Aasmund Olavson Vinje

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Born: 6 April 1818

Died: 30 July 1870


Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, in the first of a series of papers he is writing for The Forum on "Modern Norwegian Literature," gives the following interesting account of Vinje, the poet:

"Aasmund Olavson Vinje was a poet of striking originality, born a peasant, with great imagination, but of weak character. His mind was impressible from all sides, and the impressions were very strong. In his poems they produced a melody which belongs among the sweetest and fullest in all Norwegian poetry. But the dark strife runs through most of what he wrote, though hatred and scorn and envy by no means made up the larger part of him. That which was strongest in him was a sweet child who loved to be loved, and was fascinated by everything beautiful and grand, especially when it also glittered. The details of his life I cannot give, as he was thrown from one thing to another, always restless, sometimes unhappy, but sometimes also happy —happy as nobody else. He had a foreboding of his death, but kept silent; went into the country to hide, said nothing there, either, but shut himself up in his room and waited alone for the good comrade. And the good comrade came quietly as he was wanted to do. The same is told of wild animals when they feel death approaching; they retire to be alone with their pains. Where he died we have raised a column, and on its top placed his bust, with one eye larger than the other, as I remember him - the one eye radiant with a vision and most with enthusiasm, the other holding back in doubt, ready for laughter and scorn." (The New York Times. Published: June 7, 1896)

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