1 November 2023 Susannah

Book Addict Admires a Literary Statue – Amalie Skram

Statue of writer Amalie Skram

In the beautiful city of Bergen in Norway stands a statue of a most interesting author, Amalie Skram. Amalie (1846 – 1905) was born in Bergen and became a brave feminist novelist and writer. She had a difficult childhood when the family lost money and her father left for America, and she was then pressured into marriage with Bernt Mũller, a ship’s captain, with whom she travelled to Australia. The marriage was not happy and she suffered a serious breakdown. She obtained a divorce and later married again.

Not all Amalie’s novels have been translated into English. She is best known for her tetralogy Hellemyrsfolket (The People of Hellemyr) which portrays a Norwegian family over four generations. She was a pioneering feminist author, who gave married women a voice.

A life-sized bronze statue of her by Maja Refsum was unveiled in Bergen in 1949. She looks strong and determined, is elegantly dressed and looks as if she knows where she is going.

Today a prize in her name is awarded annually to Norwegian writers who show particular skill in addressing women’s issues, and she has appeared on a Norwegian postage stamp.

What do you think of this statue? Tell me by leaving a comment here.

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Header image- Statue of writer Amalie Skram by Maja Refsum, by Wolfmann – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53671771
Body image- Amalie Skram in 1905, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2122646

Comments (7)

  1. Anne Abbink

    I must search out her books. I enjoy Scandinavian authors, and movies and tv series. The statue of Amelie is beautiful. She looks so elegant but at the same time it captures her strength and determination.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I do wish her trilogy had been translated into English. I agree she looks a determined woman. She had a hard life and I’d love to know more about her time in Australia.

  2. Margi

    It looks lovely, depicting strength and determination. SO much nicer than the Ibsen statue also in Bergen which is absolutely awful. Worst literary statue in the world?

    • Susannah Fullerton

      It’s not a great statue of Ibsen, but my contender for worst author statue is the new one of Mary Wollstonecraft in London which I wrote about in my newsletter earlier this year. Truly dire – it depicts her, naked, emerging from a rock.

  3. Carmel Harris

    My Viking cruise ship was docked in Bergen for a few days in 2022. Perhaps they could include a Norwegian Literary Tour within their shore excursions so that passengers could view this statue.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Or people could book for my Scandinavian Literary Tour which covers so many fabulous literary places.

  4. Vanessa Coldwell

    I have to admit that I have never heard of her. There is another Norwegian feminist writer (modern, though) I like (she isn’t very well known outside of Norway: Gerd Brantenberg. Her book Egalia’s Daughter is a personal favourite of mine.

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