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“Rasmus Bjørn Anderson: The Hub of Norwegian-American Cultural Life”- A Virtual Presentation.
October 2, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmFree
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Rasmus Bjørn Anderson was born on a farm in the town of Albion in Dane County, Wisconsin in 1846 and grew up on the Koshkonong Prairie. His parents Bjørn Anderson Kvelve (1801–1850) and Abel Cathrine von Krogh (1809–1885) were immigrants from Sandeid / Vikedal in Ryfylke in the county of Rogaland. He became the first professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin in 1875, thereby establishing the UW Department of Scandinavian Studies as the oldest in the nation. He served in this position until 1883, when he was appointed as minister to Denmark by President Grover Cleveland. When he returned from Europe, he took over as editor for Amerika, a Norwegian-American newspaper, which he ran for twenty-four years. In all of these capacities, Anderson served as an important cultural mediator between Norway and the United States. At this time, Norwegian literature was experiencing a golden age, led by Ibsen, Bjørnson, Kielland, and Lie. Anderson kept up with cultural developments in Norway and made certain that they became known in America.
Livsreise holds some artifacts related to Rasmus, such as his wedding certificate from 1868, which are on view in our library area.
Susan Brantly is a Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin, where she has held a position since 1987. Her book, The Life and Writings of Laura Marholm (1991) is the standard work on Marholm, who was a cultural mediator between Scandinavia and Germany in the late 1800s. Understanding Isak Dinesen (2002) provides close readings of that author’s complex works. Her latest book is The Historical Novel, Transnationalism, and the Postmodern Era (2017), which examines a variety of issues pertaining to the historical novel and how they play out in different national contexts. Her other books include an anthology of Scandinavian nineteenth-century short prose in translation, Sex and the Modern Breakthrough (2004), and a co-edited volume, The Nordic Storyteller: Essays in Honour of Niels Ingwersen (2009). She has also published on August Strindberg and other nineteenth-century Nordic writers, and contributed the chapter on the rise of modernism (1890–1950) to the History of Swedish Literature (1996). In 2003, Professor Brantly was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and in 2013 she received the U.W. System Alliant Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013. She served as president of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study from 2007 to 2009 and she is currently the editor of the journal Scandinavian Studies.