good job of establishing one set of ideas about who this man is, and then unexpectedly showing him to us in a new light. It's well done and rather touching.
thoroughly enjoyed this, it's beautifully put and I glided through it, guided thoughtfully by the insight and stylistic brocade of the author, the author's style being rather metronomic and his melancholy spirit altogether poignant to me, the reader, on account of us, the protagonist and the reader both, sharing the very same limitations in our souls. he tries, how he tries. it won the sympathy I ordinarily reserve for myself.
My first real taste of Scandinavian literature and a pretty bleak from start to finish. Might be written to deter would be teachers. It is a strangely touching portrait of a man breaking down in his fifties ranting about modern culture and education. For me, in the end it is just a little bit too despairing and lacking in narrative drive.
If this book wasn't so thin (about 130 pages), I would not finished it. The story was a lot of thinking back, too many thoughts of not so many things. It was also the largest collection I have seen of long sentences, the longest were almost one page long! No chapters or pauses, just a long continuous text. This was not in my taste.
Jul 31, 2008 Elise rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who enjoy feeling depressed
Recommended to Elise by: my mother!
It was solely due to wanting to be able to post this on GR that I finished this cotton picking book. I had to drag myself kicking and screaming through the final ten pages. It was agony. Okay, the guy can write, but what a miserable wretched book. And did I mention, boring, repetitive, and incredibly depressing?
Although this novel is only 150 pages it is not an easy read. The first third of the novel is basically critique of a scene from Ibsen's 'Wild Duck'. More specifically the lesson revolves round the minor character Dr Relling and his function within the play.

This critique takes the form of a lesson by Elias Rukla, Senior Master of Norwegian Literature teaching a class of bored 19 year-old students. This section is a mixture of interior and exterior monlogue with Rukla discussing 'The Wild Duck'
Julie Burnett
This book grabbed me from the very beginning. I enjoyed it.
The author really captured what can be some people's journey through growing older and lost dreams.
Rode Skullerud
Couldn't figure out how to give a novel less than one star...a much needed missing option for this one!
Boring plot, horrible descriptions.. do I need to go on?
"Would not someone who could relate to this without cracking up possess an inward composure, display an air of being transfigured?"
Loved this book! It starts out as a bud and blossoms into a flower which though not large and exotic still is remarkable for its rarity.
Usikker på om jeg skal gi denne fire eller fem stjerner, men jeg likte den i hvert fall godt. Igjen har forelesning der vi hår igjennom boka fått meg til å like den enda mer. Jeg innså ikke den fulle dybden av boka før vi snakket om den. Spesielt hvordan foreleser trakk fram alle referanser til Bibelen og andre bøker. Generelt sånne ting jeg ikke tenker over i det hele tatt (men noen ganger lurer jeg på om man overanalyserer også). Det å analysere boka da, fikk meg til å se det mer komplekse for ...more
Paul Fulcher
"I wouldn't be surprised if it rained he thought, picking up his collapsible umbrella."

Shyness and Dignity, translated by the excellent if somewhat opinionated ( Sverre Lyngstad, is the second Dag Solstad novel I've read and he's rapidly joining by list of favourite authors alongside his countrymen Saabye Christensen, Petterson, Kjaerstad, Hamsun and of course Knausgaard.

However, I didn't find this novel as strong as Professor Andersen's night (https://w
She isn't sleeping anyway. She pretends to be asleep, but she's listening.... It must have been in 1974 that Johan Corneliussen suddenly came out with this statement about his young wife listening in her sleep, and Elias Rukla was then a bachelor of thirty-four and had long ago given up the idea of finding a life partner. Actually, he did not mind; he liked to be alone, and one of the reasons why he had always withdrawn from women (after he had asked them for a date and walked them home, at the ...more
Solstad reminded me quite a lot of Thomas Bernhard. A middle-aged man has a meltdown and looks back on his life. The main character, Elias Rukla is sort of like a passive bystander in his own life which leads to stuff just happening to him and the world leaving him behind. It's a melancholic small novel. I liked it.
I thought it was very well written, but I do take issue with the style. It is more like an essay than a novel. There was some characterization and some scenes, but not much in those areas. I think if I wasn't a writer, I may enjoy it more, because I think that writing a novel that is based on ideas rather than a plot is considerably easier than trying to convey ideas through scenes and dialogue. There was a great deal of telling and not a whole lot of showing. While there are problems with the s ...more
Pekka Lanerva
Wonderful, stream of consciousness, full of irony towards the modern society, but also the main character himself.
Stein Roar
Elias Rukla er en lettere alkoholisert middelaldrende norsklektor i den videregående skole. I en norsktime på høsten får han en åpenbaring om en av rollefigurene i Ibsens Vilanden, men åpenbaringen møtes med fullstendig likegyldighet fra de 18 år gamle elevene. På vei ut fra skolen lar han sin frustrasjon gå ut over en paraply som ikke vil åpne seg og elevene som står i nærheten. Elias Rukla går igjennom hele sitt liv på vei hjem til kona, fra studietiden og frem til i dag. Alt mesterlig skrevet ...more
Mark Broadhead
Slightly less than four stars. Excellent writing that could have gone on for a bit more. Should've gone on for more as the end was abrupt.
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Dag Solstad is one of the most recognized Norwegian writers of our time. He deputed in 1956 with the short story collection "Spiraler" (Spirals). His first novel, "Irr! Grønt!", was published four years later. His books have been translated into 30 different languages.

He has won a number of awards, which include receiving the Norwegian critics award thrice and being considered for the Independent
More about Dag Solstad...
Gymnaslærer Pedersens beretning om den store politiske vekkelsen som har hjemsøkt vårt land Professor Andersens Natt Novel 11, Book 18 T. Singer Roman 1987

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“And so, when the chips are down, I must say, though not without a sense of repugnance, that if you wish to show your belief in democracy, you also have to do so when you are in the minority, convinced both intellectually and, not least, in your innermost self, that the majority, in the name of democracy, is crushing everything you stand for and that means something to you, indeed, all that gives you the strength to endure, well, that gives a kind of meaning to your life, something that transcends your own fortuitous lot, one might say. When the heralds of democracy roar, triumphantly bawling out their vulgar victories day after day so that it really makes you suffer, as in my own case, you still have to accept it; I will not let anything else be said about me, he thought.” 1 likes
“[...] og at han la særlig vekt på å gjennomgå Ibsens dramaer med sine elever, da var det den andre kunne si: Ja, Ibsen, ja, han ligger nok for høyt for meg, eller: Nei, du vet, jeg har aldri kommet til å interessere meg for litteratur, og i dette lå det en beklagelse, og den var ikke deres egen, for de var jo så lite interessert i litteratur og Ibsens dramaer at de ikke så noen grunn til å beklage det, hva i himmelens navn var det de skulle beklage, for sin egen del? Nei, det var som samfunnsmennesker de fant det nødvendig å uttrykk denne beklagelse, altså beklagelse som et nødvendig uttrykk for den dannelse ethvert sivilisert samfunn søker å gi sine borgere, og som det, som man ser, i dette tilfellet hadde lykkes med. At enkle samtaler mellom gamle kjente som tilfeldigvis treffes etter noen år, arter seg slik, og ikke på stikk motsatt vis, på dette bygger et hvert sivilisert samfunn sine fundamenter, hadde han ofte tenkt, ikke minst i de siste åra.” 0 likes
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