Alas, a bit of research shows that Herr Hamsun did indeed suffer from a case of Nazism. Worse, if that’s possible, he said and did things that rocket him way past “casual flirtation”–like meeting with Joseph Goebbels and then sending Goebbels his Nobel Prize medal as a gift:
Hamsun’s loyalty to the National Socialist New Order in Europe was well appreciated in Berlin, and in May 1943 Hamsun and his wife were invited to visit Joseph Goebbels, a devoted fan of the writer. Both men were deeply moved by the meeting, and Hamsun was so affected that he sent Goebbels the medal which he had received for winning the Nobel Prize for idealistic literature in 1920, writing that he knew of no statesman who had so idealistically written and preached the cause of Europe. Goebbels in return considered the meeting to have been one of the most precious encounters of his life and wrote touchingly in his diary: “May fate permit the great poet to live to see us win victory! If anybody deserved it because of a high-minded espousal of our cause even under the most difficult circumstances, it is he.” The following month Hamsun spoke at a conference in Vienna organized to protest against the destruction of European cultural treasures by the sadistic Allied terror-bombing raids. He praised Hitler as a crusader and a reformer who would create a new age and a new life. Then, three days later, on June 26, 1943, his loyalty was rewarded with a personal and highly emotional meeting with Hitler at the Berghof. As he left, the 84 year-old Hamsun told an adjutant to pass on one last message to his Leader: “Tell Adolf Hitler: we believe in you.”
Fucking hell. This doesn’t quite answer the question of whether I should read Hamsun or not, but to say it dampens my enthusiasm (in advance) would be an understatement.
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