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Mysteries (Anglais) Broché – 27 février 1992

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3,7 étoiles sur 5 39 commentaires provenant des USA

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Description du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

'Mysteries' is a classic of European literature, one of the seminal novels of the twentieth century. It is the story of Johan Nagel, a strange youg man who arrives to spend a summer in a small Norwegian coastal town. His presence acts as a catalyst for the hidden impulses, concealed thoughts and darker instincts of the local people. Cursed with the ability to understand the human soul, especially his own, Nagel can foresee, but cannot prevent, his own sef-destruction.

Biographie de l'auteur

Knut Hamsun was born in 1859 in Norway and after a period of travel he published his first successful novel, Hunger, in 1890. It became a sensation and as Isaac Bashevis Singer commented "the whole modern school of fiction in the twentieth century stems from Hamsun." He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1920 and died in 1952.

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Amazon.com: 3.7 étoiles sur 5 39 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The mysteries of life 13 juin 2010
Par P. J. Owen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Mysteries tells the story Johan Nagel, a young man who mysteriously appears in a small coastal Norwegian town, unsettles it with his bizarre behavior, and then disappears just as abruptly.

Mysteries does not have a proper plot. Instead the narrative simply follows Nagel as he interacts with the townspeople. Hamsun believed fiction should delve into the intricacies of the human mind, and like the human mind, should move and change directions moment to moment. He didn't think a character should have one dominant trait, which was the fictional mode of his time, but should reflect real life by having many, shifting, and often conflicting traits. Thus we spend a lot of time on the roller coaster ride of Nagel's inner thoughts, which could be alternately reasonable and crazy, arrogant and humble, self-righteous and cruel.

As the title implies, there are many mysteries here. Nagel does not reveal a complete history of himself, and when he does reveal something, it's often in an obtuse way. Sometimes we catch Nagel in lies, and we feel as befuddled and intrigued by him as the townspeople who are also trying to figure him out. But Nagel also catches some of them out in their own lies, and this is where the novel gets interesting, as we learn that they are as unique and conflicted as Nagel.

The main storylines here are Nagel's love for the town's engaged beauty, Dagny, who Nagel harasses while her betrothed is away (he is a military man), and his interest in The Midget, who, as the nickname implies, is a much-maligned midget. Nagel's love is not so surprising given the young woman's charm and beauty. (as Nagel arrives in town, another man has just committed suicide over her just announced engagement) What is surprising is Dagny's response to him, which some might find conflicted enough to explain Nagel's madness for her by itself. In the Midget, Nagel seems to find a project. When he first sees the Midget, he's being picked on. Nagel tries to show The Midget respect to counter his treatment at the hands of the rest of the town, but The Midget resists. Why is this? In these two storylines, we see all the complexities of human relationships, the highs that human nature can attain as well as the lows, and the sometimes inhuman indifference we can sometimes feel for others, as well as ourselves.

Hamsun is not popular here in America for his style, which eschews plot for sometimes rambling emotional narrative. (Hamsun is one of those many cases in art where an influence of more popular artists is neglected in comparison to the influenced. Hamsun influenced many of the giants of early twentieth century literature, including Faulkner, Hemingway, Kafka and Joyce.) But, even if this style doesn't appeal to you, I think you'll find many redeeming qualities in his writing. His prose is lyrical, often lyrical enough to pull you through some of the longer voyages of thought. And he reaches for high goals, no less a one than to understand the human mind. This is a noble cause in itself, but what makes him genius is his accuracy in reflecting it. When one finishes reading Mysteries, some mysteries still remain, but we feel like we know more than we did before about human nature, and that's important. If you've never read Hamsun before, he's worth a look.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The more you see, the less you understand... 15 décembre 2008
Par Mark Nadja - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
An eccentric stranger comes to a small Norwegian town and proceeds to shock, bewilder, and beguile its bourgeoisie inhabitants with his bizarre behavior, feverish rants, and uncompromising self-revelations.

Mysteries is, perhaps, Hamsun best novel--the fullest, most effective expression of his major preoccupation with social hypocrisy and personal honesty--a novel that illustrates, as do all Hamsun's to one extent or another, Schopenhauer's maxim that a man is only himself when alone. In Johannes Nagel, Hamsun has created a man divided against himself, as we all are, but so hyper-aware of his own inherent duplicity that his very existence is a kind of exquisite torture between opposites. He's dishonest even when he's being brutally honest, selfish even when he's selflessly giving, base even when acting nobly.

Nagel is never free of his awareness of the psychological shadow that dogs everything he thinks and does, the reaction to every action, the no to every yes. No motive--and no man--is pure; and Nagel feels compelled to point out this fact constantly in his own dealings with everyone he meets.

The things we do and think that we'd never tell a soul? Nagel blurts them right out. He has a kind of spiritual Tourette's syndrome. He pushes his worst side forward as if to dare us, as if to say, "love one side, love the other, they are both mine."

Naturally, the conventional, one-sided townsfolk, each of who keeps his or her own ugly shadow-twin carefully hidden from public view (and hidden even from themselves), don't know what to make of someone as ruthlessly self-critical as Nagel. After all, few people ever seriously consider whether "maybe it's me!"

He's not in town long before he becomes hopelessly infatuated with the unavailable fiancée of a naval officer away on duty. This woman has already been the rumored cause of one young man's recent suicide. Nagel, while scorning the young man's melodramatic self-demise, seems nevertheless to be rapidly heading in the same direction in spite of himself. Because for Hamsun, much of what we do is in spite of ourselves and even to spite ourselves. It's a theme Hamsun has also explored in two other great novels, Hunger and Pan.

Mysteries is an unusual novel. It doesn't have a follow-the-dot plot. Nagel is given to wild flights of fancy, to telling stories, and recounting dreams that are symbolic and tangential to the main storyline and may not even be true. In the end one isn't sure what to make of Nagel--and that's to be expected. Nagel doesn't know what to make of himself--or anyone else. That is the "mystery" in Mysteries--the ultimate unknowability that each of us represents--to each other and to ourselves.

Hamsun gives voice to both the dilemma and the despair of the insoluble puzzle of identity and does it in language that is surprisingly straightforward--and ephemerally subtle. It may be that few, if any, have done a better job at dissecting human character to lay bare the mystery at the core of our being than Hamsun--a mystery that eludes even the sharpest of scalpels. A vivisection that, like all, leave behind a corpse and more questions than answers.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Unforgettable, Nagel! 25 juillet 2010
Par Shogo Onoe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is Hamsun's masterpiece. A stranger suddenly appears in a small town and performed a number of extraordinary things. His name is Jon Nilsen Nagel. He is hopelessly different from other people and is an eternal-living contradiction. He contradicts everyone and everything under the sun; he does not understand why other people think as he does.
He falls in love with two women. Despite of his fervent efforts, he cannot have them. He seems to be able to read people's mind; he understands human beings' true nature more than anybody else. He is totally stranger to this earth and ultimately an outsider. Even Nagel is not his real name...
This is my favorite book and reread so many times. You cannot forget Nagel when you finish reading this book!
4 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Marred by an unbelievable and pathetic protagonist 1 juin 2009
Par R. M. Peterson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Based on my appreciation of other novels by Knut Hamsun and the near unanimity of favorable reviews of MYSTERIES here on the Amazon site, I fully expected to enjoy this novel. Alas, it didn't measure up to expectations. Were I writing this review and awarding Amazon stars a century ago, I might well have been more enthusaistic and perhaps even have awarded the book five stars. The novel certainly presents a memorable young protagonist, thoroughly disaffected with modern life. But unease with society and life itself has become a familiar theme in the 100+ years since MYSTERIES was published, and many more recent novels handle that theme better, less verbosely, and through a much more convincing protagonist.

And it is the protagonist, Johan Nilsen Nagel, that is the biggest problem with MYSTERIES. As in initial matter, he is so eccentric that, to me, he is not a believable character. Putting that aside and accepting him as he is presented, Nagel is extremely self-centered and arrogant, and he is irresponsible and unreliable. He is at odds with the world and as a result he ends up toying with his life (which, although not ennobling, is his prerogative) and with other people (which is not). I recently read another Scandinavian novel from roughly the same time, "The Serious Game" by Hjalmar Soderberg, and it is interesting to contrast the protagonist of that novel, Arvid Starjblom, with Nagel. The two experience some of the same existential dilemmas -- including the mysterious and destructive compulsion of romantic love -- yet Starjblom does not abjectly surrender and he retains some honor and dignity. Maybe it is that Starjblom has a conscience whereas Nagel is utterly self-absorbed and unscrupulous, even nihilistic. Nagel ultimately comes to a bad end, but he is such a pathetic character that I was not particularly bothered by his comeuppance.

Hamsun sprinkles MYSTERIES with a few noteworthy observations on the politics and society of his time, including the pithy critique of Marxism that it is based on "a false premise--namely, that all men are equal." But the quality of the writing is not of the first order. The novel is simply too long, too filled with Nagel's mental histrionics and his natterings. On the plus side, this edition includes an introduction by Sven Birkerts and an afterword by Isaac Bashevis Singer, both of which are worthwhile.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Just like the title says 18 mars 2014
Par wavepainter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
One of my favorite books by Hamsun. Read it and you may discover why for yourself.
There is something here for everyone.
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