Yikes, I really pruned chapter one hard today. I didn’t have a lot of time to work on it (teaching and meetings with students filled much of my day), but I got at least a symbolic start in on the revisions. I can see now that the chapter is pretty cringe-worthy, and I’m surprised my colleague was so diplomatic in his criticism. It actually kind of sucks in places. It was a little demoralizing, but I figure it can only get better from here, so I’m trying to be optimistic.
In reading the introduction to “Højfjeldsliv” in Henrik Ibsens Skrifter I discovered that Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson also wrote a text inspired by the same Bergslien painting. This was news to me, and may require a desperate note to the editors of the Bjørnson book I’m contributing to, asking if it’s possible to add a footnote at this late date…
It turns on the painting was reproduced in a book called Norske Folkelifsbilleder in 1858 along with a bunch of other paintings with folklore motifs. Each was accompanied by a text by a prominent author of the day (Bjørnson at the time would have been one of the fresh new faces). The book is only available in the library of the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Luckily for me they’re here in Oslo, so I called and got an appointment to look at the book tomorrow afternoon. I’m so excited. I love geeking out like that. Can’t wait to see what Bjørnson wrote. The editors of HIS describe his writing as exhibiting a conservative nynorsk form with an orthography that bordered on Old Norse. Hah! The fact that both Ibsen and Bjørnson wrote ekphrastic texts relating to the painting just strengthens its relevance for the chapter.
Words cut: 3,109 (ouch!)
Words written: 356 (got a ways to go…)