Kunsten ikke at sulte

Anne Sif Kyhn, Anne Kathrine Behrendt Lau & Rose-Line Mulbjerg Knudsen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This study investigates the Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun’s book Hunger from 1890. The novel is partly being examined in the light of its contemporary time, and the culture and literature surrounding it. The study, of how the novel fits with the general perception of the literary time of the modern and the modernism, seeks to reveal, how Hunger has brought something significant and new to the literary scene. The study incorporates former analyses of Hunger such as Peter Kirkegaard: Knut Hamsun som modernist (1975), Atle Kittang: Air, wind, nothing (1984), Paul Auster: The Art of Hunger (the essay from 1993) and the newly published Hamsuns sultekunstner (2015) by Peer E. Sørensen. The analysis seeks to examine important components in the novel. On the structural level the study focuses on elements such as the tempo, in which the story is being told, and the exceptional narrative, which is remarkable and modern. Furthermore the literary analysis engages in considering elements as, for instance the light and the dark, the meaning of Ylajali, the erotic problems of the main character and the biblical references in the novel. These impact points exposes the modern in Hamsun’s writing. Additionally the meaning of the hunger in Hunger is being analyzed, and put into reference with the philosophy of the can/cannot of art by Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s writing: The Birth of Tragedy (1872) introduces the concept of how art can open up a former level of cannot. In the context of the can/cannot of art unfolds two dimensions. The first dimension being that all art can make its spectators aware of the can/cannot. The second being art that directly thematizes the can/cannot. By applying these different methodical approaches, the study seeks to conclude both how the novel is considered modern – by comparing the novel with the contemporary tendencies in literature – and that the book is still relevant – by investigating the universal problematics in the novel such as eroticism, love, feeling lost and being unable to change one's life. Hunger is, when considering its short length and very economical writing where all unnecessary is absent, a novel with noteworthy lots to say.

UddannelserDansk, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato15 jan. 2015
VejledereCharlotte Engberg


  • Kunst
  • Nietzsche
  • Knut Hamsun
  • Sult