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With its angst-ridden, sensualist hero, Anne Garborg's classic, Weary Men, (Trætte Mænd) invites comparison with the classic European decadent novels of the turn of the century—Huysmans's Against the Grain and Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Unlike the protagonists of those novels, however, the hero of Weary Men is treated with irony. And while it is a brilliant novel of ideas, Weary Men has endured primarily because of the acuity with which Garborg explores the roguish main character's psychological makeup.
Originally published in 1891, Weary Men introduces a bachelor nearly middle age named Gabriel Gram, who suffers an existential crisis, considers suicide, but finally finds solace in a religious conversion of questionnable sincerity. Garborg depicts Gram's Kristiania (present day Oslo) in fascinating detail as Gram divides his time between male friends and "new women," a new generation of Norwegian women embolded to walk freely with men in public but who continue to rebuff Gram's sexual advances.
About the Author
ARNE GARBORG (1851–1924), was a Norwegian writer. Garborg championed the use of Landsmål (now known as Nynorsk, or New Norwegian), as a literary language; he translated the Odyssey into it. He founded the weekly Fedraheim in 1877, in which he urged reforms in many spheres including political, social, religious, agrarian, and linguistic. He was married to Hulda Garborg.
"Both painstakingly discursive and persuasively dramatic, this is an impressive confessional work worthy of comparison to Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground and also such later nihilist masterpieces as Hamsun's Mysteries and Gide's The Immoralist." —Raleigh News & Observer
"A rich work." —Kirkus Reviews