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by Johan Borgen

In Lillelord, Norway’s contemporary master Johan Borgen (1902-79) demonstrates his belief that our lives tend toward schizophrenia. Wilfred Sagen at fourteen is still a perfectly turned out, impeccably behaved "Little Lord Fauntleroy" to his family, but to his teachers he is a disruptive enigma and, to a pack of Oslo street urchins, an instigator of crime. In his often desperate search for emotional integration, Wilfred is hampered by an acute and introspective intelligence which only compounds his normal adolescent anxieties. Painfully aware of the split in his own personality, Wilfred longs for wholeness and harmony (personified by the young Jewish violinist, Miriam), but is torn by guilt and the realization that he cannot control either himself or the world.

By the time of his death, Johan Borgen was acclaimed as one of the major figures in twentieth-century Scandinavian literature. He is best known for his Lillelord Trilogy, which deals with the moral and physical degeneration of Wilfred Sagen over three decades. For Borgen, Wilfred’s loss of innocence and fractured existence had their counterparts in the cultural shock experienced by all of Norway through two world wars, the Nazi occupation, and explosive technological change. This English-language edition of Lillelord (1955), the first volume of the Lillelord Trilogy, has been translated by Elizabeth Brown Moen (in Oslo) and Ronald E. Peterson (at Occidental College in Los Angeles). Mr. Peterson has also edited the volume and provided an informative introduction.

Download Lillelord epub
ISBN: 0811208273
ISBN13: 978-0811208277
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Johan Borgen
Language: English
Publisher: New Directions (April 17, 1982)
Pages: 320 pages
ePUB size: 1707 kb
FB2 size: 1621 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 375
Other Formats: mobi lrf doc lit

Schizophrenia is the easiest explanation for Wilfred Sagen's rapid degeneration from a pampered perfect boy - a Norwegian Little Lord Fauntleroy - to a naked fugitive swimming for his life. I think, however, that author Johan Bergen is casting his net wider than the individual 14-year-old boy toying with antisocial behavior. Written in 1955 but set in 1912, Lillelord (Little Lord, as his mother and aunts call him) is a study of anomie that harks back to Leopold and Loeb and looks toward the future, our future, of school shootings and date rape drugs among young people who seem to have the best things of life right in their hands. It's a grim, scary tale, narrated out of the sidelong peripheral vision of Lillelord himself. What begins as drawing room satire slides slowly into chaos, the narrative becoming more and more oblique as the boy loses control of his impulses. It's also a novel of class conflict; young Wilfred, who can do no wrong in his wealthy home, becomes the instigator of petty crime among the lower-class boys to whom he must prove himself. And it's a novel of adolescent sexual awakening gone horribly awry.

Johan Borgen has been little translated into English, though his many books are available in German and French. In fact, Lillelord is the first of a trilogy about Wilfred Sagen, and it stands alone as a powerful novel, but sadly the other two books of the trilogy have never made it to America. Critics suggest that Wilfred's loss of personality integration was the counterpart of the culture shock experienced by all Norwegians between the two World Wars, through the Nazi occupation, and into times of explosive technological change. Politics and world events are scarcely present in the Sagen household in 1912, and of course Nazism is a horror that lies between the 'present' of the narrative and the 'present' of the author. Nevertheless, the reader of 2008 will be excused if she/he perceives Lillelord as a neo-Nazi in germination.

A harsh, ugly story written with consumate psychological insight, Lillelord is a classic of European literature in the 20th Century, one which should be far more widely read.
can't add anything to written above, but You have to read the whole trilogy(lillelord,Dark Streams((?),not sure,title translation might be wrong-I read it in Russian version,and same could apply to the third book-Now There's No Escape(?)),to get the whole picture.
I found a little bit of myself in the neurotic, obsessive boy, Lillelord!
Take a look; you will be surprised at what you discover...
I highly recommend the entire trilogy. It is very well-written and very interesting psychologically.