Cover of Children of the Age, design by its publisher Richard Schober. The artwork is a detail from the painting 'Larvik by Moonlight' by Norwegian artist Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857).Cover design by  publisher Schober. Art detail from the painting "Larvik by Moonlight" by Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857).

Arlington-based Tough Poets Press published April 1 the first new edition of J. S. Scott's 1924 English translation of Children of the Age by Knut Hamsun, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920.

Tough Poets and its owner, Richard Schober, are featured in an article titled "The One-Man Press Resuscitating Forgotten Classics." 

The English translation of Hamsun's 1913 novel, whose original title was Børn av Tiden, was published by Alfred A. Knopf Inc. in 1924. Unlike most of his other novels that were released in the United State shortly after he won the Nobel Prize, the English version of Children of the Age has never been reissued, despite recent published translations in French, German, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, Czech, Romanian and Estonian.

Hamsun described it as "a novel about the war between the aristocrat and the peasant." The Encyclopedia of the Novel (2014) called it "a historically based -- and utterly scathing -- critique of modernity." And the Hamsun Centre (Hamsunsenteret) website reported: "In Children of the Age a family's rise and fall are used to describe the decline and fall of a whole epoch. Thematically, the novel has similarities to Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks (1901), with Hamsun's humor being the stylistic difference between the two."

Briefly, the novel is the story of Lt. Willatz Holmsen, patriarch of Segelfoss, a small semifeudal estate in the north of Norway. When a rich self-made industrialist returns from years abroad, Holmsen finds his authority challenged and his finances jeopardized. At the same time, the novel chronicles the breakdown of his family life with his wife, Adelheid, and son, Willatz IV. The novel and its sequel, Segelfoss Town (1915), are described in Knut Hamsun: The Dark Side of Literary Brilliance (2009) as "much more than dry social analysis; indeed, they investigate, in rich novelistic form, the propagation and survival of a family."

Children of the Age was a commercial success when it was first published in Norway. Isaac Anderson, writing in The Literary Digest International Book Review (1924), described it as "Hamsun's art at its best," and, while concluding that was "not so great a novel as Growth of the Soil," it had the same epic quality, and "deserves, and undoubtedly will have, a high place among the novels of our time."

May 30, 2019: One-man Arlington press publishes forgotten novelist

This news announcement was published Wednesday, March 4, 2020.