Martha Ostenso

Alison Calder (University of Manitoba)
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Martha Ostenso was born 17 September 1900 in Bergen, Norway, to Sigurd and Olina (née Tungeland) Ostenso. She immigrated to the United States with her parents in 1902. The Ostenso family lived in several different towns in South Dakota and Minnesota before moving to Brandon, Manitoba, in 1915, and then to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1917. In 1918 Ostenso spent a year teaching in a rural school, an experience that would be the basis for her first novel. In 1919 she attended the University of Manitoba where she met and fell in love with her English professor, Douglas Durkin, himself a novelist. She moved to New York in 1921 to join him, as he had taken up a position at Columbia University; they would remain together for the rest of their lives. (However, they would be unable to marry until…

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Citation: Calder, Alison. "Martha Ostenso". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001 [, accessed 28 May 2024.]

3438 Martha Ostenso 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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