Alfred Hauge was born on October 17, 1915, the oldest child of Kolbein Andersson Hauge and Marianne Rasmusdotter Auglend. His mother’s family came from the Jæen district, south of Stavanger, Norway; his father’s family lived at Stjernarøy, an island to the northeast, where Hauge grew up. Both sides of the family were farmers. The area is one of the strongholds of popular pietistic religiosity in Norway, and Hauge early accepted the religious ideas that were present in his surroundings.
Having received his basic education in the public schools at home, Hauge traveled to Bryne, Jæen, at the age of fifteen to attend a college-preparatory school for young people of rural origin. He later transferred to a similar school at Voss, east of Bergen, where, in addition to other academic subjects, he was able to receive instruction in Greek. In 1935, he entered the University of Oslo to study theology. In 1937, however, he gave up theology and entered a teacher’s college, from which he graduated two years later. He first worked as a teacher at a folk high school, then as a literary consultant for a publishing house, and from 1953 as a cultural correspondent for the daily paper Stavanger aftenblad. He married Kirsten Væle on July 27, 1940.
Hauge’s literary debut took place in 1941, when he published Septemberfrost (the frost of September), a historical novel with a message of encouragement to people in occupied Norway. Then came several novels in which the author drew on his intimate knowledge of life in western Norway; their main value lies in their faithful portrayal of a local community at a time of transition from the old agrarian social order to a twentieth century society. Two novels from this period, Ropet (the call) and Ingen kjenner dagen (nobody knows the day), also treat the conflict between religious and artistic demands so keenly felt by the author.
Hauge became internationally known for his Cleng Peerson, a trilogy based on the life of the man who has been called the father of Norwegian emigration to America. Then came the novel Mysterium, the first volume of his unfinished Utstein Monastery cycle, which also includes the poetry collection Det evige sekund and the novels Legenden om Svein og Maria (the legend of Svein and Maria), Perlemorstrand, and Leviathan. Hauge died October 31, 1986, in Stavanger, Norway.