Nevertheless, it is not as if Knaplund associated closely with the key figure in that scene, William Appleman Williams, whose book The Tragedy of American Diplomacy appeared in On the other side of the ocean Professor Skard and his colleagues in American Studies at the university of Oslo were early critics of the Vietnam war, expressing their indignation in letters to the American Embassy in Oslo and to Norwegian newspapers.
In this situation, according to Gullikson, the the growth of academic studies on American literature and culture in Norway promoted by Skard and others fulfilled an essential function to keep that dream alive. Firstly, he was interested in settlement patterns in North America, in this case Canada. Secondly, he was always intrigued with anyone such as Lord Selkirk who offered a solution to the vexatious Irish problem, in this case by recruiting poor Irishmen to settle in Canada. As a result, it was agreed that the best source of such types was not Ireland, but Norway and Sweden.
These men were probably sailors or soldiers who had been interned or imprisoned during the Napoleonic wars.
Knaplund noted English and Norwegian elites often viewed colonials in an unfavorable light, seeing them as crude, boring, lacking in spirituality and possessing little culture. Lyche developed a very favourable view of Americans during his long stay in America, coming to know people of all classes from railroad workers to graduates of Harvard Divinity School. In , he returned to Norway and began editing a periodical, Kringsjaa , which was mainly devoted to telling Norwegians about American life and history. Kringsjaa had at one point over five-thousand subscribers, and Skard later described Lyche as one of the most distinctive of the transatlantic cultural intermediaries between Norway and America.
He successfully avoided his conviction and the death sentence by pleading the infirmities of old age, loss of sight and hearing. Hamsun believed that Nazism was a way out of the self-indulgence and social anarchy of Western democracies. At the same time Hamsun had strong individualistic ideas which were antithetical with Nazism. Knaplund could only suggest that his complex personality may have been created by some psychological stress and trauma as young man, when he came under the control of a violent and exploitative uncle.
Sigmund Skard basically agreed, Seeing Hamsun as one of the most important intermediaries between Norwegian and American culture. Anderson , attracted the serious attention of both Paul Knaplund and Sigmund Skard. In Knaplund published a long article on Anderson, the famed scholar and diplomat who had been born of Norwegian immigrant parents in Dane County, Wisconsin. Why did Knaplund and Skard focus on Anderson? Knaplund wrote:. In intellect and character Anderson was a compound of many traits, strangely mixed.
An eager student, a resourceful writer, an adroit conversationalist, he explored numerous fields.
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He could be frank as well as secretive, rash and tenacious, impulsive and yet had an eye for the main chance. A born crusader, he was fearless, pugnacious, and zealous. Although extremely self-centered and sometimes vengeful, he could be both interesting and winsome in social intercourse. Anderson was probably the only student ever expelled from Luther College for non-academic or moral reasons. He also introduced courses in the Norwegian language and in a chair was established in Scandinavian languages.
By his own example Knaplund set the standards for many of his students and future historians in his insistence on a careful analysis of primary sources. Knaplund played a key role at the University of Wisconsin in passing on his immigrant experience to others, contributing to the combination of Norwegian and American cultures along the way. But while Skard was intrigued enough in the United States to devote his entire life to studying it, Knaplund went further by emigrating to that country, working himself up to a position of some stature, and along the way immersing himself in the local culture.
This text is under a Creative Commons license : Attribution-Noncommercial 2. European journal of American studies. Contents - Previous document - Next document. Index terms Top of page. Outline 1.
Describing the Immigrant Experience. Chronicling the Emigration Experience. Full text PDF Send by e-mail. Introduction 1 Paul Knaplund , long -time Professor of History and Chair at the University of Wisconsin, was one of the great and famous scholars of the British Empire. She had been a student in several of his history classes. A few months earlier the University of Minnesota had denied him entry into their Graduate School, because the Dean had never heard of Red Wing Seminary.
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