Fosse, Jon 1959-

views updated

Fosse, Jon 1959-


Born September 29, 1959, in Haugesund, Norway. Education: M.A.


Home—Bergen, Norway.


Author. Taught at the Academy of Writing, until 1992.


Norsk Kulturraads Ærespris, 2003; named a Chevalier by the French government; best foreign playwright, Theater Heute magazine.



Og aldri skal vi skiljast (title means "And We'll Never Be Parted"; also see below), Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1994.

Namnet (title means "The Name"; also see below), 1995.

Barnet (title means "The Child"; also see below), 1996.

Nokon kjem til as komme (title means "Someone Is Going to Come"; also see below), Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1996.

Mor og barn (title means "Mother and Child"; also see below), 1997.

Sonen (title means "The Son"; also see below), 1997.

Gittarmannen (title means "The Guitar Man"; also see below), Monolog 1998.

Natta syng sine songar (title means "The Night Is Singing Its Songs"), Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1998, published as Nightsongs, Oberon (London, England), 2002.

Medan lyset gâr ned og alt blir svart (title means "Meanwhile the Lights Go Down and Everything Becomes Black"; also see below), 1999.

Ein sommars dag (title means "A Summer's Day"; also see below), 1999.

Draum om hausten (title means "Dream of Autumn"; also see below), 1999.

Teaterstykke 1, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1999.

Besak; Vinter; Ettermiddag: tre skodespel (title means "Visits; Winter; Afternoon"; also see below), Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2000.

Sov du vesle barnet mitt (title means "Sleep My Baby Sleep"; also see below), 2000.

Teaterstykke 2, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2001.

Vakkert (title means "Beautiful"; also see below), 2001.

Dadsvariasjonar (title means "Death Variations"; also see below), Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2002.

The Girl on the Sofa, English version by David Harrower from a literal translation by Neil Howard and Tonje Gotschalksen, Oberon Books (London, England), 2002, published as Jenta i sofaen, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2003.

Dei døde hundane: Sa ka la, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2005.

Svevn; Varmt, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2005.


Plays One (includes Someone Is Going to Come, The Name, The Guitar Man, and The Child), Oberon Books (London, England), 2004.

Plays Two (includes A Summer's Day, Dream of Autumn, and Winter), Oberon Books (London, England), 2004.

Plays Three (includes Mother and Child, Sleep My Baby Sleep, Afternoon, Beautiful, and Death Variations), translated by May-Brit Akerholt, Oberon Books (London, England), 2004.

Plays Four (includes And We'll Never Be Parted, The Son, Visits, and Meanwhile the Lights Go Down and Everything Becomes Black), translated by Louis Muinzer and May-Brit Akerholt, (Oberon Books (London, England), 2006.


Raudt, svart, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1983.

Stengd gitar, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1985.

Flaskesamlaren, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1991.

Bly og vatn, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1992.

To forteljingar, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1993.

Dyrehagen Hardanger, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1993.

Prosa fras ein oppvekst, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1994.

Melancholia, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1995, translated by Grethe Kvernes and Damion Searls as Melancholy, Dalkey Archive Press (Rochester, NY), 2006.

Nye dikt, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1997.

(With Camilla Warenskjold) Eldre kortare prosa, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1998.

Morgon og kveld (title means "Morning and Night"; also see below) Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2000.

Det er Ales, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2004.


Fras telling via showing til writing (essays), Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1989.

Hund og engel (poems), Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1992.

Gnostiske essay, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1999.

Traum im Herbst (television play), 2001.

Auge i vind (poems), Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 2003.

Fosse's works have been translated into forty languages.


Norwegian Jon Fosse is a prolific novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright. Many of his plays have been produced and performed on stages throughout Norway and the rest of Europe. While most of his works have been written in his native language, a number have been translated into English. Melancholy, for one, is a three-part novel written in an often disjointed, stream-of-consciousness style. It is based on the life of Norwegian artist Lars Hertervig, a painter of lush landscapes who endured the ravages of mental illness through the mid-1800s and died penniless in 1902. In the novel, Fosse explores the debilitating effects of the events of a single day as they lead up to Hertervig's mental breakdown into what was likely schizophrenia. Hertervig, a student at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf, Germany, is nearly paralyzed by doubts about his own talent; he also suffers from an unrequited love for the fifteen-year-old Helene Winckelman, the daughter of his landlady. Eventually evicted, he is plagued by hallucinations and mental problems. The second part of the novel finds Hertervig incarcerated in the oppressive Gausted Asylum in Norway, from which he plots his escape. The last part of the novel describes the profound effects that Hertervig's art has on Vidme, a writer living in the late twentieth century.

A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that "many gorgeous passages and Fosse's pursuit of the ‘glimmer of the divine’ in art make this a powerful book." Karen Walton Morse, writing in Library Journal, remarked that the stream-of-consciousness prose offers readers an "inside look deep into the mind of the neurotic and deeply troubled protagonist."

Fosse told CA: "My failure as a musician, and my feeling that life was too big, made me start writing. It is much more a musical than an intellectual act. It is an act of listening, not of expressing."

When asked what influences his work, he said: "My daily view of the sea, when writing."

When asked the most surprising thing he has learned as a writer, Fosse said: "That I was able to write for the theatre."

When asked which of his books is his favorite, he said: "Perhaps Morgon og kveld ("Morning and Night"). I think I manage something strange there."



Austin Chronicle, November 24, 2006, Jess Sauer, review of Melancholy.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006, review of Melancholy, p. 922.

Library Journal, October 15, 2006, Karen Walton Morse, review of Melancholy, p. 51.

Publishers Weekly, September 11, 2006, review of Melancholy, p. 35.


Jacket Magazine, (April 2, 2007), biography of Jon Fosse.

Words without Borders, (April 2, 2007), biography of Jon Fosse.