Kristin Lavransdatter Additional Summary

Sigrid Undset

Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Lavrans Björgulfsön and his wife, Ragnfrid Ivarsdatter, are descended from powerful landowners. Although Kristin was born at her father’s manor, Skog, she spends most of her childhood at Jörundgaard, which falls to Lavrans and Ragnfrid upon the death of Ragnfrid’s father. Kristin’s childhood is exceedingly happy.

A second daughter, Ulvhild, is crippled at the age of three. Lady Aashild, a declared witch-wife, is sent for to help the child. Kristin becomes well acquainted with Lady Aashild that summer.

When she is fifteen years old, Kristin’s father betrothes her to Simon Andresson of Dyfrin. One evening, Kristin slips away to bid good-bye to a childhood playmate, Arne Gyrdson. On her way home, Bentein, Sira Eirik’s grandson, accosts her. She escapes after a fight with him, physically unharmed but mentally tortured. Later that year, Arne is brought home dead after fighting with Bentein over Bentein’s sly insinuations regarding Kristin. Kristin persuades her father to put off the betrothal feast and permit her to spend a year in a convent at Oslo.

Soon after entering the Convent of Nonneseter, Kristin and her bed partner, Ingebjorg Filippusdatter, go into Oslo to shop, accompanied by an old servant. When they become separated from the old man, they are rescued by a group of men riding through the woods. In that manner Kristin meets Erlend Nikulaussön, the nephew of Lady Aashild. In July, Kristin and Erlend meet once more at the St. Margaret’s Festival and that night vow to love each other. The following morning, Kristin learns from Ingebjorg of Eline Ormsdatter, whom Erlend stole from her husband, and by whom Erlend had two children. Later that summer, while visiting her uncle at Skog, Kristin and Erlend meet secretly, and Kristin surrenders to Erlend. During the following winter, Kristin and Erlend manage to meet frequently. In the spring, Kristin tells Simon of her love for Erlend and her desire to end their betrothal. He agrees, much against his will. Lavrans and Ragnfrid unwillingly accept Kristin’s decision.

When Erlend’s kinsmen bring suit for Kristin’s hand in marriage, Lavrans refuses. During the winter Erlend and Kristin plan to elope to Sweden. While they are making their plans at Lady Aashild’s home, Eline overtakes them. Discovered by Erlend when she is trying to give poison to Kristin, she stabs herself. Erlend and Sir Bjorn, Lady Aashild’s husband, put her on a sled and take her south to be buried. Kristin returns home.

The following spring Erlend’s relatives again make a bid for Kristin’s hand, and worn out with suffering—Ulvhild’s death and Kristin’s unhappiness—Lavrans agrees to the betrothal. During Erlend’s visit at Whitsuntide, Kristin becomes pregnant. On the night of the wedding, Lavrans realizes that Kristin already belongs to Erlend. He gives to Erlend what Erlend already possesses.

After her marriage Kristin moves to...

(The entire section is 1205 words.)