The Great Weaver from Kashmir by Halldor LaxnessThe Great Weaver from Kashmir by Halldor Laxness

The Great Weaver from Kashmir

byHalldor LaxnessTranslated byPhilip Roughton

Hardcover | October 24, 2008

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The Great Weaver from Kashmir is Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness’ first major novel, the book that propelled Icelandic literature into the modern world. Shortly after World War One, Steinn Elliði, a young philosopher-poet dandy, leaves the physical and cultural confines of Iceland’s shores for mainland Europe, seeking to become "the most perfect man on earth." His journey leads us through a huge range of moral, philosophical, religious, political, and social realms, from hedonism to socialism to aestheticism to Benedictine monasticism, exploring, as Laxness puts it, "the far-ranging variety in the life of a soul, with the swings on a pendulum oscillating between angel and devil." Upon his return to Iceland, Steinn finds himself more conflicted than before, torn between love of the beauty and traditions of his homeland, longing and regret for his great adolescent love, Diljá, and his newfound monastic ideal, forcing him to make choices with fateful consequences. The Great Weaver from Kashmir is as much a domestic parlor drama as it is a novel of ideas; it can be seen as the downward spiral of an antihero or an exploration of idealism and loss; it is at once an inward-looking and daring early novel and a modern epic spun by a superior craftsman. Published when Laxness was only twenty-five years old, The Great Weaver from Kashmir’s radical experimentation created a stir in Iceland. Appearing in English now for the first time, The Great Weaver is much more than a first major work by a literary master—it is a remarkable modernist classic written literally on the cultural and geographical fringes of modern Europe.
Halldór Laxness (1902-1998) is the undisputed master of modern Icelandic fiction. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955 "for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland." His body of work includes novels, essays, poems, plays, stories, and memoirs: more than sixty books in all. His works ava...
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Title:The Great Weaver from KashmirFormat:HardcoverDimensions:450 pages, 7.8 × 6.6 × 1.34 inPublished:October 24, 2008Publisher:Steerforth PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0979333083

ISBN - 13:9780979333088

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Read from the Book

Once two swans flew overhead, eastward.

The world is like a stage where everything has been set up for an extravagant musical: the fragrance of birchwood in the lava fields at Þingvellir,2 cold gusts of wind from Súlur, violet light in the Esja sky, the azure deep and cold over Skjaldbreiður, but darkness no longer descends. Nightlessness and insomnia in all directions.

Editorial Reviews

Laxness is a beacon in twentieth-century literature, a writer of splendid originality, wit, and feeling. —Alice Munro Science fiction. Table, fable, allegory. Philosophical novel. Dream novel. Visionary novel. Literature of fantasy. Wisdom lit. Spoof. Sexual turn-on. Convention dictates that we slot many of the last centuries¢ perdurable literary achievements into one or another of these categories. The only novel I know that fits into all of them is Halldór Laxness¢s wildly original, morose, uproarious Under the Glacier. —Susan Sontag More than any other novel I know, Iceland¢s Bell recreates a world Pieter Brueghel would have felt right at home, not merely in its fascination with bumblers (petty thieves, purblind watchmen) and grotesques (faceless lepers, hanging corpses), but also in its unearthly ability to find beauty in a landscape of destitution, wisdom in a congress of fools. —The New York Times Book Review Laxness brought the Icelandic novel out from the sagas' shadow…to read Laxness is also to understand why he haunts Iceland—he writes the unearthly prose of a poet cased in the perfection of a shell of plot, wit, and clarity. —The Guardian