Camilla Collett, Norwegian author, 1813–1895
By Torill Steinfeld, Universitetet i Oslo
During five decades, from the 1840s onward, she published fiction, memoirs and essays. In her novel Amtmandens Døtre (1854–55, “The District Governor’s daughters”), she explores the upbringing of middle class young women, whose lot in life was to be married. Her main point is that the prejudices which inform both women’s and men’s opinions on womanliness and marriage, pervert women’s character, undermine the relationship between women and men and are socially destructive. True love between women and men, therefore, is unattainable within society as it is.
Camilla Collett published numerous essays and books discussing the women situation, dealing both with the small annoyances of women’s everyday life and more general problems, such as for instance the image of women in 19th century novels and prostitution. She was recognized as an important author, but some male critics praised her writing style more than her themes, and quite a few, both men and women, rejected her social criticism. Collett became an icon for the Norwegian women’s right movement of the 1880s. Nowadays Camilla Collett belongs to the Norwegian literary canon and is a celebrated feminist pioneer.
Fiction, memoirs and essays
- Amtmandens Døttre: en Fortælling, 2 vol, anonymous (Chra.: Dahl, 1854–1855)
- I de lange Nætter, anonymous (Christiania: Cappelen, 1863).
- Sidste Blade: Erindringer og Bekjendelser I–III, anonymous (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1868, Christiania: Privately published, 1872, Christiania: Malling, 1873).
- Fra de Stummes Lejr (Christiania: Malling, 1877).
- Mod Strømmen I–II (Copenhagen: Schous, 1879, 1885).
- Samlede verker: Mindeutgave, I–III. (Christiania: Gyldendal, 1913).
Diaries and letters
- Opptegnelser fra Ungdomsaarene, ed. by Leiv Amundsen (Oslo: Gyldendal, 1926).
- Breve fra Ungdomsaarene, ed. by Leiv Amundsen (Oslo: Gyldendal, 1930).
- Frigjørelsens aar, ed. by Leiv Amundsen (Oslo: Gyldendal, 1932).
- Før bryllupet, ed. by Leiv Amundsen (Oslo: Gyldendal, 1933).
Twentieth and twenty-first century editions, published outside Norway
- Dcery vrchního, translated by M. Lesná-Krausová (?V Praze, 1913).
- Amtmannens döttrar, translated by Lena Axelsson (Stockholm: Trevi, 1983)
- Amtmandens Døttre (Charlottenlund: Rosinante, 1986)
- The District Governor's Daughters, translated by Kirsten A. Seaver (Norwich: Norvik 1992, 2008).
- Die Töchter des Amtmanns, introduction and translated by Berit Klein (Siegen: Carl Böschen Verlag, 2000).
- D?šterite na gubernatora, translated by Anjuta Ka?eva (Sofija: Delakort, 2005)
- "Meeting Again," in Female Voices of the North: An Anthology, vol. 2, ed. by Inger M. Olsen and Sven H. Rossel (Vienna: Praesens, 2006).
- "Storyteller Sara," in An Everyday Story: Norwegian Women's Fiction, ed. and translated by Katherine Hanson (Seattle: Seal, 1984).
AsK May 2011
- Portraits of Authors: Camilla Collett >