Text topic: Lie in Art and Culture
Text author: Софија Кристенсен
This article analyses a mismatch between student reality and fictive depictions of student life, in a classic work of Norwegian literature – Bondestudentar (1883) by Arne Garborg. The novel is translated into English as The Making of Daniel Braut. Addressing the dichotomy between (false) ideals and (true) reality, which is in the center of Garborg’s novel, the article explores Garborg’s critique of the idealist myths about academic life. Romantic representations of the student were, at the time when Garborg was writing his novel, still very much alive in the Norwegian literature and thought. His book seeks to unravel the falseness of these idyllic images, by presenting a “realistic” image of the poor, famished, morally collapsed student. While the first part of the article explores the method by which the story unravels the fictitiousness of the ideas of an “ideal student life”, the second part analyses the readers’ reactions to Garborg’s representations of academic life. Majority of Garborg’s contemporary readers did not acknowledge the fictitiousness of his realistic interpretations, finding them to be true depictions of students in the Norway’s capital, and treating the protagonist of the novel as their contemporary.