Ian Vinogradus's Reviews > Victoria

Victoria by Knut Hamsun
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Oct 25, 2011

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Quotes Below

I have quoted the author at length (in the first comment below), partly to inform my own reading when I get the chance.


However, what I really hope is that it will help me grapple with the comments of some reviewers to the effect that his characters could have avoided most of their problems, if they had just communicated with each other better.
Poor communication is something we stumble into when we are egotistical and energetic and bullet-proof in our youth.


We don't normally hurt people because we are malicious, we hurt them because we are selfish in the pursuit of our own happiness or fulfilment.
Obviously, hurt is not the way to achieve happiness or fulfilment, as if we could only achieve it by taking it from someone else.
However, what I want to say or at least speculate, is that to the extent we don't master our own selfishness in love, we continue to hurt people.
Not just in youth.


It's just that, when you build a family around you, the focus or target or reach of your hurting can intensify and you can strike the people who are closest to you.
"You hurt the ones you love most."
When we are unhappy or unfulfilled in life (or for the duration of a week or even a moment), we launch arrows of hurt from our bow, and some of those arrows strike those closest to us, just because they can, or just because they will.
It's so easy to counsel: we should communicate better.
It's like saying we should turn up at work on Monday and "be more efficient".

I Should Know Better

Youth is where we learn most of our bad habits, and I can't wait to learn what light Knut Hamsun can shine on it.
Even at the risk of letting his characters annoy and disappoint me.
But even if they do, I'm sure that their annoyances and disappointments won't be as great as my own too occasional lapses.
Even if, at my age, "I should know better".
I should apologise to my family.
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message 1: by Ian (last edited May 27, 2011 02:19PM) (new) - added it

Ian Vinogradus I haven't read this, but reading some other reviews, I was prompted to look at his Nobel Prize Speech (a practice which I first adopted when I was writing my review of Heinrich Boll's "18 Stories").

On Being Swept off His Feet:

"It is as well perhaps that this is not the first time I have been swept off my feet.
"In the days of my blessed youth there were such occasions; in what young person's life do they not occur?
"No, the only young people to whom this feeling is strange are those young conservatives who were born old, who do not know the meaning of being carried away.
"No worse fate can befall a young man or woman than becoming prematurely entrenched in prudence and negation.
"Heaven knows that there are plenty of opportunities in later life, too, for being carried away.
"What of it? We remain what we are and, no doubt, it is all very good for us!"

On Youth:

"No, what I should really like to do right now, in the full blaze of lights, before this illustrious assembly, is to shower every one of you with gifts, with flowers, with offerings of poetry - to be young once more, to ride on the crest of the wave.
"That is what I should wish to do on this great occasion, this last opportunity for me.
"I dare not do it, for I would not be able to escape ridicule.
"Today riches and honours have been lavished on me, but one gift has been lacking, the most important one of all, the only one that matters, the gift of youth. None of us is too old to remember it. It is proper that we who have grown old should take a step back and do so with dignity and grace.
"I know not what I should do - I know not what is the right thing to do, but I raise my glass to the youth of Sweden, to young people everywhere, to all that is young in life."

message 2: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Vinogradus Kat wrote: "Probably because, as we get older, interesting new bad habits become harder to find."

Haha. I wonder if it depends on how hard we look.

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