New Norwegian Translation of Brideshead

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has published a review of a new Norwegian translation of Brideshead Revisited (“Gjensyn sed Brideshead“). The translation is by Johanne Fronth-Nygren and is based on Waugh’s 1959 revision of the text. The book is published by Gyldendal. The only Norwegian version up to now was based on the original 1945 edition, and Waugh’s explanation for why he changed the original was not available. 

The review is entitled “Evelyn Waugh: the Writer who Excused his own Work” (“Forfatteren som unnskyldlte sitt eget verk“) and relies heavily on Waugh’s introduction to the 1959 revision. The reviewer (Anne Merthe K. Prinos) sees this publication as part of the renewed interest in country house novels, citing other recent examples by Allan Hollinghurst, Ian McEwen and Sarah Waters as well as the Downton Abbey TV series. She explains how the country house affects the “literary productivity” of the story–the larger the house and the more the inhabitants, the greater the possibilities for plot twists. The country house also plays a symbolic function by representing the upper class hegemony in England.  

The translation is described as elegant. The translator explains that conveying the love story between Charles and Julia was relatively easy but that it was harder to interpret the ending where they must part due to religion. As a Roman Catholic, Waugh considered this a happy ending, but this is too subtle for the non-believing reader. The translator concludes that the book can only be understood when one rereads (or revisits) it (“ved giensynet“).

The translation of the Aftenpost article was by Google and any suggestions from readers to improve the summary or the specific Norwegian quotes in the posting are welcome in the form of comments as provided below. 

UPDATE (23 March 2017): See comment below from the translator of the book Johanne Fronth-Nygren. The posting has been slightly revised. Many thanks for these comments.

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