Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson: Magnhild [Dust] (1093 words)

Kathryn Jane Rees (University of Cambridge)
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This novel explores the issue of the unequal marriage, a theme also taken up in plays such as The Newly Married Couple (1865), The Gauntlet (1883) and Laboremus (1901). Magnhild highlights the problem of poor and uneducated women being pressurized into marriages with older disabled men (see, for instance, In God’s Way).

At the age of eight or nine, Magnhild’s life was changed by a landslide which swept away her fourteen relatives and her home, the “gard”. Her remarkable survival gives rise to the notion that Magnhild “must be destined to something” (12), a leitmotif that runs through the novel. The local priest, “in order to set a good example&…

Rees, Kathryn Jane. "Magnhild". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 June 2017
[, accessed 18 March 2018.]

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