A Beautiful Writer

I want to write like Knut Hamsun, which is always in my mind. I have read a great deal of books in my life and admired a number of writers, but Hamsun is the most on whom I have gotten influenced. I have never read such a beautiful writer like him. Even I went further to study his books line by line so that I could hopefully find a magic of his writing. Isaac Bashevis Singer expressed his admiration, “The whole modern school of fiction in the twentieth century stems from Hamsun. They were all Hamsun`s disciplines: Thomas Mann and Arthur Schnitzier… and even such American writers as Fitzgerald and Hemingway.” The first time my eyes laid on Pan, I was astonished at Hamsun`s elegant poetic style, which contains a harmony found only in the highest types of poetry. I was entirely captivated by his beautiful world and read it four times in a row. Here is one of my favorite chapters from Pan:

What more is there for me to write? I didn’t fire a shot for several days, I had no food, nor did I eat anything; I sat in my shack. Eva was taken to the church in Mr. Mack`s white- painted house boat, I went overland and showed up at the graveside.

Eva is dead. Do you remember her little girlish head with hair like a nun`s? She came so quietly, put down her load and smiled. And did you see how that smile sparkled with life? Shut up, Aesop! I remember a strange legend from generations back, in Iselin`s time, when Stamer was person.

A maiden was imprisoned in a stone tower. She loved a lord. Why? Ask the wind and the stars, ask the god of life; for no one else knows these things. And the lord was her friend and her lover; but time passed, and one fine day he saw someone else and his heart turned away.

As a youth he loved the maiden. Often he called her his bliss and his dove, and her embrace was hot and heaving. He said, Give me your heart! And she did so. He said, May I ask you for something, my love? And she answered, in raptures, Yes. She gave him all, and yet he never thanked her.

The other one he loved like a slave, like a madman and a beggar. Why? Ask the dust on the road and the falling leaves, ask life`s mysterious god; for no one else knows these things. She gave him nothing, no, nothing did she give him, and yet he thanked her. She said, Give me your peace and your sanity. And he only grieved that she didn’t ask for his life.

And the maiden was put in the tower….

What are you doing, maiden, you`re smiling?

I`m thinking of something from ten years ago. That was when I met him.

You remember him still?

I remember him still.

And time passes….

What are you doing, maiden? And why are you smiling?

I’m sewing his name on his table linen.

Whose name? Of him who shut you up?

Yes, of him I met twenty years ago.

You remember him still?

I remember him the same as ever.

And time passes….

What are you doing, prisoner?

I`m growing old and can no longer see to sew, I scrape the plaster from the wall. From the plaster I`ll form a jar, as a small present to him.

Of whom are you speaking?

Of my lover, of him who shut me up in the tower.

He shut you up and you smile at it?

I`m wondering what he will say now. Look, look, he will say, my sweetheart has sent me a little jar, she hasn`t forgotten me after thirty years.

And time passes….

What, prisoner! You`re doing nothing and you smile?

I`m growing old, growing old, my eyes are blind, I do nothing but think.

Of him that you met forty years ago?

Of him that I met when I was young. Maybe it was forty years ago.

But don’t you know that he`s dead? You turn pale, old one, you do not answer, your lips are white, you don`t breathe anymore….

Well, thus went the strange legend of the maiden in the tower. Wait a little, Aesop, I forgot something: one day she heard her lover`s voice in the courtyard and she fell on her knees and blushed. She was then forty years old….

I bury you, Eva, and humbly kiss the sand on your grave. A rich, roseate memory glides through my heart when I think of you, it’s as though I’m showered with blessings when I remember your smile. You gave all, your very all, and it cost you no effort, for you were the exuberant child of life itself. Yet others, who are chary even of glances, may possess all my thoughts. Why? Ask the twelve months and the ships in the sea, ask the mysterious god of the heart….

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