Lie, Jonas 1833–1908(?)

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Lie, Jonas 1833–1908(?)

(Jonas Lauritz Idemil Lie)

PERSONAL: Born November 6, 1833, in Drammen (some sources say Hokksund), Norway; married; wife's name, Thomasine; died near Oslo, Norway, July 5, 1908 (some sources say 1909).

CAREER: Lawyer, journalist, poet, playwright, and novelist.


Den Fremstynte elle Billeder fra Nordland (title means "The Visionary; or, Pictures from Nordland"), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1871 translated as The Visionary, Hodder (London, England), 1894.

Fortælinger og Skildringer fra Norge, 1872.

Tremasteren "Fremtiden" Filer Liv Nordpa, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1872, translated as The Barque Future; or, Life in the Far North, Griggs (Chicago, IL), 1894.

Lodsen og Hans Hustru, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1874, translated by Sara Clapman Thorpe Bull as The Pilot and His Wife, Griggs (Chicago, IL), 1876.

Faustina Strozzi, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1875.

Thomas Ross, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1878.

Adam Schrader, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1879.

Grabows Kat (three-act play), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1880.

Rutland: Fortaelling, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1880.

Gå Pål: Sjøfortelling, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1882.

Familijen pâGilje, illustrated by Hans Gerhard Sø-rensen, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1883, translated as The Family at Gilje, American-Scandinavian Foundation (New York, NY), 1920.

Livsslaven, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1883, translated by Jessie Muir as One of Life's Slaves, Hodder (London, England), 1895.

Kommandørens Døtter, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1886, translated by H.L. Braekstad and Gertrude Hughes as The Commodore's Daughters, Heinemann (London, England), 1892.

Maisa Jons, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1888.

Digte (poems), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1889.

Der Dreimaster "Zukunft": Erzahlung aus dem nor-dlichen Norwegen von Jonas Lie, P. Reclam (Leipzig, Germany), 1890.

Onde Matter, 1890.

Trold (also see below), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1891.

Niobe, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1893.

Weird Tales from Northern Seas (contains Trold and Trold II), translated by R. Nisbet Bain, Paul, Trench, Trubner (London, England), 1893, reprinted with illustrations by Laurence Housman as Weird Tales from Northern Seas: Norwegian Legends, Penfleld Press (Iowa City, IA), c. 1996.

Dyre Rein: En historie fra oldefars hus, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1896.

Når jerntoepper falder, 1901.

Ulfvungerne, 1902.

Samlede Vaerker (collected works), Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1902–04.

Østenfor sol, vestenfor måne og bagom Babylons tårn!, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1905.

Eine Ehe, Roman von Jonas Lie, Fischer (Berlin, Germany), 1908.

Eventyr, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1909.

Selected Stories and Poems, Free Church Book Concern (Minneapolis, MN), 1914.

Jonas Lie og Hans Samtidige, 1915.

Samlade Digtserverker, ten volumes, 1920–21.

Nar Sol Gar Ned, Eide (Bergen, Norway), 1970.

The Seer and Other Norwegian Stories, translated by Brian Morton and Richard Trevor, Forest Books (Boston, MA), 1990.

SIDELIGHTS: Jonas Lie was one of nineteenth-century Norway's most prolific and important authors. He began writing in the late 1860s after abandoning his career as a lawyer. His first novel, Den Fremstynte elle Billeder fra Nordland (translated as The Visionary) concerns a clairvoyant's experiences in northern Norway. The novel proved sufficiently successful to enable Lie to leave Norway, and he lived abroad for much of his life. In subsequent works the author focused on the Norwegian middle class. Novels such as Lodsen og Hans Hustru (translated as The Pilot and His Wife), Familijen pâ Gilje (translated as The Family at Gilje), and Kommandørens Døtter (translated as The Commodore's Daughters) established his reputation as an unflinching portrayer of the bourgeoisie. These works, with their impressionistic renderings, secured Lie's reputation as an accomplished stylist.

In later writings, notably Trold and Trold II (translated together as Weird Tales from Northern Seas), he returned to the mysticism of Den Fremsynte, but he merged it with more overtly supernatural elements. In addition to his novels, Lie wrote plays and poems, though many critics regard them as less important works. His death followed that of his wife, Thomasine—also the author's editor-collaborator—who died in 1907.

A collection of Lie's stories and a novella titled "The Seer" was published in English in 1990 as The Seer and Other Norwegian Stories. The stories focus on ill-fated loves, folklore, and the conflict between Christianity and paganism. In addition to the writings of Lie, the volume includes an introduction by the translators and a glossary of folk terms. Penny Kaganoff, writing in Publishers Weekly, especially noted "The Seer" as a fine example of the author's "spare, lyrical prose."



Jorgenson, Theodore, History of Norwegian Literature, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1933.

Lyngstad, Sverre, Jonas Lie, Twayne Publishers (Boston, MA), 1977.

Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Volume 5, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1981.


Publishers Weekly, January 18, 1991, Penny Kaganoff, review of The Seer and Other Norwegian Stories, p. 54.


Books and Writers Web site, (April 12, 2006), biography of Jonas Lie.