Catherine of Siena

      Sigrid Undset
Catherine of Siena

Sigrid Undset's Catherine of Siena is critically acclaimed as one of the best biographies of this well known, and amazing fourteenth-century saint. Known for her historical fiction, which won her the Nobel Prize for literature in 1928, Undset based this factual work on primary sources, her own experiences living in Italy, and her profound understanding of the human heart. One of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century, Undset was no stranger to hagiography. Her meticulous research of medieval times, which bore such fruit in her multi-volume masterpieces Kristin Lavransdatter and The Master of Hestviken, acquainted her with some of the holy men and women produced by the Age of Faith. Their exemplary lives left a deep impression upon the author, an impression Undset credited as one of her reasons for entering the Church in 1924. Catherine of Siena was a particular favorite of Undset, who also was a Third Order Dominican. An extraordinarily active, intelligent, and courageous woman, Catherine at an early age devoted herself to the love of God. The intensity of her prayer, sacrifice, and service to the poor won her a reputation for holiness and wisdom, and she was called upon to make peace between warring nobles. Believing that peace in Italy could be achieved only if the Pope, then living in France, returned to Rome, Catherine boldly traveled to Avignon to meet with Pope Gregory XI. With sensitivity to the zealous love of God and man that permeated the life of Saint Catherine, Undset presents a most moving and memorable portrait of one of the greatest women of all time.


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    In the Wilderness

      Sigrid Undset
In the Wilderness

It is Norway in the thirteenth century, a land rent by unremitting warfare and feebly lit by Christianity. Olav Audunsson was once an outlaw; now he is a man of wealth and stature. But he is haunted by the memory of crimes for which there is no easy atonement and by losses that may never be redeemed.


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    The Bridal Wreath

      Sigrid Undset
The Bridal Wreath

The acknowledged masterpiece of the Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter has never been out of print in this country since its first publication in 1927. Its story of a woman's life in fourteenth-century Norway has kept its hold on generations of readers, and the heroine, Kristin—beautiful, strong-willed, and passionate—stands with the world's great literary figures. Volume 1, The Bridal Wreath, describes young Kristin's stormy romance with the dashing Erlend Nikulausson, a young man perhaps overly fond of women, of whom her father strongly disapproves.

From the Trade Paperback edition.


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    Marta Oulie: A Novel of Betrayal

      Sigrid Undset
Marta Oulie: A Novel of Betrayal

“I have been unfaithful to my husband.” Marta Oulie’s opening line scandalized Norwegian readers in 1907. And yet, Sigrid Undset had a gift for depicting modern women “sympathetically but with merciless truthfulness,” as the Swedish Academy noted in awarding her the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. At the time she was one of the youngest recipients and only the third woman so honored. It was Undset’s honest story of a young woman’s love life—“the immoral kind,” as she herself bluntly put it—that made her first novel an instant sensation in Norway.

Marta Oulie, written in the form of a diary, intimately documents the inner life of a young woman disappointed and constrained by the conventions of marriage as she longs for an all-consuming passion. Set in Kristiania (now Oslo) at the beginning of the twentieth century, Undset’s book is an incomparable psychological portrait of a woman whose destiny is defined by the changing mores of her day—as she descends, inevitably, into an ever-darker reckoning. Remarkably, though Undset’s other works have attracted generations of readers, Marta Oulie has never before appeared in English translation. Tiina Nunnally, whose award-winning translation of Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter captured the author’s beautifully clear style, conveys the voice of Marta Oulie with all the stark poignancy of the original Norwegian.


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    Happy Times in Norway

      Sigrid Undset
Happy Times in Norway

"Happy Times""in Norway" is a moving and delicately humorous picture of Undset's own blissful home life before her nation fell to the Nazi occupation. Captured here is the excitement of a Norwegian Christmas, the Seventeenth of May, and summer in the idyllic mountains, as well as the chaotic adventure of raising two energetic boys. With vivid detail and illuminating descriptions of the landscape, "Happy Times in Norway" is infused with the wish that those cherished days could come again.


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    The Axe

      Sigrid Undset
The Axe

Set in 13th-century Norway, The Axe is the first volume in Undset's epic tetralogy, The Master of Hestviken. In it, we meet Olav Audunsson and Ingunn Steinfinnsdatter, who were betrothed as children and raised as brother and sister. In the heedlessness of youth, they become lovers, unaware that their ardor will forge the first link in a chain of murder, exile, and disgrace. Undset's novel is also a meticulous re-creation of a world split between pagan codes of retribution and the rigors of Christian piety--a world where law is a fragile new invention and manslaughter is so common that it's punishable by a fine."Undset reproduces medieval Norway in all the rich pageantry of color and form...she can transport us eight centuries and several thousand miles more effectively than most writers can take us into the house next door."--The Nation


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    The Son Avenger

      Sigrid Undset
The Son Avenger

Powerfully written and filled with magnificent vignettes of the daily life of a medieval estate, 'The Son Avenger' suggests a Greek tragedy whose vision of fate coexists with a Christian sense of suffering and forgiveness. And in the somber, twilight figure of 'Olav the Bad, ' Undset has created an antihero as moving as Oedipus or Lear.


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    Kristin Lavransdatter

      Sigrid Undset
Kristin Lavransdatter

In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tiina Nunnally's award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty.

As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty.

With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway's most beloved author, one of the twentieth century's most prodigious and engaged literary minds and, in Nunnally's exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall.


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