xxx/ellauri057.html on line 832: A hundred and one years ago, in 1917, Knut Hamsun published what was probably his most influential and at the same time most controversial novel: Markens grøde (translated into English as Growth of the Soil). This story about the colonization of new farmland in northern Norway (Hammarby, luulajansaamexi Hambra, mistä Knupo oli peräsin) by the pioneer Isak and his wife Inger attained immense popularity in Hamsun’s home country and abroad, and earned its author the Nobel Prize in literature. In later years, it has often been criticized for, among other things, postulated parallels to Nazi »blood and soil« ideology, for its racist and colonialist portrayal of the Sami, and for its antagonism towards female self-determination.
xxx/ellauri057.html on line 834: Much has changed since the publication of Markens grøde. The planet’s human population has almost quadrupled, from fewer than two billion in 1917 to more than seven billion now, and is estimated to reach ten to eleven billion before the end of this century.10 Simultaneously, human-made changes to the Earth’s ecosystems and climate have reached an unprecedented scale. While levels of consumption vary greatly from one country to another and between different social classes, there can be no doubt that globally, the use of both renewable and non-renewable resources has risen immensely during the last hundred years. This development began, of course, long before 1917, with the Industrial Revolution constituting an important premise. However, it was not until after the end of the Second World War that the human transformation of the planet began to advance with such enormous speed that the time since then is now often referred to as the Great Acceleration.
xxx/ellauri057.html on line 838: What the novel actually delivers is a narrative of constant progress and growth, without any consideration of potential limits or unintended detrimental side-effects. In Markens grøde, human nature is assumed to create desires that can only be fulfilled through permanent increases in production and consumption, irrespective of any material environmental restraints. In combination with an ideology of human population growth, the novel, instead of conveying »green values«, constitutes a literary expression of precisely the ideas and processes that led to the Great Acceleration and the transition into the Anthropocene.
xxx/ellauri057.html on line 840: Environmental change features prominently in the novel – indeed, it is one of the main themes of Markens grøde. Deforestation, the drainage of wetlands, and changes in the local species composition (and thus of biodiversity) are recurring motives throughout the novel. Yet while such transformations of the non-human environment tend to arouse negative associations today, in the novel they appear as inevitable and indeed highly desirable.
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