The History of Literature #206 – Karl Ove Knausgaard


Since the publication of the first volume of his massive novel Mein Kampf (or My Struggle) in 2009, Karl Ove Knausgaard (1968- ) has become a household name in his native Norway – and a loved and hated literary figure around the world. Thanks to that six-volume book, plus another four-volume work titled after the four seasons, Knausgaard has drawn comparisons ranging from Marcel Proust to a blogger on steroids. For some, he is the avatar of a new kind of writing, or a new kind of novel, a pioneer who has advanced the novel into territory perfectly suited for the twenty-first century. For others, he is a hack, a charlatan, a navel-gazing fraud who barely deserves the title of novelist, let alone the acclaim or esteem that many have accorded him.

What do we make of Karl Ove Knausgaard? Why should we give his books our time? What’s the best way to read him? And can we strip away the sturm und drang surrounding his books and see them with any kind of clarity? In this episode, Mike Palindrome, President of the Literature Supporter Club, joins Jacke to help sort through one of the most polarizing figures in contemporary world literature.

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2 thoughts on “The History of Literature #206 – Karl Ove Knausgaard

  1. Hi! I’m just starting out listening to your podcast. I’m really enjoying it!!! Thanks so much for your efforts. I think you have a lot of helpful and thought provoking insights. I’m glad to be on board. I just listened to your episodes on homer and saphos. And was thinking about the divergence between writers who focus on intimate matters of love and writers whose focus is on adventure and quests and stuff like that. And just this morning I was reading act one scene one of the two gentlemen of verona, and there was Shakespeare breaking this divergence down for me in the dramatic parting of the two friends, one bound to see the world, the other to stay at home with his hearts love. Of course, Shakespeare was on both paths throughout his artistic career which is partly why we love him so.


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