Olav Duun – poet of love

This article investigates the topic of love in the work of Olav Duun (1876–1939). The main claim is that love in Duun's world, although transformative, strong and extremely important, is invariably difficult, often destructive and sometimes downright lethal. Earlier research on Duun has avoided the radical consequences of these tendencies, and to the extent that one has put love in focus, this has been done mainly in a psychoanalytic perspective. To articulate these assertions, the work of Georges Bataille (1897–1962) is applied. Bataille's thought is pervaded by a preoccupation with the human being's urge for an impossible transgression, but also a deep longing for shared experiences, communication and identification. All of this connects with Duun. This reading of Duun's work also aspires to create a greater interest in his texts and to convince contemporary readers that the author still has something to tell us.

Keywords: Olav Duun, love, Georges Bataille