Saturday, January 14, 2012

Weird Tales from Scandinavia

Alexander L. Kielland
Novelist, Playwright, Short Story Writer, Politician
Born February 18, 1849, Stavanger, Norway
Died April 6, 1906, Bergen, Norway

For Weird Tales
"Siesta" (Nov. 1930)

Alexander Lange Kielland came from a family prominent in Norwegian business, politics, and the arts. He is considered one of the great Norwegian writers of the nineteenth century for his plays, novels, and short stories. Kielland's career as a published writer was relatively short, the bulk of his work coming out between 1878 and 1891. In later years, he added to his own personal bulk through his great appetite. Kielland was elected mayor of his hometown and later served as a county governor. He died at age fifty-six, but not before seeing his story "Siesta" published in the book Modern Ghosts in 1890. Weird Tales reprinted the story in November 1930.

Alexander Kielland, fruit rancher in Cashmere, Washington, was obviously not Alexander Kielland, Norwegian author, but I couldn't pass up the chance to show a fruit label, maybe my last chance to do so on this blog. Likewise, Alexander L. Kielland the author was not Alexander L. Kielland the Norwegian oil drilling rig that capsized in 1980, killing 123. The rig and the writer however both originated in Stavanger.
Artist Kitty Kielland (1843-1914) was the sister of Alexander Kielland . Here is her Paris Interior (1881). The title is a little deceptive, for the painting is part still life, part interior, part landscape, and even part genre painting. If you look backward to Jan Vermeer and forward to Edward Hopper, you might see some affinities.
Sommernatt by Kitty Kielland.
Text and captions copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

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