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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  4,875 ratings  ·  293 reviews
Forced by circumstances into perverse cruelty to one another, Johannes & Victoria live their lives apart until, in the last tragic pages, we see that Victoria cannot live without her Johannes.
Paperback, 112 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Souvenir Press (first published 1898)
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,875 ratings  ·  293 reviews

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Aug 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: littry-fiction
you would think i would have sopped this thing up with a hunk of bread: doomed lovers, the impossibility of communication, the way we hurt the ones we love? that should have karen's stamp of approval all over it.

but it's like hamsun took a great idea for literary exploration and then constructed this wooden fence all around the emotional appeal and said "you are not coming in!" and i'm like, "dude, come on - just let me care about the characters a little bit". and hamsun's all "no way, jose". s
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heart-breakers
Recommended to s.penkevich by: The oeuvre
Love became the world’s beginning and the world’s ruler; but all its ways are full of flowers and blood, flowers and blood.

The passions and desires of young love, and the frustration of love torn apart by society, is a source of considerable energy that has been harnessed by writers through all of history. Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun’s 1898 novella, Victoria, draws on this energy to fuel his inextinguishable prose and return to the theme of doomed love, a theme characteristic of his impressive
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who dare to love
Shelves: read-in-2018
“Victoria” is many things at once. A deceptively simple fairy-tale of star-crossed lovers separated by class and circumstance, but also an introspective journey into the making of a poet, a nuanced psychological portrait of the effects of young love, obsession and loss, and a lyrical rendering of alternating idyllic images and the harrowing consequences of pride, fear and jealousy.

As it happened in “Hunger”, the narrative line appears fragmented by dreamy recreations of events lived by the young
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
When he grew up he wanted to be a diver. That was a sure thing. Then he would go down into the ocean from the deck a ship and come to strange lands, to kingdoms with swaying forests, vast and mysterious, and with a coral palace on the ocean floor. And the princess waves to him from a window and says, Come in!

Johannes is a bright young boy with a vivid imagination growing up in a poor household near the sea. His dreams alternate between adventure and romance, fueled by the passing ships and by
The odds were that I wouldn't like this book. It had many of the features I found fault with in the contemporary bestseller "One Day" by David Nicholls: a frustrating main character who falls deeply and irrevocably in love with someone clearly unsuitable who doesn't initially return his regard; many occasions when the pair might have come together but were prevented by misunderstandings and other frustrating circumstances; in short, too much melodrama right up to the very end. So why did I like ...more

Suppose you met someone when you were young, and something happened that convinced you beyond reasonable doubt that they loved you, and you loved them. And then, suppose that there were all sorts of practical problems, and that, on the rare occasions when you did meet them, you said the wrong thing, or they said the wrong thing, and people were hurt, or lost their tempers, and you started to wonder if you'd just hallucinated it all. And that this continued for your whole life.

Well, if you've eve
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those intrigued by love's whispers
Shelves: vintage, nobels
Imagine love in its complicated state, love as a psychological battle: dreamlike and disappointing; love that never materializes into a relationship, never fully processed; love poured into the literary art as a parallel to love that cannot be. For this isn't simply air-brushed romance, this has melancholy imbued.

Oh Johannes, he who initially exists in his semi-delirious happy frame of mind, in his dream world of love proclamation. She loves him? She loves him not? Victoria lives in a castle and
Suggestions for Further Reading

Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
There are some books that have a lasting impact on one’s life, books that leave an indelible mark on one’s deepest emotions. For me there are a number, but Victoria by Knut Hamsun occupies a special place as the most captivating and heart-breaking love story ever written. I read it in my mid-teens, in the full flood of my most romantic period.

It’s a short novel; I finished it in less than two hours in a single sitting, overwhelmed by the poetic intensity of the prose, overwhelmed by the story
PGR Nair
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this novel in the Eighties. Victoria is one of the most beautiful short novels in Literature.

Though titled Victoria, the protagonist is Johannes, the miller's son. He is a boy who wants to work in a match factory because, “he could get sulphur on his hands so that nobody would dare to shake hands with him”. Later, as a man, he spends his nights writing epic poetry, capping a productive session with loud singing that wakes his neighbours. Johannes is proud to know the stones and the stream
Jan 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Who am I to say that a Nobel prize winning author is just phoning it in? Especially since I’ve yet to find real enjoyment in Hamsun’s writing? If I had just picked this book up and read it I wouldn’t have enjoyed it too much, it’s a tad bit too melodramatic with a bit of the coldness of say Strindberg and the inexplicable manly rage of DH Lawrence’s male characters (but not their latent gayness, which maybe I’ll share my theory on this at some other time in a DH Lawrence review). Can I say that ...more
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very slim novel, and it tells a story that had been told a great many times over the years – the story of young lovers from different classes, pulled together by love but pulled in different directions by life – but it is so well told and so distinctive the I found it irresistible.

Vitoria and Johannes had always known each other. She was daughter of a wealthy landowner, he was the son of a miller, and their paths crossed whenever Victoria’s family visited their country estate. Johannes
Lee Klein
Other than a vivid drowning rescue and some sadsack suggestions about true love, this is simply flat. Sucky compared to his better known novels -- a dull, poorly characterized (can't picture these characters other than Johannes and his tan wrists), muddy novella at best. One character's head is blown to bits and I didn't care since he made almost no impression. There's an immolation scene too that leads to an inferno but it happens too quickly and reads like bad Gothic lit. Can't believe he wrot ...more
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Crushing, crushing inevitability. Macabre and surgical dissection of deathless love savaged by fragile, chimeric institutions which still haunt us today, although they are metamorphosised ghosts of class and respectability. An exorcism of Knut Hamsun's own idiosyncratic insecurities (he named his own daughter after the novel; why not just slap a hag's curse on the poor thing?), a sinew snapping, unappreciated novella of lives devoted to the brutality of human emotion. I can understand, at first ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A short simple and profound love story which captures the intensity, passion and hopelessness of love; especially young love. The two protagonists Johannes and Victoria fall in love in early teenage and the story develops over a period of years. They manage to hurt each other, be shy, clumsy and avoid sharing their feelings. The language of this book is poetic and lyrical. Reading this as an adult; it was moving, but I wonder how I would have felt about it as a teenager; it may have had a more p ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
I promise I’ll eventually read one of his good ones.
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, novels
While this is only 82 pages, I didn't find this a quick read. It's not difficult or anything, just a little slow compared to Hunger. Took me awhile to get into the story.
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first time I read Victoria I was 11. Ok, I know, a little young for this type of novel.. I remember being able to appreciate the prose, the fluidity of it (at least in Norwegian), but I also remember being irritated at both Johannes and Victoria, not understanding their love or their actions. An 11-year old hasn't typically had the life experience to be able to understand or appreciate this type of work, or at least I certainly hadn't.
Not having reread it since, I happened on it as I was or
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nobel
I did not know Knut Hamsun could write so well. This is one of the most intense love stories I read lately.
Paul Christensen
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You could write off the title character as little more than a meagre strumpet,
Toying around with male affections like a sambo plays the trumpet.

But Hamsun, that master of the soul, turns it all the way around,
So Victoria's character is revealed as something lambent and profound.

Hamsun's Nietzschean contempt for the upper classes of his day,
Which would later lead him to favour the meritocratic NS way,

Caused him to parody decadent cucks in this early but excellent book
Written in 1898...lest his l
Ian "Marvin" Graye
May 27, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: reviews, a-wish-liszt
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 n
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
The preface duly convinced me that this book is cleverly written and meaningful, but I just didn't really connect with the storyline of Johannes and Victoria. I liked the beginning more, with the descriptions and before their relationship seemed pointless.
2.5 stars. This is like an inferior version of Pan. Thankfully, it's short. And probably it's better than I give it credit for--but it's just hard not to compare it to his other masterpieces. This story of unrequited love doesn't say anything about obsession, delirium, or irrationality that Pan doesn't say much better and with much more humor. It does, however, touch on some class issues, but that in itself makes me want to yawn a great big yawn.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is nothing much to say. This book is kind of like a fairytale but with harsh reality. Beautifully written I love it so much. The only reason I don't rate it with 5 is the fact that I didn't feel book the rest was just pure magic.
Nema mnogo stvari da se napiše. Ova knjiga je nešto poput bajke sa udarom relanosti. Prelepo je napisana i jako mi se dopala. Jedini razlog zašto je nisam ocenila sa 5 je zato što je nisam osetila sve ostalo je ma
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has some marvelous emotions and wonderful use of technique, but I just didn't care for it as much as I did "Hunger." It just doesn't seem like the same kind of effort, the same level of Hamsun laying himself into the work. It's pretty, but it doesn't have the same raw power that "Hunger" does. Of course, maybe it's just more delicate and I'm just not appreciating the delicacies as much, but that's my reaction.
Ivy-Mabel Fling
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fairy-tale approach to the problem of the class system.
Bob Lopez
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming bittersweet tale about star crossed lovers (I'd said unrequited before but that was the wrong bad). Lovely little book.
Erik Graff
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hamsun fans
Recommended to Erik by: Anne-Lise Graff
Shelves: literature
I rather liked this more than his Pan or Mysteries as the story is more sad than absurdist. Implicit to it is a criticism of capitalist class structures, reminiscent of his Hunger.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"When it first appeared in 1898, this fourth novel by celebrated Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun captured instant acclaim for its poetic, psychologically intense portrayal of love’s predicament in a class-bound society. Set in a coastal village of late nineteenth-century Norway, Victoria follows two doomed lovers through their thwarted lifelong romance. Johannes, the son of a miller, finds inspiration for his writing in his passionate devotion to Victoria, an impoverished aristocrat constrained by ...more
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"And love became the world's origin and the world's ruler, yet littered its path is with flowers and blood, flowers and blood"
-Victoria, Knut Hamsun.

To begin, I will say that this is a contradictory book in my personal life, because it's undoubtedly a masterpiece that I enjoyed reading, but also leaves me feeling found because this author, the same man who wrote other great works as Hunger and Pan, was a staunch supporter of the Nazi party and Hitler, both of which I disapprove completely. So i
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Knut Hamsun was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920 "for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil". He insisted that the intricacies of the human mind ought to be the main object of modern literature, to describe the "whisper of the blood, and the pleading of the bone marrow". Hamsun pursued his literary program, debuting in 1890 with the psychological novel Hunger.
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“And love became the world's beginning and the world's ruler; but all its ways are full of flowers and blood, flowers and blood.” 26 likes
“Og kjærligheten blev verdens ophav og verdens hersker, men alle dens veier er fulle av blomster og blod, blomster og blod.” 20 likes
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