Halldór Kiljan Laxness () (born Halldór Guðjónsson) (April 23, 1902—February 8, 1998) was a 20th century Icelandic novelist and author of Independent People, The Atom Station, and Iceland's Bell. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955.
Early lifeLaxness was born under the name Halldór Guðjónsson (following the tradition of Icelandic patronymics) in Reykjavik in 1902, the son of Guðjón Helgason and Sigríður Halldórsdóttir. After spending his early years in Reykjavik, he moved with his family in 1905 to Laxnes in Mosfellssveit, a more rural area just north of the capital. He soon started to read books and write stories, and when he was 14 years old, his first article was published in Morgunblaðið under the name H.G..
Roman CatholicismIn 1922, Laxness joined the Abbaye St. Maurice et St. Maur in Clervaux, Luxembourg. The monks followed the rules of Saint Benedict of Nursia. Laxness was baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church early in 1923. Following his confirmation, he adopted the surname Laxness (in honor of the homestead where he had been raised) and added the name Kiljan (an Icelandic spelling of the Irish martyr Saint Killian).
Inside the walls of the abbey, he practiced self-study, read books, and studied French, Latin, theology and philosophy. While there, he also composed the story Undir Helgahnjúk, published in 1924. Soon after his baptism, he became a member of a group which prayed for reversion of the Nordic countries back to Catholicism.
Literary careerDuring his career Laxness wrote poetry, newspaper articles, plays, travelogues, short stories, and fifty-one novels.
Later lifeLaxness moved to the United States and attempted to make films in the mid-20th century. He returned to Iceland in 1945 and settled in Gljúfrasteinn, Mosfellsdalur until his death. His house in Gljúfrasteinn is now a museum operated by the Icelandic government.
He was married twice, including his second marriage to Auður Sveinsdóttir. He had four children.
Laxness died in Iceland in 1998 at the age of 95.
The single volume biography by Halldór Guðmundsson won the Icelandic literary prize for best work of non-fiction in 2004. In 2005 the Icelandic National Theatre premiered a play by Ólafur Haukur Símonarson, called Halldór í Hollywood (Halldór in Hollywood) about the years that Laxness spent in the United States.
PublicationsThe following is a partial list of publications written by or connected with Laxness:
- 1919: Barn náttúrunnar
- 1924: Undir Helgahnúk
- 1927: Vefarinn mikli frá Kasmír
- 1931: Salka Valka (Part I) - Þú vínviður hreini
- 1932: Salka Valka (Part II) - Fuglinn í fjörunni
- 1934: Sjálfstætt fólk (Part I, Independent People) - Landnámsmaður Íslands (Icelandic Pioneers)
- 1935: Sjálfstætt fólk (Part II) - Erfiðir tímar (Hard Times)
- 1937: Heimsljós (Part I, World Light) - Ljós heimsins (later named Kraftbirtíngarhljómur guðdómsins)
- 1938: Heimsljós (Part II) - Höll sumarlandsins
- 1939: Heimsljós (Part III) - Hús skáldsins
- 1940: Heimsljós (Part IV) - Fegurð himinsins
- 1952: Heiman eg fór
- 1943: Íslandsklukkan (Iceland's Bell, Part I) - Íslandsklukkan
- 1944: Íslandsklukkan (Part II) - Hið ljósa man
- 1946: Íslandsklukkan (Part III) - Eldur í Kaupinhafn
- 1948: Atómstöðin (The Atom Station)
- 1952: Gerpla (Happy Warriors)
- 1957: Brekkukotsannáll (The Fish Can Sing)
- 1960: Paradísarheimt (Paradise Reclaimed)
- 1968: Kristnihald undir Jökli (Under the Glacier/Christianity at Glacier)
- 1970: Innansveitarkronika
- 1972: Guðsgjafaþula
- 1923: Nokkrar sögur
- 1933: Fótatak manna
- 1935: Þórður gamli halti
- 1942: Sjö töframenn
- 1954: Þættir (collection)
- 1964: Sjöstafakverið
- 1987: Sagan af brauðinu dýra
- 1992: Jón í Brauðhúsum
- 1996: Fugl á garðstaurnum og fleiri smásögur
- 1999: Úngfrúin góða og Húsið
- 2000: Smásögur
- 2001: Kórvilla á Vestfjörðum og fleiri sögur
- 1930: Kvæðakver
- 1997: Únglíngurinn í skóginum
- 1933: Í Austurvegi
- 1938: Gerska æfintýrið
- 1975: Í túninu heima, part I
- 1976: Úngur eg var, part II
- 1978: Sjömeistarasagan, part III
- 1980: Grikklandsárið, part IV
- 1987: Dagar hjá múnkum
Popular culture references
References and external linksIn Icelandic:
- Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurarson. 2003. Halldór. Vol. I of Laxness’ biography. Almenna bókafélagið, Reykjavík.
- Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurarson. 2004. Kiljan. Vol. II of Laxness’ biography. Bókafélagið, Reykjavík.
- Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurarson. 2005. Laxness. Vol. III of Laxness’ biography. Bókafélagið, Reykjavík.
- Halldór Guðmundsson. 2004. Halldór Laxness. JPV, Reykjavík http://www.internet.is/halldor.gudmundsson.
- Hallberg, Peter. 1970. Hús skáldsins: um skáldverk Halldórs Laxness frá Sölku Völku til Gerplu. Reykjavík. Mál og menning.
- Íslenska alfræðiorðabókin H-O. 1990. Editors: Dóra Hafsteinsdóttir and Sigríður Harðardóttir. Örn og Örlygur hf., Reykjavík.
- Halldór Laxness
- - Gljúfrasteinn The Halldór Laxness Museum web site in several languages, including English
laxness in Arabic: هالدور لاكسنس
laxness in Bosnian: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Breton: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in Bulgarian: Халдоур Лакснес
laxness in Catalan: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in Czech: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in German: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Estonian: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Spanish: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Esperanto: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in French: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Irish: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Hindi: हालडोर लाक्सनेस
laxness in Croatian: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Ido: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Indonesian: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in Icelandic: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Italian: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Hebrew: הלדור לכסנס
laxness in Swahili (macrolanguage): Halldór Laxness
laxness in Kurdish: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Luxembourgish: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in Hungarian: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Dutch: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Japanese: ハルドル・ラクスネス
laxness in Norwegian: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Norwegian Nynorsk: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in Occitan (post 1500): Halldór Laxness
laxness in Piemontese: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Polish: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in Portuguese: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Romanian: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Russian: Халлдор Кильян Лакснесс
laxness in Slovak: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
laxness in Serbo-Croatian: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Finnish: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Swedish: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Vietnamese: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Turkish: Halldór Laxness
laxness in Ukrainian: Галдор Лакснесс
laxness in Chinese: 哈尔多尔·拉克斯内斯
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