The Mind and Nature of Locked Rooms- Tarjei Vesaas's Novel the Ice Palace and Metaphysical Crime Fic - The Mind and Nature of Locked Rooms Tarjei

The Mind and Nature of Locked Rooms- Tarjei Vesaas's Novel the Ice Palace and Metaphysical Crime Fic

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The Mind and Nature of Locked Rooms: Tarjei Vesaas's Novel The Ice Palace and Metaphysical Crime Fiction Anna Westerståhl Stenport Studies in the Novel, Volume 42, Numbers 3 Fall 2010, pp. 305-320 (Article) Published by Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: For additional information about this article Access provided by University of California @ Berkeley (15 Jun 2017 17:30 GMT)
Studies in the Novel , volume 42, number 3 (Fall 2010). Copyright © 2010 by the University of North Texas. All rights to reproduction in any form reserved. THE MIND AND NATURE OF LOCKED ROOMS: TARJEI VESAAS’S NOVEL THE ICE PALACE AND METAPHYSICAL CRIME FICTION ANNA WESTERSTÅHL STENPORT Norwegian novelist Tarjei Vesaas’s The Ice Palace ( Is-Slottet 1963; English translation 1966) is a foundational text in modern Norwegian literature. As a novelist, Vesaas (1897-1970) has been characterized as one of the “foremost innovators in Norwegian literary modernism,” sometimes compared to Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett (Wærp 321-22). The Ice Palace is one of Vesaas’s better-known novels outside of Norway, as it won the prestigious Nordic Council literary prize in 1964, was quickly translated into English and remains in print. Doris Lessing, for example, endorsed the novel in 1993 as a remarkable and unique piece of literature, calling it “subtle,” and “strong” (qtd. in Granaas, “The Body” 315), while Arnold Weinstein has recently affirmed its qualities as a masterpiece. These accolades reflect Vesaas’s canonical legacy as one of very few authors “writing in Nyorsk to achieve international notoriety” (Wærp 333) and gives credibility to rumors asserting that the author at one time was being considered for the Nobel Prize in literature. 1 Telling the story of a thwarted and complicated friendship between two adolescent girls, The Ice Palace is a short and dense novel full of mysterious suggestions and allusions. It is in some ways a classical piece of high-modernist narrative, characterized by psychological complexity, sophisticated schemes of shifting narrative focalization, and lyrical and poetic nature passages. The novel has most often been interpreted along these lines (e.g., Chapman 146-53; Steen 127-29), while more recent thematic interpretations center on questions of budding sexual attraction, tensions between community and individual, constructions of novelistic subjectivity and embodied practices (Granaas), and art and aesthetic representation (Kittang).
306 / STENPORT I seek in this article to shift the contextual field in which The Ice Palace has been ensconced for decades and show that part of this novel’s significance—and its continuing appeal to audiences around the world— lies in its sophisticated manipulation of the postmodern crime genre and its reconstruction of detective fiction as a significant subset of literary modernism.

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