Critical Evaluation

(Essentials of European Literature)

Six novels in all make up the complete story of THE PEOPLE OF JUVIK: THE TROUGH OF THE WAVE, THE BLIND MAN, THE BIG WEDDING, ODIN IN FAIRYLAND, ODIN GROWS UP, and THE STORM. Each novel may be read separately, but together they provide a rich and moving chronicle of Norwegian life through more than six generations. Although the novel proper stretches back over several hundred years, the main story tells of the people who lived at Juvik and Haaberg from 1800 until 1918. The scene is the district of Namdal, north of Trondheim, where Olav Duun was born and where he grew up. A family saga of the region, comparable to the old Icelandic family histories such as the STURLUNGA SAGA, the novel follows the old Norse tales in tone and narrative technique. Duun’s methods were matter of fact, lighted by a great deal of local color, superstitions, customs, crafts, set against a realistic background. The characters who people the novel also resemble the heroic figures of the old epics, for they trace their line of descent from ancestors who figured in tales of heroic and even superhuman deeds. The language used by Duun was the landsmaal, the language of the common people of Norway, as opposed to the riksmaal, the more commonly used literary language of Heinrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun, and others.

Duun’s THE PEOPLE OF JUVIK, though a work of the twentieth century, has been compared in style...

(The entire section is 467 words.)