Kristin Lavransdatter

Books. I have conducted a life long love affair with books. My Mom and Granny read to us when we were little. When I was very young, I associated the act, of transforming black marks on a page into a story, with magic. Books possessed a mysterious alchemy. It was a revelation and a wonder, when I learned it was a mere and predictable configuration of lines and spaces that unlocked the secrets of the written word. Magic suddenly became an easily understood formula. The mystery of books dissolved. But to my surprise the magic continued. There are worlds in books.

Having taught myself to read before I entered the education system, with encouragement and a few basic tips from my Granny, I’ve dedicated a lot of waking hours to the pursuit of reading. My youth was spent reading literature. The first book I ever took out of the school library was Pilgrim’s Progress, and to be honest I wasn’t impressed with the story. Then I discovered The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, and a new and deeper perspective on religious theory opened up to me. Later, during my teen years, when I toiled at manual labour in my summer job picking fruit on a farm, I would read a book at night, and spend the next day, high on my ladder, or on me knees in a field, thinking about what I had read, turning it all over in my mind, looking at it from this perspective and that. My days, although filled with strenuous repetitive work, flew by, and I learned the freedom and joy of manual labour, the mind can fly.

When I entered post secondary education reading took on a completely different cloak. Articles and books were assigned, there was little to no time to explore ideas freely, knowledge was tightly conscribed to a narrow path. I learned to embrace that too, and to love the discipline of it. As time progressed, and I continued with my degrees, concepts and theories deepened in meaning, connections and pathways of thought revealed themselves.

When I left the academy, I was suddenly free to choose my own reading material. Oh the joy in that! I read primarily works written by women, for in the academy the vast majority of authors chosen for me were male. Then, after years of reading only female authors, I began to choose books based on a wide variety of elements.

Which brings me to the book I have most recently read, Kristin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset. I bought this book in the early autumn of 2017, while I was still in mourning after the death of my brother in 2016, intending to read all 1124 pages over the course of the winter. Fate had other plans for me though. It was shortly after I began reading the book, and settling into a peaceful daily routine as the colder weather set in, that Attila announced he was leaving me. After that there was no peace in my life, for a very long time, and although I read occasionally, I did not read often. Attila did not leave, and slowly through 2018 life settled, and a new and fragile peace unfolded. Through 2019, I increasingly turned to my books.

On Saturday last, I turned the page to the very last, in the book Kristin Lavransdatter. I enjoyed the book, the medieval setting in Norway was authentically portrayed, as much as it could be for a book written in the 20th century. I occasionally found it tedious, as it dealt with the religious beliefs, and political climate, the superstructure, of the time. However, the author did not become lost in a fervour of religious or political details, but returned to the small scale human experience when the larger scale contexts of the time had been fleshed out.

I felt a little lost, when I closed the volume for the last time. This book sat by my side through some of the saddest moments in my life. And now, it is time to say thank you Sigrid Undset, thank you for the journey, the time we shared in the magic of story in a book. This book will always be a portal into my time of sadness, and the lights in my life that led me onward and outward.

Worldly

Weather

19°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 15 July 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 19.0°C
Dew point: 15.8°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: NW 6 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.”
William Hazlitt
1778 – 1830

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11 Responses to Kristin Lavransdatter

  1. Bex says:

    Books. You gotta love ’em!
    I have a pet peeve. Filling out forms online. Almost every time I come to a form with blank boxes to fill in, I go back and get out of that page. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I think it has something to do with my inability to type like I used to and I seem to make mistakes a lot more with my arthritic fingers. Anyway, lately your page always requires me to fill out the boxes here in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section, so that is why I have commented that much lately. Those blanks staring at me at the end just send me for the back-and-out button. But I will fill them in here and now but am wondering if there is some way they can be auto-filled like a lot of these types of things are done?

  2. Teri says:

    I was an avid reader of books from childhood to middle age, but as I got older and books got larger and larger, my wrists made the decision not to support me in my reading. I muddled on with a tablet for a while but more often the not, now my reading time is taken up by reading the news online.

    Maybe I’ll get more book reading in when things have settled down some in US politics.

  3. Teri says:

    Hmmm… Not sure how that one line in my comment got messed up.

  4. Bex, I will have a look at the configuration of the site and see if there is some way to let you bypass that login, it might take me a while 🙂 I certainly do appreciate it when you do struggle through the form and comment, it is wonderful to hear from you!!

  5. Teri, I have a reader and I prefer the paper based books. That is too bad about your wrists! Just as a side note, Kristin Lavransdatter can be purchased as three small books, The Wreath, The Wife, and The Cross, probably much eaiser to handle, and I think if I were to purchase the volume again, I’d get the three smaller volumes instead of complete work in one volume.

    I fervently hope that the political situation settles down! Constant reading material there at the moment.

  6. Hmm, strange! As soon as I type one letter into the “name” field below, I get all the possible options and just have to click on the one I choose to use. It’s one of the features that makes your blog such a pleasure to comment in! I love blogs that do that, and wonder why they don’t all. I hear my own blog is a pain in the ass to comment in, possibly because I’ve set it up to require moderation/approval before a comment is posted publicly. It’s one of the reasons many people have told me they read but don’t comment. C’est la vie! I’ve only ever disallowed one comment, and it was by a woman who wanted to libel her ex-husband who had moved into this area and started a business. That one time, alone, made me determined not to let just any asshole say whatever they wanted on my blog, even if a nasty comment was only visible for a short while till I saw it myself.

    After Attila talked about leaving and pulled your sky down around you, what you haven’t talked about is whether anything, other than your sense of security, has changed. Do you two relate differently somehow? Did you figure out what the problem was and what to do about it? I ask this out of genuine nosy curiosity, not as an underhanded criticism. Other couple’s solutions are often worth trying so I’m interested in hearing them. These are things I don’t talk about on my own blog, as my partner feels it would impinge on his privacy. Here I’ll share two approaches that have turned things around for us in a good way over the past six months or so: 1.) not saying whatever comes to my mind before giving myself time and space to examine my deepest goal in saying it, and being honest with myself about what that is, and 2) a regular weekly date for sex. -Kate

  7. Kate, it is difficult ot assess user experience for a blog, when you are the author, at least I find it so. I am still looking at the login process, takes a bit of focus to figure it out!

    “pulled your sky down around you”, very apt statement!

    Attila’s decision to leave was seismic in nature, it released an intense pressure.
    Personally, I think the difference now is reduced stress due to the completion of the garage roof, the new windows, and the attic insulation. Doesn’t sound very romantic I know, but those gargantuan renovations were looming larger than life itself for us. I think he had completely lost perspective. Now, instead of insisting, “I can do that.”, we discuss a project as, “should we do that, if so when and how.”

  8. After checking a few minutes ago to see your reply (not yet posted; I see we are both sitting in front of our computers at the moment), I looked up Kristin Lavransdatter and read the plot of the trilogy on Wikipedia. Following the article, I found this, which I thought might interest you.

    “The plot of Kristin Lavransdatter is an important element in the 2007 Academy Award winning animated short, The Danish Poet.”

  9. Wow Kate, that is interesting, I will have a look for that animated short. I am curious how that would be done, a short piece on a virtual tome!

  10. Found the animated short, loving it.

    Great image of the ship boarding and unboarding, I laughted out loud it was so close to my experience with public vacation spots, lol.

    https://vimeo.com/59917070

  11. I watched The Danish Poet this morning and laughed out loud in quite a number of places. Delightful!