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Alexander Lange Kielland
Alexander L. Kielland


Alexander Lange Kielland was born in Stavanger 18 February 1849 and dies in Bergen 6 April 1906 and was one of the most famous Norwegian authors of the 19th century.

He grew up in a rich merchant family. Even though he was born rich he had a sincere affection for the less fortunate. And he treated his workers well when he was a factory owner.

He remained a spokesman for the weak and a critic of society throughout his time as a writer. Among his most famous works are the novels "Garman & Worse", "Skipper Worse", and "Poison" (Gift). His short stories are also well known.

Kielland was the younger brother of Norwegian landscape painter Kitty Lange Kielland, and their mutual interactions were important to shaping both as artists.

In Poison (Gift) Kielland debates the hunger for Latin which Norwegian teachers had in this area of time. The story has its peak when a young boy called Marius, is lying on his deathbed, repeating Latin grammar.

It has been debated why Kielland ended his career as a writer so early. Some believe that he was so much of a realist that he could not deal with new-romantic tendencies in Norwegian literature at the end of the 19th century. A more probable reason is that he chose to focus on his politic career.

Tor Obrestad´s biography of Alexander L. Kielland opens up thoughts about Kielland dying from obesity.

Kielland had several heart-attacks, he constantly gained weight and he couldn´t control his great passion for food.

From 1891 Kielland was the burgomaster of his hometown, Stavanger. In 1902 he was designated county governor of Møre & Romsdal.

Alexander L. Kielland is one of the so-called "The Four Greats" in Norwegian literature, along with Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Jonas Lie, although the term was originally coined only as a marketing trick.

Short stories:

  • Novelletter, 1879
  • Nye novelletter, 1880
  • To Novelletter fra Danmark, 1882


  • Garman & Worse, 1880
  • Arbeidsfolk, 1881
  • Else, 1881
  • Skipper Worse, 1882
  • Gift, 1883
  • Fortuna, 1884
  • Sne, 1886
  • Sankt Hans Fest, 1887
  • Jacob, 1891


  • Paa Hjemvejen, 1878
  • Hans Majestæts Foged, 1880
  • Det hele er Ingenting, 1880
  • Tre par, 1886
  • Bettys Formynder, 1887
  • Professoren, 1888


  • Forsvarssagen, 1890
  • Menneker og Dyr, 1891
  • Omkring Napoleon, 1905