The battle of Waterloo and other stories; (1891) PDF book

The battle of Waterloo and other stories; PDF book (1891)  by  Alexander Kielland



The battle of Waterloo and other stories; PDF book

From Wikipedia
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time.
Date: June 18, 1815
Result: Decisive Coalition victory


Excerpt of the book's introduction:


In June 1867, about a hundred enthusiastic youths were vociferously celebrating the attainment of the baccalaureate degree at the University of Norway. The orator on this occasion was a tall, handsome, distinguished-looking young man named Alexander Kiel land, from the little coast-town of Stavanger. There was none of the crudity of a provincial either in his manners or his appearance. He spoke with a quiet self-possession and a pithy incisiveness which were altogether phenomenal. "That young man will be heard from one of these days," was the unanimous verdict of those who listened to his clear-cut and finish- ed sentences, and noted the maturity of his opinions. But ten years passed, and outside of Stavanger no one ever heard of Alexander Kielland. His friends were aware that he had studied law, spent some winters in France, married, and settled himself as a dignitary in his native town.


It was understood that he had bought a large brick and tile factory, and that, as a manufacturer of these useful articles, he bid fair to become a provincial magnate, as his fathers had been before him. People had almost forgotten that great things had been expected of him; and some fancied, perhaps, that he had been spoiled by prosperity. remembering him, as I did, as the most brilliant and notable personality among my university friends, I began to apply to him Malloch's epigrammatic damnation of the man of whom it was said at twenty that he would do great things, at thirty that he might do great things, and at forty that he might have done great things.


This was the frame of mind of those who remembered Alexander Kielland (and he was an extremely difficult man to forget), when in the year 1879  modest volume of " novelettes" appeared, bearing his name. It was, to all appearances, a light performance, but it revealed a sense of style which made it, nevertheless, notable.

 No man had ever written the Norwegian language as this man wrote it. There was a lightness of touch, a perspicacity, an epigrammatic sparkle and occasional flashes of wit, which seemed altogether un-Norwegian. It was obvious that this author was familiar with the best French writers, and had acquired through them that clear and crisp incisiveness of utterance which was supposed, hitherto, to be untransferable to any other tongue.

As regards the themes of these " novelettes " (from which the present collection is chiefly made up), it was remarked at the time of their first appearance that they hinted at a more serious purpose than their style seemed to imply. Who can read, for instance, " Pharaoh" (which in the original is entitled "A Ball Mood ") without detecting the revolutionary note which trembles quite audibly through the calm and unimpassioned language? There is, by-the-way, a little touch of melodrama in this tale which is very unusual with Kielland. " Romance and Reality," too, is glaringly at variance with the conventional romanticism in its satirical contrasting of the pre-matrimonial and the post- matrimonial view of love and marriage.

The same persistent tendency to present the wrong side as well as the right side — ^and not, as literary good manners are supposed to prescribe, ignore the former — is obvious in the charming tale "At the Fair," where a little spice of wholesome truth spoils the thoughtlessly festive mood; and the squalor, the want, the envy, hate, and greed which prudence and a regard for business compel the performers to disguise to the public, become the more cruelly visible to the visitors of the little alleyway at the rear of the tents. In "A Good Conscience " the satirical note has a still more serious ring; but the same admirable self-restraint which, next to the power of thought and expression, is the happiest gift an author's fairy godmother can bestow upon him, saves Kielland from saying too much — from enforcing his lesson by marginal comments, A la George Eliot. But he must be obtuse, indeed, to whom this reticence is not more eloquent and effective than a page of philosophical moralizing.

Author: Alexander Kielland
Translator: Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen,
 Publication Date: 1891


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