This was the first published work of the Nobel Literature prize-winning author Knut Hamsun and it appeared in 1890. By that time, the author had already spent a decade wandering his native Norway and overseas – he twice visited the USA – living in the poverty that forms the title and theme of this novel. The book is autobiographical in nature (at least to some extent) and is irreverent in tone and in its brevity – my Dover Edition extends to just 134 pages plus a brief introduction from translator George Egerton (this edition was first published in 1921 and some readers may find it date – there are several other editions available which might suit them better). This brevity was quite a shock for the nineteenth century reader, who had become accustomed to works of social realism that generally extended to epic length.
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