Pan (novel)

Pan (novel)

"Pan" is a 1894 novel by the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun. Written while he lived in Paris, France and in Kristiansand, Norway, Hamsun was directly influenced by the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky. It remains one of his most famous works today.

Plot summary

The novel begins with Lieutenant Thomas Glahn, a hunter, and ex-military man, who lives alone in a hut in the forest with his faithful dog Aesop. Upon meeting Edvarda, the merchant's daughter, he quickly falls in love, yet she is not extremely faithful, having affairs with multiple young men in the nearby town. Overwhelmed by rejection, Glahn behaves extremely childishly around Edvarda, as well as humiliating her friend the Doctor, who completes a quasi love triangle between the three. In the end of the novel Glahn visits Edvarda for the last time in his fine military uniform, where she asks for Aesop as something to remember him by. Instead of graciously letting her have the dog, he is afraid she will abuse him, and instead he shoots Aesop, sending her his corpse before he sails off for duty.


The changing seasons are reflected in the plot; Edvarda and Glahn fall in love in Spring, they make love in the Summer and the relationship ends in Autumn.

The contradicting symbols of culture and nature are important in the novel. Glahn belongs to nature while Edvarda belongs to culture.

The dreams had by Glahn of two lovers and the conversations they have, foreshadow much of what happens between himself and Edvarda.


The Epilogue: Glahn's Death - Is a number of stories told about Glahn ending with his "accidental" shooting and death. However this is highly contradictory as Glahn himself wrote the entire novel of Pan, and it is said that he faked his own death, simply for the purposes of the novel. Another possible reason for the "death" is that he was ultimately getting back at Edvarda for their failed attempts at love, however that reason remains up for debate.

External links

* [ Romantikken vs Nyromantikken (Norwegian)]
* [ Pan (Norwegian)]

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