Women's Classic Literature Enthusiasts discussion

The Wreath (Kristin Lavransdatter, #1)
This topic is about The Wreath
38 views
Buddy Reads > The Wreath (February 2018)

Comments Showing 1-50 of 55 (55 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Carol (last edited Dec 20, 2017 08:13PM) (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments This thread will be for our discussion of The Wreath by Sigrid Undset. Andrea advised that the Tina Nunnelly translation is superb (and to avoid others)

Cam, Mizzou, Charlene and I plan to start reading on or around January 29, 2018. Please feel free to join if you are interested.

I'll plan to research and post some background materials and links closer to our start date, but if you have insight or favorite resources on The Wreath, share them here any time.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Carol,

The Tina Nunnally translation that I reccoed is Kristin Lavransdatter in it’s entirety.

I hope you all enjoy “The Wreath!”


message 3: by Viv (new)

Viv JM | 81 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Carol,

The Tina Nunnally translation that I reccoed is Kristin Lavransdatter in it’s entirety.

I hope you all enjoy “The Wreath!”"


I have this translation - it's been on my radar a while but the 1000+ page count has intimidated me thus far. Reading with some others might help, so I'll try to join in if I can!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Viv,

I read about 15-25 pages per day on days that I had to work over a 3 month period. I read more in days I didn’t have to work.

Also, another thing that helped is that the volume is divided into 3 parts. I just focused on getting through each part instead of focusing on “how in the world will I finish this 1000-page book?”


message 5: by Carol (last edited Dec 21, 2017 06:23AM) (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Carol,

The Tina Nunnally translation that I reccoed is Kristin Lavransdatter in it’s entirety.

I hope you all enjoy “The Wreath!”"


@andrea, thanks!

I hate to be a shill for The Man, but here's a link to the Part I I ordered.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014...

I believe it's Nunnally and only Book I (336 pages). I also am not a fan of either committing to, nor toting around, 1000 page books.


message 6: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Viv wrote: "Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder wrote: "Carol,

The Tina Nunnally translation that I reccoed is Kristin Lavransdatter in it’s entirety.

I hope you all enjoy “The W..."


Excellent. It would be great if you are able to join, Viv.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Carol,

I definitely left KL at home!

Much too heavy to take in my work-tote for commute-reading!


message 8: by Mizzou (new)

Mizzou | 177 comments Viv: You'll only need to read Volume I of the trilogy for this buddy read! But chances are, you will want to continue the story after reading The Bridal Wreath, and see Kristin through her long life in Volumes 2, The Mistress of Husaby, and 3, The Cross.


message 9: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (dewluca) I was surprised to find my library has The Wreath (and its the recommended translation). Don't think they have the whole series though. Whether I join the read will depend on my mood at the end of January. (I kind of had too much of Scandinavians in my 22 years in Minnesota so may not be in the mood for more right now :) (I'm an Italian-American with Dutch ancestry . . . it was like oil and water with the Swedes/Finns/Norwegians!)


message 10: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Reminder: our buddy read starts next Monday, January 29, for anyone who wants to join. Hint - it's time to find or obtain your copy of the book.

If anyone's interested, Haaze has posted excellent, comprehensive background materials (including photos) on Sigrid Unset, her body of work and even her Nobel Prize acceptance speech at the Scandinavian and Nordic Lit group, available at:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

and message 2 of this thread includes 2 wonderful maps:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I so wish I had Haaze's talent for uploading photos, graphics, etc. into GR threads, but in the meantime, I look forward to reading some of this material in preparation for our shared comments and discussions and using the maps when I start the book.


message 11: by Haaze (last edited Jan 23, 2018 01:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Haaze | 57 comments Well, thank you Carol. You are most kind! :)
I kind of feel like I'm blogging over there in Scandinavian Lit since the interest for Undset seems dismal to say the least. I hope it becomes a joy here at WCLE as Sigrid Undset is a fantastic writer (I'm biased) and deserves more attention. The book has its own unique charm, but since I'm reading it in Norwegian (a bit of a struggle) I am probably seduced by the sweet melody of the language echoing in my mind. I think it numbs my criticism as I flow down the Norwegian river.
Now and then I've been comparing the original with the Nunnelly translation and can only echo the previous opinion in this thread; it is smooth and flows very well. However, when I go back and forth I'm taken aback as I cannot quite fathom Kristin Lavransdatter speaking English. Ha ha! ;)


message 12: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Haaze wrote: "Well, thank you Carol. You are most kind! :)
I kind of feel like I'm blogging over there in Scandinavian Lit since the interest for Undset seems dismal to say the least. I hope it becomes a joy her..."


thank you!! I am in awe of all of the material you found and shared AND that you're reading it in Norwegian! It would be a delight if you weigh in here along your way for the benefit of at least this dabbler - reader. You're always kind with your corrections. Now back to those maps ....


message 13: by Cam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cam | 116 comments Yay to multilingual reading! And yes would love your input too Haake :)

Thank you Carol for linking to the resources and Haake for posting them! Unfortunately the group is closed and so you have to be a member to access the discussions. Is there any way some of it could be posted here? I feel a bit bad joining the group just to spy on their thread...

I started reading and I agree with Haaze that the writing style is a joy. I'm not particularly gripped by the story (I'm not desperate to pick it up to know what happens next) but every time I start reading it again I'm amazed at how easy it is to be transported by the flow of her words.

Maybe this is in the resources that you have posted Haaze, but I keep wondering how much Undset actually knew about medieval Norway when she was writing this. Did she intend it as a "truthful" setting or simply as a backdrop to her story of womanhood and her exploration of Christianity?

The only thing that has bugged me so far is that the characters (apart from Kristin maybe) feel like cardboard cutouts. Undset's writing style is so enjoyable that it's not a big problem to keep on reading, but they all seem like caricatures...


message 14: by carissa (last edited Jan 24, 2018 06:08PM) (new)

carissa just curious Carol...are there plans to continue on with the rest of the trilogy?

I saw that Haaze's group is starting book 2 on Feb 1st...I don't think I can manage that?!

Also, the links to that group are blocked unless you are a member.


message 15: by Carol (last edited Jan 25, 2018 05:02AM) (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Spying on threads is one of my great sources of happiness in life, so can only say ... there's great things behind that opaque curtain :)

I'm not committing to read all three books, without having read the first. I think it probably reduces participation if you set the bar that high out of the gate. But if we all enjoy it and are up for book two and want to tackle it as a group that door is certainly open. Also, there's this great Scandinavian Lit group reading all three, or at least Haaze is blogging about all three ... :)

I realized something a couple of decades ago about myself -- that even with authors I love, I run out of steam on the second book if I endeavor to read consecutive books by a single author. I don't know what it is, but one book in between makes the difference. Three or four is even better... no doubt it's a character flaw.


message 16: by carissa (last edited Jan 25, 2018 10:31AM) (new)

carissa Carol wrote: "Spying on threads is one of my great sources of happiness in life, so can only say ... there's great things behind that opaque curtain :)"

delicious....

Carol wrote: "I'm not committing to read all three books, without having.."

Good sense! I've started these many times and not gotten hooked. I'm hoping that this translation will be the key to getting to the end with enjoyment!

and, we may share that character flaw, or idiosyncrasy...I feel like I pay attention more to the language while reading multiple things at once.

My pattern is to start a number of novels at once, moving between them until I can't stop reading one. I finish that and return to my dabbling...etc...repeat for as long as my body is able.


message 17: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments carissa wrote: "Carol wrote: "Spying on threads is one of my great sources of happiness in life, so can only say ... there's great things behind that opaque curtain :)"

delicious....

Carol wrote: "I'm not commit..."


I'm so happy to hear that I'm not alone in that approach to my reading. It is rather Darwinian in that each book has to fight to be chosen repeatedly, but it pleases me and so have been unsuccessful in changing. :)


Haaze | 57 comments I think it is a common phenomenon...

reaches for another novel in the pile

;-)


message 19: by Cam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cam | 116 comments I'm not very good either at reading books consecutively, and I've always been very curious of people who can read the entire bibliography of one author over the course of a few months. I definitely need variety to appreciate each book individually (and totally agree with you Carissa)... That being said, reading The Wreath has been a breeze so far so I wouldn't mind picking up the second volume in a few months.

Annoyingly, my stubbornness in not using Amazon means the only edition I could find was the 2014 Penguin Drop Caps one, which is very pretty but doesn't include the introduction, suggestions for further reading, note on the translation or explanatory notes (all I have is the text and one map). It's a bit geeky but I don't know much about Scandinavia (I had to look up Norwegian pronunciation because I wasn't sure what any of those place names would sound like) and so I feel I'm really missing out on contextual info!


message 20: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Cam wrote: "I'm not very good either at reading books consecutively, and I've always been very curious of people who can read the entire bibliography of one author over the course of a few months. I definitely..."

I honor your principals and -- because I'm the book-buying enabling friend, offer you this link for your future non-Amazon purchases:

https://www.abebooks.com/

:)

Plus Haaze is a better resource than anything published, in my experience.

I'm also planning to approach this one with the same geekiness, given the vast expanse of my ignorance about Norway. (Heck, its only been 18 months or so since I learned that Finland isn't part of Scandinavia ... )


Haaze | 57 comments Ah, you flatterer you Carol! :P

Btw - I think Amazon owns Abe Books (since 2008). They gobble up everything. :(

Only because my shelves are packed do I occasionally resort to digital copies. (Yes, Yes, I'm an enabler as well, I admit it).

If you don't mind reading pdf files archive.org has copies of Undset one can borrow. I sometimes use my ipad and read older (hard to get) books that way. The do have a number of the Undset volumes available (both the Nunnally and the older (more archaic) Archer translations). One has to create an account (free), but otherwise it is easy to work with and comes in very handy. All free.

Here: https://archive.org/search.php?query=...

:)


message 22: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments They are a wholly-owned subsidiary, but I believe the books on their platform are owned and sold by third parties, the transaction is between the user and a 3rd party bookseller. Still headquartered in British Columbia and with a heavy focus on antiquarian and out-of-print books. When I was but a young lady, that black and white AB catalog graced our mailbox weekly. Good memories.

Having said that, I use the Amazon platform as a means to efficiently purchase from 3rd party booksellers, as well, so I'm not as pure as many.

any hoo. (is it flattery if it's true? I'm no doubt confusing my US libel law with social graces, lol.)


Haaze | 57 comments I DO like Abe's Books! Definitely the place to go for OOP books! :)


message 24: by Camille (new) - added it

Camille (camillesbookishadventures) Wordery is a good website to use, they also add a bookmark to your order! Ir Betterworldbooks. I believe these two are not affiliated with Amazon.


message 25: by Mizzou (last edited Jan 28, 2018 07:36AM) (new)

Mizzou | 177 comments Oh, but Carol.....Finland IS a part of Scandinavia! Scandinavia includes FIVE countries----Sweden (Sverige), Norway (Norge), Finland (Suomi), Denmark, and Iceland. I don't know how to write Denmark in Danish, or Iceland in Icelandic.
I've visited three of these countries, because of hosting a student from Suomi, and having a friend in Norway (now known as the Republic of Shithole), and accompanying my husband on visits to relatives in Sverige, to an international folk dance festival in Rattvik, and to a educational holiday at a folkhogskola (folk high school) in Jonkoping.
But I have not ever eaten, and will never eat either sill (pickled herring) or lutfisk (dried codfish), a God Yul tradition. (The cod is very, very white after it is restored to edibility by boiling it in salted water.....still I find it yucky. )


message 26: by Haaze (last edited Jan 28, 2018 08:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Haaze | 57 comments Mizzou wrote: "Oh, but Carol.....Finland IS a part of Scandinavia! Scandinavia includes FIVE countries----Sweden (Sverige), Norway (Norge), Finland (Suomi), Denmark, and Iceland. I don't know how to write Denmark..."

Mmm...
The definition of Scandinavia is somewhat variable in the English usage, but it is linked to the language groups with Danish, Swedish and Norwegian (Germanic languages) being different from Finnish.

Scandinavia = Denmark, Norway and Sweden
Nordic Countries = Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland as well as Greenland & the Faroe Islands.

Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_co...

And read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandin...
as well as: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_...

Still, it is a bit confusing and it really doesn't matter too much. I think about all of them as 'Norden'! I grew up in Sweden and love pickled herring as well as lutfisk! Yumm!

:)

Scandinavia:

Larger: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...


Nordic Countries:

Larger: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...


message 27: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Thanks, Haaze. That's a quite succinct version of what I had recalled/learned. A side benefit of my reading Scandinavian and Nordic suspense and thrillers in translation. :)


message 28: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1213 comments Mod
I finished part 1. (view spoiler)


message 29: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Charlene wrote: "I finished part 1. [spoilers removed]"

Let's all try to finish part 1 by Friday, if that works for everyone. I am in the first dozen pages and need to (and will) find an hour to push forward.

Charlene - I am really curious about the idea of a convent commitment that is shorter than "the rest of one's life". I'll see what I can find out about that and revert back to the group.


message 30: by Cam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cam | 116 comments Can't wait! I finished it yesterday and my thoughts changed so much over the course of reading, I'm really looking forward to hearing yours! :)


message 31: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Cam wrote: "Can't wait! I finished it yesterday and my thoughts changed so much over the course of reading, I'm really looking forward to hearing yours! :)"

Ack!!! I'm behind!


message 32: by Cam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cam | 116 comments No no, I was too greedy and curious ;)


message 33: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Cam wrote: "No no, I was too greedy and curious ;)"

Those are fine qualities applied to books :)


message 34: by carissa (new)

carissa My copy is still in transit...so, I'll have to play catch-up when it arrives. I'll be a late poster...


message 35: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1213 comments Mod
The writing style (at least for the Tiina Nunnully version) is fairly simple and easy to read. It comes across as fairly modern.


message 36: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Cam wrote: "I'm not very good either at reading books consecutively, and I've always been very curious of people who can read the entire bibliography of one author over the course of a few months. I definitely..."

Cam, this is note 6 from the first chapter, and I thought you (and others) might find it as interesting as I did:

In medieval Norway a clear demarcation was made between inside and outside, between the protective circle of human habitation and the dark forces of the wilderness beyond. People believed that the forests were populated by many types of supernatural beings, which were both unpredictable and menacing.

Nunnally confirms what we've intuited.


message 37: by Haaze (last edited Feb 05, 2018 12:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Haaze | 57 comments I think this was probably true for most societies of the time regardless of location. The entity of the 'night' and the realm of darkness were very different back then compared to our extended nights as well as glowing electric towns. There is a cool book called At Day's Close: Night in Times Past by A. Roger Ekirch that "illuminates" (ha ha) the changing entity of the "night" through cultures and history. Very interesting stuff!

:)




Btw I love all the stories of what's out there (in the night) from those centuries.


message 38: by Cam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cam | 116 comments Ooh, thank you both! I thought the episode of the dwarf maiden was so short and yet so well-written. Undset did a great job of rendering the unsettling beauty and menace of the mountains... Thinking back on it now, it seems to serve so many functions for the rest of the book: setting up the landscape, Lavrans' character and the relationship between father and daughter, Kristin's curiosity and love of life, the weight of beliefs and the unfathomable... Or maybe I'm just getting carried away by the fact that I loved that section :D.


message 39: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Haaze wrote: "I think this was probably true for most societies of the time regardless of location. The entity of the 'night' and the realm of darkness were very different back then compared to our extended nigh..."

Yes, i agree - this is typical of society's across state borders/boundaries for this time. Thanks for the link - that looks like a fascinating book.


message 40: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Cam wrote: "Ooh, thank you both! I thought the episode of the dwarf maiden was so short and yet so well-written. Undset did a great job of rendering the unsettling beauty and menace of the mountains... Thinkin..."

Carried away isn't a bad thing, in this context :)


message 41: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments In connection with publication of the Nunnally translation, Penguin/Random House put together a fabulous readers guide with discussion questions I thought we might be interested in considering. I will upload them in separate messages and we can address what intrigues us and ignore what doesn't. That approach should also make it easier for subsequent members to respond to this novel at a time when we aren't reading it collectively and prompted by each other's real-time comments.

Here's the link to the guide:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/bo...


message 42: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Discussion Question #1:

The Wreath is set at a time of transition in Norway: Christianity, which had been introduced in the late tenth century, was spreading, but the older pagan forms of worship and belief lingered.

How does Undset’s description of Kristin’s encounter with the elf maiden [p. 19]—and Lavrans’ reaction to it—epitomize the collision of the old and new belief systems?

What other examples are there of the family’s inability to abandon age-old traditions and superstitions despite their devout Christianity?

For instance, what is the significance of Fru Aashild’s attempt to cure Ulvhild when the prayers of the parish priest fail to work the miracle Rangfrid longs for?


message 43: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Discussion Question #2:

Does Kristin acquiesce too readily to her father’s selection of Simon as her future husband? Does she agree to the betrothal because she feels genuine affection for Simon or is she primarily motivated by her love and respect for her father?

How does Kristin’s relationship with Arne deepen your understanding of the social attitudes and assumptions she lives by?

Why does Simon’s sympathetic and compassionate reaction when her reputation is questioned increase Kristin’s ambivalence toward him?


message 44: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Discussion Question #3:

Discuss Undset’s use of elements drawn from medieval ballads, chivalric legends, fairy tales, and other traditional stories in her depiction of Kristin and Erlend’s meeting and courtship. What particular motifs do you recognize? What themes, events, or characters represent Christian beliefs?

How do these “archetypal scripts” enrich the story for readers? In what ways do Undset’s narrative style, her depiction of the natural world, and her language create further links to the past and its storytelling traditions?


message 45: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Discussion question #4:

Which one of Kristin’s two suitors appeals to you more and why?

How do their attitudes about Kristin—and about love and marriage—differ? In what ways are they similar?

Are there contradictions between traditional standards of morality and those imposed by the Church?

Does Erlend take advantage of Kristin’s innocence and inexperience or does she share equal responsibility for initiating their love affair?

To what extent does the very secrecy of their relationship strengthen the tie between Kristin and Erlend?

Why does Lavrans finally to consent to the marriage?

What impact do the pleas—as well as the suggestive comments—of Erlend’s noble kinsmen [p. 250] have on his decision?

Why does Kristin begin to have doubts after her betrothal to Erlend is announced?


message 46: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments (Last one) Discussion Question #5:

Kristin, Aashild, and Eline all sacrifice their reputations and moral integrity when they give into their sexual longings. Were their transgressions justified in the light of subsequent events?

Do their lovers suffer to the same extent from the condemnation of society and the pangs of conscience?

Does Undset’s depiction of the consequences of adultery reflect the moral conventions of the time or does it represent a more universal truth?


message 47: by Haaze (last edited Feb 05, 2018 03:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Haaze | 57 comments Hmm, I'm allergic to discussion questions originating from the publisher..... :P

*rashes starting to appear*


message 48: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (carolfromnc) | 682 comments Haaze wrote: "Hmm, I'm allergic to discussion questions originating from the publisher..... :P

*rashes starting to appear*"


Please share any superior conversation-starters you devise, ma'am. :)


Haaze | 57 comments He he!


message 50: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1213 comments Mod
The ending was so surprising. (view spoiler)


« previous 1
back to top