Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Keeper of the protocols : the works of Jens Bjørneboe in the crosscurrents of western literature Martin, Joseph H. 1987

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1987_A1 M34_5.pdf [ 12.83MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0097457.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0097457-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0097457-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0097457-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0097457-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0097457-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0097457-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0097457-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0097457.ris

Full Text

KEEPER OF THE PROTOCOLS: THE WORKS OF JENS BJjZfRNEBOE IN THE CROSSCURRENTS OF WESTERN LITERATURE By JOSEPH MARTIN B.A., The George Washington U n i v e r s i t y , 1979 M.F.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1981 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Programme i n Comparative L i t e r a t u r e ) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1987 © Joseph M a r t i n , 1987 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Comparative L i t e r a t u r e The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date 9 September 1987 DE-6(3/81) KEEPER OF THE PROTOCOLS: THE WORKS OF JENS BJ0RNEBOE I N THE CROSSCURRENTS OF WESTERN LITERATURE ABSTRACT K e e p e r o f t h e P r o t o c o l s a r g u e s t h a t J e n s Bj0rneboe was a c o n s c i o u s l y E u r o p e a n a u t h o r , o f i n t e r n a t i o n a l s t a t u r e , whose w o r k s c a n n o t be p r o p e r l y u n d e r s t o o d i f t r e a t e d s i m p l y a s t h e p r o d u c t o f a " S c a n d i n a v i a n " w r i t e r . As B j ^ r n e b o e r e m a i n s f o r t h e most p a r t u n t r a n s l a t e d i n t o E n g l i s h , t h e o b j e c t i v e s o f t h e s t u d y a r e t w o - f o l d : t o i n t r o d u c e t h e w o r k s o f J e n s B j j z f r n e b o e , a n d t o p r o v i d e a d e t a i l e d commentary on i n f l u e n c e i n h i s w o r k s f r o m c l a s s i c a n d c o n t e m p o r a r y s o u r c e s . The f i r s t c h a p t e r s e r v e s as an i n t r o d u c t i o n t o B j t f r n e b o e , s u p p l y i n g a c o n c i s e o v e r v i e w o f h i s l i t e r a r y c a r e e r as p l a y w r i g h t , n o v e l i s t , p o e t a n d e s s a y i s t . I n c h a p t e r t w o , h i s e a r l y a c h i e v e m e n t s as a p o e t a nd n o v e l i s t a r e d i s c u s s e d . The p o i n t o f d e p a r t u r e f o r t h e e a r l i e s t w o r k s l i e s i n t h e s p i r i t u a l s y s t e m o f A n t h r o p o s o p h y a n d t h e p o w e r f u l i n f l u e n c e o f R i l k e . The c h a p t e r c u l m i n a t e s w i t h c o m m e n t a r i e s on h i s h i g h l y c o n t r o v e r s i a l d e b a t e - n o v e l s . The t h i r d c h a p t e r i s an e x t e n d e d s t u d y o f h i s p i v o t a l t r i l o g y known as "The H i s t o r y o f B e s t i a l i t y " : F r i h e t e n s g f y e b l i k k (1966), K r u t t a r n e t (1970) and S t i l l h e t e n (1973). W h i l e t h e t r i l o g y r e p r e s e n t s a c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h W e s t e r n , c u l t u r e , i t a l s o d e p i c t s modern man i n a w o r l d d e v o i d o f v a l u e s a n d m e a n i n g . H e r e , t h e i n f l u e n c e o f N i e t z s c h e and S a r t r e a r e t r a c e a b l e . I n t h e t r i l o g y , B j ^ r n e b o e ' s t h i n k i n g on v i o l e n c e a n d s o c i e t y i n t e r s e c t s w i t h t h a t o f M i c h e l F o u c a u l t a n d Rene' G i r a r d . The f o u r t h c h a p t e r i s a d i s c u s s i o n o f Bjszfarneboe a n d t h e t h e a t e r . As a N o r w e g i a n d r a m a t i s t who r e j e c t e d I b s e n ' s f o r m o f t h e a t e r , he f o u n d r e c o u r s e a l t e r n a t e l y i n B r e c h t , S t r i n d b e r g a n d T e n n e s s e e W i l l i a m s . B j ^ r n e b o e ' s m a j o r p l a y s c a n b e s t be u n d e r s t o o d i n l i g h t o f t h i s s e t o f i n f l u e n c e s . The f i f t h a n d f i n a l c h a p t e r e x a m i n e s t h e " a n a r c h i s m " w h i c h was B j j z f r n e b o e 1 s f i n a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l r e s t i n g p l a c e . The p a r a l l e l s w i t h Camus's i d e a s i n L'Homme r e v o l t e a r e r e a d i l y d i s c e r n i b l e . B j ^ r n e b o e ' s f i n a l n o v e l , H a i e n e (1974), w h i c h was t o commence h i s " H i s t o r y o f Freedom," i s a s e a n o v e l w h i c h i n v i t e s c o m p a r i s o n w i t h C o n r a d , p a r t i c u l a r l y C o n r a d ' s c o n c e p t i o n o f h i s t o r y . B j ^ r n e b o e ' s l e t t e r s a n d u n p u b l i s h e d a u t o b i o g r a p h y show an i n c r e a s i n g p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h t h e s p l i t b e t w e e n s o c i a l a n d m e t a p h y s i c a l c o n c e r n s . H i s f i n a l m o n t h s , a n d h i s a s s e s s m e n t o f h i s own l i t e r a r y a c c o m p l i s h m e n t , a r e r e v i e w e d i n l i g h t o f t h i s c o n f l i c t . i v CONTENTS PREFACE V ONE / INTRODUCTION TO BJ0RNEBOE 1 TWO / THE EARLY WORKS 11 THREE / THE HISTORY OF BESTIALITY 64 FOUR / ILLUSION UNMASKED: BJ0RNEBOE & THE THEATER 133 FIVE / LAST WORKS: CONCLUSIONS 194 Abbreviations for t i t l e s of works by Bjtfrneboe 240 Notes . .' 241 Works Cited 264 V PREFACE T h i s v o l u m e d e a l s w i t h t h e w o r k s o f an a u t h o r o f i n t e r n a t i o n a l s t a t u r e f r o m a s m a l l l a n g u a g e a r e a : S c a n d i n a v i a . J e n s Bj^Crneboe's w r i t i n g s a r e a t p r e s e n t a l m o s t i m p o s s i b l e t o p r o c u r e i n E n g l i s h t r a n s l a t i o n . A d d i t i o n a l l y , c o m m e n t a r i e s on h i s w o r k - - s u c h a s t h o s e by S t e i n e r Lem, K a j S k a g e n and o t h e r s i n N o r w e g i a n , and one w o r k by J a n e t G a r t o n i n E n g l i s h — d o n o t v i g o r o u s l y s e t a b o u t t o p l a c e h i s l i t e r a r y a c h i e v e m e n t s i n t h e m a i n s t r e a m E u r o p e a n t r a d i t i o n s w h i c h a r e t h e b e d r o c k o f h i s a r t . T h e s e w o r k s by S c a n d i n a v i a n s o r S c a n d i n a v i a n i s t s , w h i l e . m a k i n g . an i n v a l u a b l e c o n t r i b u t i o n , do n o t a l w a y s c a s t t h e i r l i g h t s on h i s v a l u e as a _ g e n u i n e l y E u r o p e a n a u t h o r . H a v i n g s a i d t h a t , a new p r o b l e m a r i s e s : How t o t r a c e " i n f l u e n c e " f r o m t h e g r e a t w o r k s and c u r r e n t s o f W e s t e r n l i t e r a t u r e a n d t h o u g h t i n t h e o e u v r e o f a w r i t e r w h o - - a l t h o u g h he i s a l i g h t n i n g r o d f o r so many o f t h o s e c r o s s c u r r e n t s a n d i m p u l s e s — h a s r a r e l y b e e n p u b l i s h e d i n E n g l i s h . T h a t i s t h e one l a n g u a g e i n w h i c h an a u t h o r ' s w o r k s must be p u b l i s h e d , i n o u r d a y , i f t h e y a r e t o r e c e i v e r e c o g n i t i o n i n t h e w o r l d a t l a r g e . The t a s k a t h a n d , t h e r e f o r e , i s t w o - f o l d . H i s l i t e r a r y p r o d u c t i o n must be p r e s e n t e d b e f o r e i t i s e x a m i n e d . I n o r d e r t o r e f l e c t on t h e w o r k s o f J e n s Bj^zJrneboe i n l i g h t o f t h e b r o a d r a n g e o f l i t e r a r y a n d a r t i s t i c i n f l u e n c e s e v i d e n t i n h i s o u t p u t — o r w o r k s by v i o t h e r s t h a t p a r a l l e l h i s own due t o " t r e n d s " i n t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f o u r c e n t u r y — i t i s f i r s t n e c e s s a r y t o " w a l k " a r e a d e r t h r o u g h B j ^ r n e b o e ' s o e u v r e . R e c o u r s e t o b i o g r a p h i c a l m a t e r i a l i s a l s o r e q u i r e d . The s t o r y o f t h e e v o l u t i o n o f h i s w r i t i n g s , i n s e p a r a b l e f r o m t h e p u b l i c , p o l i t i c a l a nd p r i v a t e l i f e o f a w r i t e r o f B j p f r n e b o e ' s s t a m p , i t s e l f s e r v e s a s a n a r r a t i v e : a k i n d o f t e x t w i t h u n i t s o f m e a n i n g , w i t h a p l o t , w i t h r e c u r r i n g themes and m o t i f s , a s B j ^ r n e b o e c o n s c i o u s l y wove h i s l i f e i n t o h i s l i t e r a r y c r e a t i o n s , and h i s c r e a t i o n s wove t h e i r way i n t o h i s l i f e . So o n c e a g a i n , t h o u g h an i m p o r t a n t a i m o f t h i s s t u d y i s t o s e t t h e w ork o f t h e N o r w e g i a n J e n s B j ^ r n e b o e s y n c h r o n i c a l l y and d i a c h r o n i c a l l y i n t h e t r a d i t i o n s o f E u r o p e a n and W e s t e r n l i t e r a t u r e w h ere he b e l o n g s , i t must p r o v i d e an o v e r v i e w o f h i s w o r k a t t h e same t i m e . As i t t u r n s o u t , l a r g e p a r t s o f t h e o p e n i n g c h a p t e r s d w e l l on B j ^ r n e b o e ' s w o r k s p r i m a r i l y . T h e r e a r e e x c e p t i o n s , s u c h a s a d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e d e b t w h i c h B j p f r n e b o e owes t o R i l k e a t t h e v e r y b e g i n n i n g o f h i s l i t e r a r y c a r e e r . The e x e g e s i s o f t h e " H i s t o r y o f B e s t i a l i t y " a l s o r e q u i r e s t h a t a l a r g e p r o p o r t i o n o f t h e s p a c e be u s e d t o i l l u m i n a t e t h i s r e m a r k a b l e t r i l o g y i t s e l f . I t i s i n t h e e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e t r i l o g y , h o w e v e r , t h a t t h e d i r e c t i n f l u e n c e o f s u c h d i v e r s e s o u r c e s a s N i e t z s c h e , S t r i n d b e r g a n d D a n t e w i l l come i n t o p l a y - - a s w e l l as p a r a l l e l s i n t h e w o r k s o f some o f B j ^ r n e b o e ' s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s s u c h a s M i c h e l F o u c a u l t and Rene G i r a r d . The v i i chapter on Bj^rneboe and the t h e a t e r s u p p l i e s some of the c l e a r e s t evidence i n the i n v e s t i g a t i o n i n t o what h i s primary i n f l u e n c e s were, f o r i t i s p o s s i b l e to e n l i s t the a i d of h i s many essays on t h e a t e r , drama and performance. His r e j e c t i o n of Ibsen leads him to new sources of e s t h e t i c and p h i l o s o p h i c i n s p i r a t i o n . The t e n s i o n between the dual i n f l u e n c e s of S t r i n d b e r g and Brecht forms the heart of the matter h e r e — n o t only v i s - a - v i s h i s p l a y s , but i n the e v o l u t i o n of h i s thought as w e l l . A f t e r a c e r t a i n p o i n t even these two f i g u r e s do not s u f f i c e , and Bj^rneboe looks to the other s i d e of the A t l a n t i c f o r yet another i n s p i r a t i o n : Tennessee W i l l i a m s . The f i n a l chapter c o n t a i n s an a n a l y s i s of Bj0rneboe's a f f i n i t i e s with Joseph Conrad and A l b e r t Camus, b u i l d i n g on c l o s e examinations of works by these two w r i t e r s , who would not perhaps be recognized f o r the blood b r o t h e r s they are, except f o r the way they i n t e r t w i n e i n the thought and e s t h e t i c s of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r t w e n t i e t h century w r i t e r . By the end of the chapter, the hope i s t h a t i t w i l l be c l e a r t h a t t o a p p r o a c h Bjszhrneboe s o l e l y as la S c a n d i n a v i a n w r i t e r , by i t s e l f , cannot s u f f i c e f o r a w r i t e r who i s so many other t h i n g s besides being Scandinavian. We have here a Norwegian who was not a Norwegian w r i t e r . We have, i n a way, a w r i t e r whose very l a n g u a g e — i n terms of h i s l i t e r a r y style--was not r e a l l y h i s n a t i v e language. I t should become ev i d e n t t h a t a comparatist approach to t h i s author's work i s demanded by the work i t s e l f . v i i i G i v e n what t h i s s t u d y h a s s e t o u t t o d o , a p p r o p r i a t e t i m e must be g i v e n t o e a c h g e n r e i n w h i c h B j ^ r n e b o e w o r k e d , s i n c e f o r h i m e a c h g e n r e h ad i t s s p e c i a l u s e . The poems a p p r o a c h t h e w o r l d f r o m a m e t a p h y s i c a l v a n t a g e p o i n t , t h e p l a y s t a k e a p o l e m i c a l a p p r o a c h , a n d t h e n o v e l s r e s o l v e t h e d i a l e c t i c a l t e n s i o n b e t w e e n t h e o t h e r two by c o m b i n i n g b o t h i m p u l s e s . T h e r e f o r e , b e c a u s e we a r e d e a l i n g w i t h a " s p l i t " a u t h o r , who e x p r e s s e s d i f f e r e n t s o r t s o f c o n t e n t t h r o u g h > d i f f e r e n t f o r m s — a l l t h e g e n r e s w i l l be d i s c u s s e d . The e s s a y s , a f o r m i n w h i c h B j ^ r n e b o e was an u n d e n i a b l e m a s t e r , a r e a s s i g n e d no s e c t i o n o f t h e i r own, a s t h e y p r o v i d e g l i m p s e s i n t o t h e raw m a t e r i a l w h i c h l a t e r became p l a y s and n o v e l s , a s w e l l a s i n s i g h t s i n t o t h e s y s t e m o f t h o u g h t t h a t l i e s b e h i n d h i s a r t i s t i c p r o d u c t i o n . R e f e r e n c e s t o t h e e s s a y s w i l l be d i s p e r s e d t h r o u g h o u t . A c l o s e e x a m i n a t i o n o f B j ^ f r n e b o e ' s u s e o f l a n g u a g e i s n o t one o f t h e o b j e c t i v e s o f t h i s s t u d y . Due t o t h e f a c t t h a t B j ^ r n e b o e ' s work s t i l l n e e d s t o be p r e s e n t e d a n d d i s c u s s e d a s a w h o l e — a n d b e c a u s e q u e s t i o n s o f f o r m a n d s t y l e w e r e s e c o n d a r y t o h i m , e v e n when a t work on h i s most r e m a r k a b l e f o r m a l e x p e r i m e n t s — s p a c e w i l l n o t a l l o w f o r i t t h i s t i m e . E v e n s o , h i s p e c u l i a r " i n t e r n a t i o n a l i z e d " N o r w e g i a n , h i s c o n s c i o u s u s e o f a s h a r p - h e w n , n o n - o r n a m e n t a l s t y l e — w h i c h f a v o r s c l a s s i c a l r h e t o r i c o v e r t h e i n t u i t i v e s t y l e t h a t i s s u p p o s e d t o be " m o d e r n " — w i l l p r o v i d e f e r t i l e m a t e r i a l f o r some f u t u r e i n v e s t i g a t i o n . I t w i l l be t o u c h e d on i n a g e n e r a l way h e r e . i x F o l l o w i n g t h e e x a m p l e o f p u b l i c a t i o n s t h a t d e a l e x t e n s i v e l y w i t h w o r k s on l i t e r a t u r e f r o m t h e S c a n d i n a v i a n l a n g u a g e s — i n a c c e s s i b l e t o t h e v a s t m a j o r i t y o f e v e n t h e most e r u d i t e r e a d e r s i n o t h e r c o u n t r i e s — t h e p a s s a g e s f r o m N o r w e g i a n t e x t s q u o t e d w i l l be my t r a n s l a t i o n s i n t o E n g l i s h . F o r t h e s a k e o f c o n s i s t e n c y , t r a n s l a t i o n s w i l l be p r o v i d e d f o r s o u r c e s q u o t e d f r o m o t h e r l a n g u a g e s . When t h e t r a n s l a t i o n s a r e n o t my own, t h e E n g l i s h v e r s i o n b e i n g u s e d w i l l be f o u n d i n t h e "works c i t e d . " I n most c a s e s , w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f S c a n d i n a v i a n l a n g u a g e s , q u o t e s i n t h e n o t e s a p p e a r i n t h e o r i g i n a l l a n g u a g e . The r e m a i n d e r o f t h e n o t e s a r e g e n e r a l l y c o n t e n t n o t e s , a n d r e a d e r s a r e a s k e d t o r e f e r t o t h e "works c i t e d " i f t h e y w a n t t o c h e c k a s o u r c e . I am i n d e b t e d t o a g r e a t number o f p e o p l e who ha v e g i v e n me t h e i r t i m e , a n d g u i d a n c e . I name h e r e o n l y a few among t h a t number i n S c a n d i n a v i a : H a r a l d B a c h e - W i i g a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f O s l o ; Magne B l e n e s s , NRK ( N o r s k R i k s k r i n g k a s t i n g ) i n O s l o ; Haagen R i n g n e s s , NRK; R a r e S a n t e s s o n a t S t o c k h o l m S t a d s t e a t e r n ; M a r t a V e s t i n o f F r i t e a t e r n i n S t o c k h o l m ; F r e d r i k Wandrup; T h e r e s e B j ^ r n e b o e ; a n d my v e r y s p e c i a l g r a t i t u d e t o Tone T v e t e r a a s B j ^ r n e b o e . 1 Auf und wieder gehn d i e Posten Ke i n e r , k e i n e r kann hindurch. F l u c h t wird nur das Leben kosten V i e r f a c h i s t umzaunt d i e Burg. Wir s i n d d i e Moorsoldaten Und Ziehen mit dem Spaten Ins Moor. Anonymous: As i t appears i n B e r t o l t Brecht's Furcht und Elend des D r i t t e n Reiches ONE / INTRODUCTION TO BJ0RNEBOE 1. In the beginning of the 1930s a l i t t l e book began a journey through Europe. I t s message was urgent, but i t faced many o b s t a c l e s . In the f i r s t p l a c e , i t p o r t r a y e d a r e a l i t y so b i z a r r e and so absurd t h a t many would have denied t h a t i t was an a c c u r a t e account of the a c t s of t h e i r c o n t e m p o r a r i e s — o f human beings l i v i n g i n t h e i r own world. In the second p l a c e , i t was w r i t t e n i n German, and the book had to pass through a language b a r r i e r i n each new l a n d i n which i t appeared. N e v e r t h e l e s s , there were some str o n g s p i r i t s who were w i l l i n g to g i v e the m a t e r i a l a long hard l o o k — t h e more d i f f i c u l t because of the g l a r i n g t r u t h i t r e f l e c t e d — a n d the book was soon t r a n s l a t e d i n t o the major European languages. In t h i s way Die Moorsoldaten^ c a r r i e d i t s t e r r i b l e message to a world t h a t was not yet ready to 2 r e c e i v e i t : a d e c a d e b e f o r e t h e t i m e when t h e p o s t - w a r r e v e l a t i o n s o f t h e e x i s t e n c e o f c o n c e n t r a t i o n camps, o f t h e a t t e m p t e d e x t e r m i n a t i o n o f e t h n i c a n d p o l i t i c a l g r o u p s , a nd t h e m a s s i v e c o m p l i c i t y o f m i l l i o n s o f "good" c i t i z e n s , w o u l d r e c e i v e w i d e s p r e a d p u b l i c i t y . Y e a r s b e f o r e t h e o u t b r e a k o f W o r l d War I I , t h e book by a n e s c a p e d c o n c e n t r a t i o n camp i n m a t e named W o l f g a n g L a n g h o f f was l y i n g o p e n . The t r u t h was t h e r e f o r a n y o n e who c o u l d r e a d . Few f i g u r e s w i t h i n f l u e n c e i n E u r o p e o r a b r o a d a c k n o w l e d g e d t h e e v i d e n c e i t p r o v i d e d a t t h e t i m e . A b s o l u t e l y no g o v e r n m e n t s d i d , a t l e a s t n o t p u b l i c l y . D i e M o o r s o l d a t e n , w h i c h t o o k i t s name f r o m a s o n g w h i c h was s u n g by t h e i n m a t e s o f t h e e a r l i e s t N a z i c o n c e n t r a t i o n camps, g a v e a d e p i c t i o n o f w h a t N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s m r e a l l y was, a n d a g o o d i d e a o f what i t h e l d i n s t o r e f o r h u m a n i t y . I n r e t r o s p e c t , o f c o u r s e , i t s d e p i c t i o n s f r o m t h e m i d - t h i r t i e s seem tame by c o m p a r i s o n w i t h a l l t h a t was t o f o l l o w . B e r t o l t B r e c h t was one o f t h e a u t h o r s who t o o k up t h e t a s k o f g e t t i n g t h e wo r d o u t e a r l y , a n d d r e w on t h e book f o r a s c e n e i n h i s d r a m a t i c e x p o s e o f N a z i s m , F u r c h t und E l e n d d e s D r i t t e n  R e i c h e s . When t h e w o r l d f i n a l l y came t o f a c e t h e f a c t s , t h e f a c t s c o u l d o n l y be u s e d a s l e s s o n s f o r t h e f u t u r e . And v e r y f e w on e i t h e r s i d e w o u l d come t o r e c o g n i z e t h e i r c o m p l i c i t y when t h e w i n d s h ad f i n a l l y c e a s e d t o h o w l . I n 1935 t h e l i t t l e b ook f e l l i n t o t h e hands o f a f i f t e e n y e a r - o l d N o r w e g i a n . T h i s p a r t i c u l a r a d o l e s c e n t h a d been r a i s e d i n t h e o v e r c l a s s h o u s e h o l d o f a s h i p owner 3 who had s e r v e d as C o n s u l f o r B e l g i u m , a h o u s e h o l d i n w h i c h German was s p o k e n a s much a s N o r w e g i a n , w i t h F r e n c h p l a y i n g a c l o s e s e c o n d t o b o t h o f t h e o t h e r l a n g u a g e s . J e n s B j ^ r n e b o e h a d g rown up w i t h two s t r o n g y e a r n i n g s : one f o r t h e raw l i f e a t s e a , t h e o t h e r f o r t h e r e f i n e d c u l t u r e o f c e n t r a l E u r o p e . S i n c e he was e f f e c t i v e l y b i l i n g u a l a n d had b egun t o r e a d German l i t e r a t u r e v o r a c i o u s l y a t a y o u n g a g e , he m i g h t w e l l h a v e r e a d t h e book a b o u t t h e c o n c e n t r a t i o n camp O r a n i e n b u r g i n t h e o r i g i n a l l a n g u a g e a t t h i s e a r l y d a t e . P e r h a p s he was a h e a d o f h i s t i m e s n o t o n l y by v i r t u e o f h i s k n o w l e d g e o f a n d f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h a l l t h i n g s German, b u t a l s o by v i r t u e o f a c o m p u l s i v e i n a b i l i t y t o l o o k away f r o m e v e n t h e w o r s t m a n k i n d has t o o f f e r — a n d as w e l l , h i s p r o p e n s i t y t o u s e h i s i n t e l l e c t a nd h i s f a n t a s y t o s t e p i n t o t h e s h o e s o f t h e v i c t i m s o f t h i s " w o r s t " s i d e . "As I r e a d , " he l a t e r w r o t e , " t h e s u n grew b l a c k . S i n c e t h a t t i m e I h a v e n e v e r b e e n t r u l y h a p p y . S e v e r a l y e a r s l a t e r i t was i m p o s s i b l e f o r me t o g r a s p t h a t t h e w o r l d was s t i l l i n e x i s t e n c e . " , ? He r e a d t h e book i n one s i t t i n g , a n d by h i s own a c c o u n t , t h e a l m o s t p h y s i c a l s h o c k o f t h e e x p e r i e n c e l a y t h e g r o u n d w o r k f o r h i s e n t i r e a u t h o r s h i p . The book was h i s f i r s t " m e e t i n g w i t h r e a l i t y " ( "imzfte med v i r k e l i g h e t e n " ) , a s he came t o r e f e r t o i t . I t i s n o t a p a s s i v e c o n c e p t . I t i m p l i e s n o t s i m p l y a v i s i o n o f t h e w o r l d , b u t a c o l l i s i o n . I t i s a f a l l f r o m g r a c e and p r e s u p p o s e s t h e c h o i c e o f e i t h e r an e t e r n a l s t r u g g l e w i t h t h e w o r l d , o r s u r r e n d e r r e s u l t i n g i n s e l e c t i v e b l i n d n e s s , 4 c o m p l i c i t y with o p p r e s s i o n and even b e s t i a l i t y — t h e worst s o r t of "mauvaise f o i V " t o use S a r t r e ' s well-known term. Human beings have o f t e n chosen to r e l i n q u i s h t h e i r r i g h t to use t h e i r own eyes to see. "The world i s dark, gruesome and f r i g h t e n i n g , " he wrote i n 1972 i n h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n to h i s f i r s t n o v e l l a Duke Hans (Hertug H a n s ) — a n o t h e r book t h a t was d i s m i s s e d i n i t s time, and was not p u b l i s h e d u n t i l twenty-four years l a t e r : The w o r l d — o b j e c t i v e l y — w e cannot p o r t r a y . Our only p o s s i b i l i t y i s to d e s c r i b e the encounter between r e a l i t y and a mind ... Thus, the book t i e s i n c o n s i s t e n t l y with e v e r y t h i n g t h a t I have w r i t t e n l a t e r : the meeting of mind with r e a l i t y , with the world of i n j u s t i c e and b e s t i a l i t y — w i t h the incomprehensible f a c t t h a t a world t h a t i s i n i t s e l f b e a u t i f u l , has become e v i l and c o r r u p t . (HH 7) 2. From h i s d i s c o v e r y of Langhoff's book about the Oranienburg c o n c e n t r a t i o n camp up to h i s death by h i s own hand on May 10th 1976, Jens Bjo'rneboe would continue to look where others were not l o o k i n g . As a poet, e s s a y i s t , p l a y w r i g h t and n o v e l i s t i n the vanguard of post-war c u l t u r e i n S c a n d i n a v i a , he would continue to look i n t o the dark p l a c e s and b r i n g to l i g h t what p u b l i s h e r s p r e f e r r e d to i g n o r e , make popular causes out of unpopular i s s u e s , and break ground f o r new forms which d e f i e d the e s t h e t i c standards of the time i n n o r t h e r n Europe. I t has been s a i d of him t h a t d u r i n g h i s l i f e he f u n c t i o n e d as Norway's "bad c o n s c i e n c e . " 3 But h i s s i g n i f i c a n c e as an a r t i s t r e s t s 5 u pon t h e c o n t r a d i c t i o n s and i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s i n h i s c a r e e r , r a t h e r t h a n h i s a d h e r e n c e t o any c o n s i s t e n t p o l i t i c a l o r a r t i s t i c " l i n e . " H a v i n g b e gun a s a p a i n t e r a n d p o e t w i t h e x c l u s i v e l y e s t h e t i c a n d m e t a p h y s i c a l c o n c e r n s — a n d p e r s o n a l o p i n i o n s w h i c h c a n f o r t h e most p a r t be d e s c r i b e d as c o n s e r v a t i v e - - i t was i n f a c t t h r o u g h h i s engagement w i t h h i s a r t t h a t h i s engagement w i t h s o c i e t y e v o l v e d . A t h i s d e a t h he was a w r i t e r a t t h e f o r e f r o n t o f p o s t - w a r S c a n d i n a v i a n c u l t u r e . F o r a l m o s t a d e c a d e i t c o u l d h a v e been s a i d t h a t he was s i m u l t a n e o u s l y N orway's most i m p o r t a n t n o v e l i s t a n d p l a y w r i g h t . As o f t h i s w r i t i n g o n l y t h r e e o f h i s n o v e l s have b e e n p u b l i s h e d i n E n g l i s h : one o f them b e c a u s e i t was a s u c c e s  du s c a n d a l e a s " p o r n o g r a p h y " i n t h e r e s t o f S c a n d i n a v i a when i t was b a n n e d a n d c o n f i s c a t e d i n Norway. The book t h a t was t h e f i r s t v o l u m e o f t h e n o v e l t r i l o g y w h i c h i s h i s most i m p o r t a n t w o r k was r e l e a s e d by a m a j o r U.S. p u b l i s h e r , r e c e i v e d c o n s i s t e n t l y p o s i t i v e r e v i e w s , and s t r a n g e l y , was a l l o w e d t o d i e on t h e s h e l v e s i n t h e h a r d c o v e r e d i t i o n . 4 ' A l m o s t a l l o f h i s m a j o r p l a y s h a v e b e e n t r a n s l a t e d , b u t h a v e l a i n u n p r o d u c e d i n t h e d r a w e r s o f E n g l i s h and A m e r i c a n t h e a t e r s . T h i s , d e s p i t e p e r i o d i c b u r s t s o f e n t h u s i a s m f o r h i s w o r k on t h e c o n t i n e n t , n o t a b l y i n Germany. I n h i s t i m e he was c e r t a i n l y one o f t h e most i n t e r e s t i n g t h e a t e r w r i t e r s i n n o r t h e r n E u r o p e — b o t h a s t h e o r i s t a n d d r a m a t i s t — w h i l e most o t h e r w r i t e r s i n t h e a r e a had b e e n , and h a v e b e e n , s u f f e r i n g i n t h e shadow o f I b s e n a n d 6 S t r i n d b e r g f o r w h a t w i l l s o o n be a c e n t u r y . I t i s an a g e - o l d e v a s i o n t o e x p l a i n an a u t h o r ' s d i f f i c u l t i e s by t h e n o t i o n t h a t he was "ahead o f h i s t i m e . " I t i s s i m p l y e nough s o m e t i m e s t o be o u t o f s t e p w i t h f a s h i o n . I n l i t e r a t u r e , t h i s o f t e n m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f i n t h e d i s m i s s a l o f an a u t h o r o r a book t h a t i s n o t "modern." Duke Hans, a c c o r d i n g t o BjjzSrneboe, was c o n s i d e r e d "un-modern." T h a t i s , i t l a c k e d " t h e stamp o f t h e t i m e s " w h i c h c h a n g e s f r o m one p e r i o d t o a n o t h e r , and w h i c h "one i s i n c l i n e d t o r e g a r d , i n e a c h p e r i o d , a s t h e o n l y s o l u t i o n f o r l i t e r a t u r e . " He adds f u r t h e r : "Young a u t h o r s , e s p e c i a l l y , must ' b e l o n g t o t h e i r t i m e ' e v e n i f t h a t ' t i m e ' o n l y l a s t s a w h i l e " (HH 6). F o u r t e e n n o v e l s , s i x m a j o r p l a y s ( n o t i n c l u d i n g s e v e r a l c h i l d r e n ' s p l a y s ) s i x v o l u m e s o f p o e t r y , e i g h t v o l u m e s o f e s s a y s , o v e r t w e n t y t r a n s l a t i o n s ( i n c l u d i n g S t r i n d b e r g , B r e c h t , S c h i l l e r , W e d e k i n d , S a d e ) , two s c r e e n p l a y s a n d an u n f i n i s h e d a u t o b i o g r a p h y — t h i s i s t h e l e g a c y o f a w r i t e r who d i e d a t f i f t y - s i x , an age when many o f E u r o p e ' s most i m p o r t a n t a u t h o r s h a d y e t t o c o m p l e t e t h e i r b e s t w o r k . They c o n s t i t u t e B j(zfrneboe ' s a c c o u n t s o r " p r o t o c o l s " o f t h e m e e t i n g w i t h r e a l i t y . The e s s a y s — o n b o o k s , p e o p l e , p r i s o n s , c a t s , p o l i t i c s , t h e t h i r d w o r l d and t h e a t e r — a r e a l w a y s d e e p l y e n g a g e d . They t e n d t o w a r d e x t r e m e s o f u n r e s e r v e d e n t h u s i a s m f o r h i s s u b j e c t , t o d i r e c t a nd k i l l i n g p o l e m i c s , o f t e n h i g h l y humorous f o r a l l b u t t h e v i c t i m w i t h t h e i r t o n g u e - i n - c h e e k i r o n y . Many o f 7 t h e b e s t e s s a y s c o n s t i t u t e m a t e r i a l w h i c h Bjjrfrneboe p u t t o t h e t e s t b e f o r e d e v e l o p i n g and r e f i n i n g i t i n n o v e l s o r p l a y s . The p o e t r y m e a n w h i l e i s o f t e n m e t a p h y s i c a l , o r i e n t e d t o w a r d s y m b o l and m y t h , e x e c u t e d w i t h s e n s e f o r f o r m t h a t i s R i l k e a n . R i l k e i s t h e w r i t e r who most i n f l u e n c e d B j ^ r n e b o e i n h i s e a r l y y e a r s , and t h e poems d i s p l a y t h e i n f l u e n c e most c l e a r l y . The n o v e l s , m e a n w h i l e , b r i n g h i s m e t a p h y s i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e s t o g e t h e r w i t h a d e e p s e n s e o f d i s t u r b a n c e i n r e p o n s e t o t h e h i s t o r y , p o l i t i c s a n d c u l t u r e o f t h e West. H i s c e n t r a l w o r k o f f i c t i o n i s t h e t r i l o g y known as t h e H i s t o r y o f B e s t i a l i t y , w h i c h i n c l u d e s F r i h e t e n s ffyeblikk (Moment o f F r e e d o m ) , K r u t t a r n e t  (The P o w d e r h o u s e ) a n d S t i l l h e t e n (The S i l e n c e ) . H e r e t h e i n f l u e n c e s f r o m t h e c o n t i n e n t b e l o w t h e S c a n d i n a v i a n p e n i n s u l a emerge t o l i g h t . No s o o n e r d o e s one.become e v i d e n t , t h a n i t g i v e s way t o t h e n e x t one: N o v a l i s and N i e t z s c h e , B r e c h t a n d S t r i n d b e r g , K a f k a and Camus, B o c a c c i o a n d , an e l u s i v e p h a n t o m t h a t h o v e r s b e h i n d t h e t r i l o g y l i k e a c o n f e s s o r — D a n t e . The p l a y s , m e a n w h i l e , show t h e i n f l u e n c e o f B r e c h t , and t h e o t h e r g r e a t n o n - n a t u r a l i s t i c t h e a t e r t r a d i t i o n s ( i n c l u d i n g c i r c u s , mime an d w r e s t l i n g ) , t h o u g h t h e d i a l o g u e i t s e l f i s a l w a y s i n a s t y l e t h a t i s d i s t i n c t i v e l y B j ^ r n e b o e . H i s b r e a k - t h r o u g h a s a n o r i g i n a l d r a m a t i s t i n S c a n d i n a v i a , t h e s e c o n d i n Norway t o c a s t o f f t h e I b s e n i t e l e g - i r o n s — t h e f i r s t was N o r d a h l G r i e g — h a s t o do w i t h a n a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s o r i g i n a l i t y s h a r e d by most o f t h e 8 a v a n t - g a r d e i n t h e a t e r whose work has p r o v e n t o be o f l a s t i n g v a l u e . T h i s i s a n o r i g i n a l i t y w h i c h comes o f a r e t u r n t o t h e a t e r ' s o r i g i n s . The most s t r i k i n g a c h i e v e m e n t s h e r e a r e F u g l e e l s k e r n e (The B i r d L o v e r s ) a nd Semmelweis. W i t h B j ^ r n e b o e , a s w i t h many o t h e r w r i t e r s who h a v e t h e a b i l i t y t o w o r k i n d i f f e r e n t g e n r e s , t h e drama emerges a s t h e most e x p l i c i t l y s o c i a l f o r m . A l l o f t h e p l a y s c a n be v i e w e d a s p o l e m i c s , i n t h e s e n s e t h a t t h e y c o n t a i n a t t a c k s on c e n t r a l f a c t s o f o u r s o c i e t y a nd o u r e x i s t e n c e w h i c h h a v e become i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d . H e r e , Bjo'rneboe i s o f c o u r s e s h o w i n g t r a c e s o f a n i n h e r i t a n c e f r o m t h e S c a n d i n a v i a n t r a d i t i o n a l s o e v i d e n t i n t h e w o r k o f H o l b e r g , I b s e n a n d S t r i n d b e r g . The u n d i s g u i s e d i n f l u e n c e o f B r e c h t c e r t a i n l y o n l y p u t s t h i s a s p e c t o f h i s w o r k f u r t h e r i n t o r e l i e f . I n c o n t r a s t t o t h i s , t h e n o v e l s o f B j j ^ r n e b o e a r e v e r y o f t e n a l o n e l y w o r l d o f p e r c e p t i o n . T h a t i s n o t t o s a y t h e y a r e i n t r o v e r t e d o r p r i v a t e , b u t t h e y h a v e t h e " d r e a m - l i k e q u a l i t y w h i c h o u r h a l f - c o n s c i o u s m e e t i n g w i t h r e a l i t y a l w a y s h a s " (HH 7) . 3. B j o ' r n e b o e ' s d e v e l o p m e n t a s a w r i t e r m i g h t be b e s t d e s c r i b e d a s a t r a j e c t o r y f r o m e s t h e t i c a n d s p i r i t u a l c o n c e r n s t i e d i n w i t h h i s d eep i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h t h e s p i r i t u a l movement o f A n t h r o p o s o p h y , t o h i s f i n a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l r e s t i n g p l a c e : a n a r c h i s m . Y e t one h a s t o be c a u t i o u s i n p r o p o s i n g t h a t 9 k i n d o f t r a j e c t o r y , s i n c e b o t h i m p u l s e s a r e e v i d e n t a t b o t h t h e b e g i n n i n g a n d e n d o f h i s w r i t i n g c a r e e r . E v e n s o , h i s m e e t i n g s w i t h r e a l i t y w i l l t u r n i n c r e a s i n g l y i n t o c o n f l i c t s w i t h s o c i e t y a n d a u t h o r i t i e s — c h a r g e s i n t h e m e d i a , c h a r g e s and c o u n t e r c h a r g e s i n t h e c o u r t s , t h e b a n n i n g o f one o f h i s b o o k s , o u t r i g h t p r o s e c u t i o n , p e r s o n a l t h r e a t s a g a i n s t h i m , and o n g o i n g c r i t i c a l a s s e s s m e n t s o f " u n s a t i s f a c t o r y " t r e n d s i n h i s w o r k — a l l t h i s t a k i n g p l a c e i n a c o u n t r y t h a t w o u l d a p p e a r t o be t h e most i n n o c e n t o f modern d e m o c r a c i e s . And t o d a y , when h i s s t a t u r e i n h i s own c o u n t r y h a s begun t o t a k e on t h e p r o p o r t i o n s o f a m y t h , h i s w ork has up t i l l now b e e n p a s s e d o v e r i n v i r t u a l s i l e n c e i n t h e E n g l i s h s p e a k i n g w o r l d : t h a t l a n g u a g e a r e a w h ere an a u t h o r ' s w ork must a p p e a r i f he i s t o be a c k n o w l e d g e d by t h e w o r l d a t l a r g e . The i r o n y i n t h i s i s t h a t he n e v e r was a p a r t i c u l a r l y " N o r w e g i a n " w r i t e r . He n e v e r c o n s c i o u s l y d r e w a t t e n t i o n t o a n a t i o n a l o r N o r d i c s e n s i b i l i t y , a s d i d Hamsun, f o r e x a m p l e — n o r d i d he show an a f f i n i t y f o r n o r t h e r n and N o r w e g i a n n a t u r e , i s o l a t i o n a n d f a n t a s y , l i k e t h a t we f i n d i n T a r j e i V e s a a s . He was i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t i n a l m o s t e v e r y s e n s e o f t h e w o r d . I t m i g h t e v e n be s a i d t h a t he was a w r i t e r w i t h o u t a l a n g u a g e . B j p f r n e b o e ' s u s e o f l a n g u a g e shows c o n s t a n t e v i d e n c e o f h i s c o n s c i o u s l y a l l o w i n g i t t o be c o r r u p t e d by t h e German he g r e w up w i t h , t h e S w e d i s h he was s u r r o u n d e d by i n e x i l e , a nd t h e D a n i s h - l i k e r i k s m a l s p e l l i n g s he w o u l d u s e i f i t s u i t e d h i s p u r p o s e . 5 when he b r o u g h t h i s f i r s t t r a v e l p i e c e s t o t h e e d i t o r o f a n O s l o 1 0 d a i l y p a p e r , t h e e d i t o r ' s r e s p o n s e was f a v o r a b l e , t h o u g h he a s k e d , "Where i n t h e w o r l d h a v e y o u l e a r n e d y o u r N o r w e g i a n ? " He s a i d he had " n e v e r s e e n t h e l i k e , " a n d a s k e d p e r m i s s i o n t o " t r a n s l a t e i t i n t o N o r w e g i a n , " a s he gave t h e a s p i r i n g w r i t e r a n a d v a n c e f r o m h i s own p o c k e t ( R i n g n e s s 1 6 ) . L a t e i n h i s l i f e , s e a s o n e d by many c u l t u r a l b a t t l e s , B j jzirneboe r e m a r k e d t h a t he n e v e r i n t e n d e d t o v i s i t a t h e a t e r a g a i n : " I t s m e l l s o f t h e p i s s o f t h e b a r r i c a d e s " (OT 2 0 ) . B u t u n t i l t h e e n d o f h i s l i f e t h e b a r r i c a d e s w o u l d n e v e r come d o w n — a n d p a r a d o x i c a l l y , n e i t h e r d i d t h e l o n e l i n e s s w h i c h he a l w a y s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e d i s c o v e r y o f t r u t h . T h e r e i s , t h o u g h , a c o n f e d e r a t i o n o f s u c h d i s t u r b e r s o f t h e p e a c e , e v e n i n t h e i r s o l i t u d e . P a r t i c u l a r l y f o r t h o s e who a r e i n t e r n a t i o n a l i n t h e i r s p i r i t a n d p e r s p e c t i v e , t h i s c o n f e d e r a t i o n e x t e n d s o v e r b o r d e r s and r e c o g n i z e s i t s own i n a n y p l a c e a n d u n d e r a l l k i n d s o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s . How l i m i t e d t h e i r numbers a r e i s made e v i d e n t by t h e ways i n w h i c h t h e y o f t e n e n c o u n t e r e a c h o t h e r . I n 1 9 5 9 B j ^ r n e b o e was m a k i n g an e x t e n d e d s t a y a t B r e c h t ' s B e r l i n e r E n s e m b l e i n E a s t B e r l i n . He became en g a g e d i n a c o n v e r s a t i o n t h e r e , i n w h i c h he b e g a n t o d e s c r i b e t h e l i t t l e b ook a b o u t t h e O r a n i e n b u r g c o n c e n t r a t i o n camp t h a t h a d c h a n g e d t h e d i r e c t i o n o f a N o r w e g i a n c h i l d ' s l i f e . H i s i n t e r l o c u t o r s t o p s h i m . " I c h b i n L a n g h o f f , " he s a y s . " I w r o t e t h a t b o o k . " 5 11 A l l E u r o p e c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e m a k i n g o f K u r t z . J o s e p h C o n r a d H e a r t o f D a r k n e s s TWO / THE EARLY WORKS 1. I n 1948 J e n s Bjjzfrneboe w r o t e h i s f i r s t n o v e l H e r t u g Hans (Duke  H a n s ) , w h i c h was r e j e c t e d , p r a c t i c a l l y s p e a k i n g , by e v e r y p u b l i s h e r i n N o r w a y . 1 , I t w o u l d p r o v e t o be one o f h i s most f a s c i n a t i n g w o r k s , when f i n a l l y i t was p u b l i s h e d t w e n t y - f i v e y e a r s l a t e r . The b o o k , a l o n g n o v e l l a , t e l l s t h e s t o r y o f t h e f r a i l y o u n g e r b r o t h e r o f K i n g C h r i s t i a n I V o f Denmark. C h r i s t i a n s e n d s h i s d e s p o n d e n t b r o t h e r f i r s t t o t h e w a r s i n t h e N e t h e r l a n d s t o s u p p o r t t h e S p a n i a r d s a g a i n s t t h e P r o t e s t a n t s , a n e x a m p l e o f t h e R e a l p o l i t i k o f t h o s e t i m e s . I t i s t h e r e t h a t Hans e x p e r i e n c e s t h e c r u e l t y o f t h e e n c o u n t e r s b e t w e e n t h e c o m p e t i n g i d e o l o g i e s o f E u r o p e i n t h e F l e m i s h r e b e l l i o n a g a i n s t S p a i n . L a t e r C h r i s t i a n s e n d s h i m on a j o u r n e y d e e p i n t o a s e m i b a r b a r o u s R u s s i a t o s e e k t h e h a n d o f t h e C z a r ' s d a u g h t e r . Thus C h r i s t i a n e n g i n e e r s , f o r t h e s a k e o f p o l i t i c a l e x p e d i e n c y , a n e n c o u n t e r b e t w e e n two a n t i p o d a l p e r s o n a l i t y t y p e s , f o r t h e u l t r a s e n s i t i v e Hans comes up a g a i n s t t h e f i g u r e o f I v a n t h e T e r r i b l e . T h i s i s t h e f i r s t e x p l o r a t i o n o f t h e m e e t i n g b e t w e e n m i n d and t h e w o r l d , a theme w h i c h w i l l much more s e l f - c o n s c i o u s l y a b s o r b B j ^ r n e b o e a s a m a t u r e w r i t e r . Hans s e e s h i m s e l f r e f l e c t e d i n t h e f a c e s and f a t e s o f 12 o t h e r s — o f doubles, we might say. There i s h i s b r o t h e r , the a b s o l u t e r u l e r of more than h a l f of S c a n d i n a v i a . There i s a l s o the young Spanish g e n e r a l S p i n o l a who sees i n Hans h i s own l i k e n e s s . Looking a t h i m s e l f i n a m i r r o r , the r a p i d l y aging youth S p i n o l a — a man of power d e s p i t e h i m s e l f — r e f l e c t s , and r e f l e c t s i n f e a r . " I t was a s t r a n g e r ' s f a c e " : I t showed a man who had come to the border r e g i o n of l i f e , to the l a n d of images and of broken r e l a t i o n s from which none turned back. I t showed a person t h a t stood o u t s i d e of the law and would belong to a l l ages' and a l l n a t i o n s ' brotherhood of the r e b e l l i o u s , the desperate and the s u i c i d a l . (HH 57) As he wastes away towards h i s death i n the Czar's palace while awaiting the engagement c o n f i r m a t i o n which never a r r i v e s , Hans sees something of h i m s e l f i n the face of a young monk w a i t i n g to be broken on the wheel i n the c o u r t y a r d . His l a s t seemingly a r b i t r a r y a c t i n l i f e i s t o ask the Czar to spare the monk's l i f e . The meaning of t h i s f i n a l gesture w i l l become c l e a r e r when we r e t u r n to Bj^rneboe's concept of compassion (med-lidelse) i n h i s l a t e r works. The book was r e j e c t e d i n one case by a p u b l i s h e r who f e l t t h a t the young author had not p o r t r a y e d the d e t a i l s of h i s t o r i c a l r e a l i t y , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n R u s s i a of the time, a v a i l a b l e i n Axel G y l l e n s t i e r n e ' s accounts of Hans's t r a v e l s i n R u s s i a . "For any reader with any background i n h i s t o r y , " wrote the p u b l i s h e r ' s c o n s u l t a n t , "these e x t e r i o r s do not g i v e the impression of t r u t h . " The c o n s u l t a n t p e r c e i v e d an o l d - f a s h i o n e d c h r o n i c a l s t y l e , c o n f e s s i n g meanwhile t h a t the 13 saga had "power, atmosphere, beauty," and showed a "musical s e n s i b i l i t y " (Wandrup 46). The demands f o r p e r i o d r e a l i s m were s t i l l the demands of the time. The c o n s u l t a n t might have been cued about the type of novel he had before him by the r o l e played by the famous Nordic a s t r o l o g e r Tyge Brahe i n the n a r r a t i v e — a c l e a r i n d i c a t o r t h a t i t s ambitions were something q u i t e d i f f e r e n t from t h a t of l i t e r a r y r e a l i s m , or h i s t o r i c a l f i c t i o n . Brahe sees both the f a t e s of Hans and C h r i s t i a n i n the s t a r s . Yet i t i s Brahe who says t h a t i t i s f o r i n d i v i d u a l s to a f f e c t the d e s t i n i e s which the s t a r s h o l d f o r them. The book thus f a l l s i n t o a r i s i n g e x i s t e n t i a l i s t t r a d i t i o n i n u s i n g h i s t o r y , i n order to show a world with an absent c e n t e r , a search f o r v a l u e s i n the absence of God and r e c e i v e d b e l i e f s , or i n the face of a u n i v e r s e t h a t i s i n d i f f e r e n t or even malignant. A f t e r the t o t a l r e j e c t i o n of h i s f i r s t l i t e r a r y e f f o r t i n Norway, Bj^rneboe departs f o r Germany i n 1 9 4 8 — a Germany s t i l l i n r u i n s . The p a r a l l e l with Hans 1s quest i n t o the the c h a o t i c and barbarous lands of the Czar c o u l d be drawn, but f o r the f a c t t h a t Bj^rneboe's s t a r i s only p r e p a r i n g to r i s e . What he encounters i n the bombed, shell-w r a c k e d q u a r t e r s of urban Germany w i l l p r o v i d e him with new impetus. Having grown up i n a household which was f u n c t i o n a l l y b i l i n g u a l i n Norwegian and German, and with German a r t and l i t e r a t u r e forming the foundation of h i s c u l t u r a l e d u c a t i o n , he i s deeply t o r n h i m s e l f by the c o n t r a d i c t i o n between the c u l t u r e and the c r u e l t y i n what was t r a d i t i o n a l l y the most European of European 14 s o c i e t i e s . He had t r a v e l l e d to Germany one decade before with h i s mother: i n 1939 they had to break o f f t h e i r t r a v e l s due to the d e c l a r a t i o n of war. The c o n t r a s t between the f e v e r i s h f e s t i v i t i e s of ten years b e f o r e , and the r u i n s he wandered through i n 1948, w i l l p r o v i d e the menacing charge of the f i n a l chapters of h i s p i v o t a l work, Moment of Freedom ( F r i h e t e n s  jzSyeblikk) : Outside the crush and b u s t l e was g r e a t e r than b e f o r e , there were s t i l l more uniforms, and l o r r i e s with s o l d i e r s drove through the o v e r f l o w i n g s t r e e t s . People shouted and sang, and some broke out i n t o e n t h u s i a s t i c f i g h t songs. I t was a f o l k - f e s t i v a l and t h e r e was an i n t o x i c a t i o n of joy. I d i d n ' t understand what i t was a l l about. I t was only a b i t l a t e r i n the evening t h a t i t dawned on me t h a t the people were c e l e b r a t i n g the outbreak of the second world war. (FO 201) Between those f i r s t two t r i p s to Germany l i e s the p e r i o d of Bj^rneboe's e x i l e i n Stockholm. During the Stockholm p e r i o d he becomes deeply engaged with Anthroposophy through the Anthroposophic C h r i s t i a n S o c i e t y , and begins to study p a i n t i n g under Isaac Grunewald, a student of Matisse (Wandrup 41). He i s i n c r e a s i n g l y obsessed with a r t i s t i c form d u r i n g t h i s time, developing a s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t i n medieval and Byzantine p a i n t i n g . His own d i r e c t i o n veers towards impressionism, f o r he i s concerned above a l l with l i g h t , the p l a y between l i g h t and darkness, l i g h t and c o l o r — p r e o c c u p a t i o n s t h a t ' w i l l show up i n works l i k e L i t t l e Boy Blue, or Blctmann. Slowly h i s works move away from s t a t i c m o t i f s . " G r a d u a l l y he a l s o transformed h i s s t y l e , " w r i t e s h i s biographer, F r e d r i k Wandrup. "He stops 15 p a i n t i n g n e u t r a l landscapes. He begins to p a i n t n a r r a t i v e l y , more s y m b o l i c a l l y " (45). His p u r e l y e s t h e t i c obsessions d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d w i l l l a t e r s t r i k e him as absurd, or worse, i n the context of the world events of those times. I t w i l l become h i s core problem as a w r i t e r to d e a l with the "hole" i n h i s l i f e , a p e r i o d of l a c k i n g awareness, i n d i f f e r e n c e . We s h a l l see, however, t h a t even d u r i n g h i s most engaged phases as a p o l i t i c i z e d w r i t e r , the i n t e r e s t i n the power of form w i l l never d i s s i p a t e . For example, i n 1963 he w r i t e s of Cezanne: "He r e b u i l d s our image of the world / so e v e r y t h i n g i s f o r c e , t e n s i o n and music / completely r e c a s t i n the heat of h i s l o o k . . . . " (SD 177). A f t e r the war, h i s t r a v e l s r e s u l t i n a s e r i e s of t r a v e l e p i s t l e s and a r t i c l e s which are p u b l i s h e d i n the major d a i l y A ftenposten. Assembled i n t o book form, the essay volume Lanterner (Lanterns) i s r e f u s e d by the major p u b l i s h e r s Aschehoug and Gyldendal, but with p o s i t i v e comments. Meanwhile h i s f i r s t handful of poems are p u b l i s h e d i n Ordet by h i s c o u s i n , the well-known poet and t r a n s l a t o r Andre B j e r k e . These poems are soon bound i n t o h i s f i r s t p u b l i s h e d book, t i t l e d simply Poems (Dikt) i n 1951. I t r e c e i v e s c r i t i c a l s a l v o s f o r i t s c o o l s t y l e and o b s e s s i v e a t t e n t i o n to form. Paal Brekke w r i t e s i n Dagbladet t h a t i t " i s seldom, very seldom here a t home, t h a t such an a r t i s t i c a l l y conscious debutant comes f o r t h . " Brekke compares the poems to "the p a l e and immobile beauty of smooth marble" (qtd. i n Wandrup 50). P r i o r to the p u b l i c a t i o n of the f i r s t p oetry volume i n 16 1951, however, Bj^rneboe makes yet another t r i p to Germany where, while wandering through the limbo of r u i n s and the shades of a r e c e n t l y dead epoch, he f i n d s h i m s e l f a t the p o r t a l s of a much g r e a t e r journey, a journey i n t o human e v i l which w i l l l e a d him deeper f o r decades to come. Documents from the German p h y s i c i a n s ' t r i a l are put i n t o h i s hands by a s c i e n t i s t - l a w y e r whom he meets (Wandrup 51). They d e t a i l the p a i n f u l medical experiments which N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t d o ctors conducted on human beings on a massive s c a l e . While pondering the i n c o n c e i v a b l e f a c t of these events, he a l s o makes the acquaintance of the s u r v i v i n g f a m i l y of one Dr Rascher, an upstanding and f o r t h r i g h t c i t i z e n , who became one of the most n o t o r i o u s medical butchers d u r i n g h i s c l i n i c a l working hours. While c o n f r o n t i n g the h i s t o r i c a l f a c t , then, he a l s o becomes i n t i m a t e with the s i t u a t i o n of t h i s f i n e f a m i l y man, through those who knew him best. L a t c h i n g on to Rascher's case as a p o s s i b l e key to the phenomenon of Nazism, and the c o m p l i c i t y of sc i e n c e with barbarism, he l a t e r r e f l e c t s t h a t "the i n s i g h t i n t o t h i s sea of inhuman e v i l and c r u e l t y was the cause of the many-year long d e p r e s s i o n which f o l l o w e d " (FHG 52). 2. These events p r o v i d e the frame f o r h i s f i r s t p u b l i s h e d novel Before the Cock Crows (F0r hanen g a l e r , 1952). W r i t t e n f i r s t as a p l a y , which was r e j e c t e d by a t l e a s t one t h e a t e r f o r the reason t h a t "the p u b l i c runs away from t h i s k i n d of m a t e r i a l , " Bj^rneboe transformed i t i n t o a documentary novel of p a r t i c u l a r c o n c i s i o n and t e n s i o n — n o t a b l y , some years before the documentary novel came i n t o vogue (OT 7). The frame of the n o v e l , a c c o r d i n g to F r e d r i k Wandrup, i s p u r e l y a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l m a t e r i a l (52). Dr Rascher becomes Dr Reynhardt. The author t e l l s f i r s t of h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n t o Reynhardt 1s young SS a s s i s t a n t Max—who i s now l i v i n g out h i s l a s t days as a d e b i l i t a t e d , b u l l e t - r i d d e n c r i p p l e i n a makeshift hospice i n a r u i n e d tenement. Max i s a c r e a t u r e of h i s times and the s y s t e m — t a k e n d u r i n g h i s formative years and i n s e r t e d i n t o a value system which n u r t u r e d h i s c r u e l l e s t impulses. He i s now a c y n i c a l , c o n t r a p t i o n of b r u t a l i t y who scorns and abuses even the k i n d people who want to nurse him through h i s l a s t days. There i s a l s o a d e s c r i p t i o n of a meeting with a p e c u l i a r Norwegian named Lyngby, who r a r e l y speaks h i s n a t i v e language, and i s l i v i n g a l i f e d e d i c a t e d to a l l e v i a t i n g human s u f f e r i n g a f t e r the war. F i n a l l y comes the meeting with Reynhardt's f a m i l y . Ensuing on t h i s i s the f i c t i o n a l r e c r e a t i o n of the events of the past based upon the documentation a v a i l a b l e i n the present. The book i s s p l i t i n t o two t i e r s , the f i r s t of which i s dominated by the•author v o i c e , and the second i n which the author attempts to be absent, a l l o w i n g the t h i r d person and omniscient n a r r a t i v e to move forward without author s p e c u l a t i o n or comment. I t i s a technique t h a t w i l l r e c u r i n l a t e r Bjo'rneboe n o v e l s . The a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l f r a m e — u s e d i n a s i m p l i s t i c and schematic f a s h i o n when compared to the 18 s o p h i s t i c a t e d m a n i p u l a t i o n of a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l and f i c t i o n a l m a t e r i a l i n h i s t r i l o g y more than a decade l a t e r — i s an e a r l y i n d i c a t o r of how the myth of the man Bj^rneboe i t s e l f has entered the l i t e r a t u r e of h i s n a t i v e country. Juxtaposed with Reynhardt i s the hardened SS o f f i c e r Heidebrand. He has chosen a l i f e i n quest of power and s t a t u s i n the h i e r a r c h y of the system, and u n l i k e Reynhardt who allows h i m s e l f t o be drawn i n through weakness, and the o b f u s c a t i o n t h a t he i s s e r v i n g s c i e n c e , Heidebrand i s q u i t e conscious of h i s c h o i c e . "They wanted i t t h a t way," says Heidebrand of former f r i e n d s who have ended up i n camps. "They wanted to l i e beneath the wheel. And I wanted to s i t up i n the c a r r i a g e " (FHG 125). But Heidebrand i s a l s o able to make the ch o i c e to drop out of the madness. He had once chosen e v i l , but he has the w i l l to choose h i s way out of i t aga i n . I f Reynhardt i s evidence of a human being's i n f i n i t e a b i l i t y to be p a s s i v e l y shaped by the world and s o c i a l f o r c e s , Heidebrand i s evidence of the o p p o s i t e : t h a t a human being has i n f i n i t e p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r choosing h i s d i r e c t i o n and h i s l i f e . He a s s e r t s t h a t he has broken with h i s l i f e once, "And I can break out a g a i n . And again! And again! There are no bounds t o how o f t e n a man can break with h i s p a s t . Every moment he can do i t ! " (168). Heidebrand's r e s u r r e c t i o n i n the form and name of h i s dead Norwegian c e l l m a t e a t the end of the war pr o v i d e s a k i n d of hope t h a t s p i r a l s f o r t h through the v i c i o u s c y c l e of e v i l i n s t i t u t i o n s making e v i l men, and e v i l men making i n s t i t u t i o n s to c a r r y out f u r t h e r e v i l . Although Bj0rneboe poses a 19 c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n t h i s p o r t r a y a l of human nature by p l a y i n g o f f a Reynhardt a g a i n s t a Heidebrand, i t cannot c o u n t e r a c t the weight of pessimism the raw m a t e r i a l s u p p l i e s . The d e d i c a t i o n of the novel reads: "This book i s w r i t t e n to the memory of the v i c t i m s of the b l i n d n e s s of heart and the c h i l l i n g of s p i r i t which has long c h a r a c t e r i z e d modern s c i e n c e . " In 1967 l i t e r a r y c r i t i c Ole Storm of the i n f l u e n t i a l Copenhagen d a i l y P o l i t i k e n would t u r n h i s s i g h t s on Bj^rneboe's i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y acclaimed n o v e l , Moment of Freedom, by c i t i n g B jafrneboe' s f i r s t p u b l i s h e d n o v e l : " T h i s , i n Norway, famous no v e l , serves as an e x t e n s i o n of Bj/zfrneboe' s e a r l i e r novel of i n d i g n a t i o n , Before the Cock Crows (which i n my o p i n i o n used the German c o n c e n t r a t i o n camp d o c t o r s ' c y n i c a l experiments with p r i s o n e r s as an excuse to w r i t e s e n s a t i o n a l i s t i c a l l y about p e r v e r s i o n and sadism) - " v ^ During the c o u r t a c t i o n t h a t Bj^rneboe took a g a i n s t Storm f o r l i b e l , he remarked t h a t h i s l i t e r a r y c a r e e r was devoted to the problem of e v i l : I t i s my theme once and f o r a l l — i t i s not a theme I have chosen f o r myself; i t has been an a b s o l u t e n e c e s s i t y , never a c h o i c e . The t h i n g s I have w r i t t e n have been what nowadays i s c a l l e d "engaged" w r i t i n g . But i t has never been a w i l l f u l e n g a g e m e n t — i t would have been more p l e a s a n t to w r i t e about i d y l l s about flowers and about harmless t h i n g s ... I've never been able to do t h a t , I have been an "engaged" w r i t e r a g a i n s t my w i l l . . . . (Wandrup 54) 3. The year a f t e r Before the Cock Crows, Bj^rneboe's p r e v i o u s breakthrough as a poet i s r e i n f o r c e d with a second volume of 20 p o e m s — A r i a d n e (L953 ) . The poems i n b o t h p o e t r y v o l u m e s show an o v e r r i d i n g c o n c e r n w i t h f o r m — o f t e n t r a d i t i o n a l f o r m s , s o n n e t s o r v a r i a t i o n s on s o n n e t f o r m — a n d t h e c o n t e n t a n d c o n c e r n s t h e m s e l v e s a r e e i t h e r f o r m a l o r m e t a p h y s i c a l . The s u b j e c t s o f p o l i t i c s , s e n s u a l i s m , d e p r e s s i o n , a l c o h o l i s m a n d o t h e r w o r l d l y m a t t e r s do n o t make a s h o w i n g i n much o f t h i s w o r k . T h e r e i s a f r e q u e n t u s e and r e - u s e o f t h e P a s s i o n a s a c e n t r a l m o t i f . B j ^ r n e b o e i s a t t h i s t i m e a t e a c h e r a t t h e S t e i n e r S c h o o l , w h i c h he q u i t e l i t e r a l l y h e l p e d t o b u i l d , t o g e t h e r w i t h h i s f i r s t w i f e , L i s e l . The e m p h a s i s t h e A n t h r o p o s o p h i s t s p l a c e upon myth d e e p l y a f f e c t s h i s t e a c h i n g a s w e l l a s h i s a r t . Immersed d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d i n t h e w o r k s o f R i l k e , he c a p t u r e s an image f r o m a m y t h , a w o r k o f a r t , a n d a t t e m p t s t o l i g h t up t h e t e n s i o n s i n i t — a i m i n g t o c a p t u r e t h e e s s e n c e t h r o u g h s h o w i n g t h e t e n s i o n — m u c h a s R i l k e d i d i n t h e Neue G e d i c h t e c c o l l e c t i o n s . 3 The poem " E a s t e r : The B a s k e t M a k e r " ("Paske: K u r v m a k e r e n " ) shows how B j ^ f r n e b o e t i l t s t h e R i l k e a n mode t o w a r d s h i s own t h e m e s , a nd w i t h an i n n u e n d o w h i c h i s t h e b a r e s t h i n t o f what i s t o c o m e — b o t h i n t h e s t o r y o f t h e P a s s i o n , a n d i n Bj0rneboe's own p r o g r e s s i o n as a w r i t e r . H e r e I h a v e made s o m e t h i n g q u i t e new n e v e r s e e n b e f o r e : A c r o w n o f t h o r n s . I , who d w e l l i n J e r u s a l e m — m y home's on t h e s t r e e t o f b a s k e t w e a v e r s - -a q u i e t man w i t h w o r k s h o p , w i f e a n d c h i l d r e n ; I know t h e w o r k I do q u i t e w e l l a n d s u c h a c r o w n I ' v e n e v e r made b e f o r e . I c u t my b r a n c h e s f r o m a t r e e o f r o s e s , 21 seven t h i n branches, p l i a b l e and long, seven s o f t thorny branches were enough. On those branches there were many, many of t h i s year's young roses sprouted f o r t h . I put a l l of the e x t r a s i n a mug — t h e dark, red and the wet, g r e e n — so they gave a happy fr a g r a n c e to my house, and burn out r a t h e r s l o w l y l i k e a f i r e . But no one a t the workshop here can see what they s h a l l do with such a crown as t h a t . (SD 81) The i n f l u e n c e R i l k e e x e r t e d on Bj^rneboe the poet might be s a i d to be based on three a f f i n i t i e s : p e r s o n a l , p h i l o s o p h i c a l and f o r m a l . The p e r s o n a l experience of the world i s d e s c r i b e d by both as something a k i n to being a t r a v e l e r among n a t i v e s — a n d even t h a t of an a r r i v a l on a new p l a n e t . In "Der Einsame" R i l k e w r i t e s : L i k e one who's t r a v e l e d over f o r e i g n seas I am always among the n a t i v e s ; the f u l l days are decked out on t h e i r t a b l e s , but t o me t h i n g s d i s t a n t make sense. Here a new world r i s e s i n my view Which i s perhaps u n i n h a b i t e d l i k e the moon.... In "Emigranteri," one of h i s f i r s t poems, Bjo'rneboe makes a statement t h a t i s remarkably s i m i l a r : In a l l the rooms with darkened b l a n k e t s , i n a l l the beds i n which I have l a i n i n c i t i e s where I c o u l d not remain no i n h a b i t a n t even knows my name. ( . . . ) I am a c h i l d of f o r e i g n p l a n e t s . 22 A g r e a t e r n a m e l e s s t h i n g drew me p o w e r f u l l y f r o m f a c e s , l a n d s a n d c i t i e s r o u n d me. 5. I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e a f f i n i t y f o r R i l k e ' s p e r s o n a l p e r s p e c t i v e , t h e r e i s a common s t r a i n i n t h e p h i l o s o p h i c a l s y s t e m s , w h i c h s u g g e s t t h a t a s t r i v i n g t o w a r d s d e a t h i s t h e most d i r e c t r o u t e t o i l l u m i n a t i o n . R i l k e ' s poem " R o m i s c h e S a r k o p h a g e " ("Roman S a r c o p h o g i " ) d e s c r i b e s an o r n a m e n t e d s a r c o p h o g u s w i t h r i n g s , c a r v e d i d o l s , r i b b o n s a n d c u t g l a s s , i n w h i c h " w a n d e r i n g i n s l o w d e c o m p o s i t i o n / a t h i n g d i s s o l v i n g s l o w l y l a y — / t i l l i t was s w a l l o w e d by t h e unknown mouth / t h a t n e v e r s p e a k s (Where w i l l a b r a i n a r i s e / a n d t h i n k t o p u t i t t o good u s e . ) " 6 We m i g h t p a r a p h r a s e , " I f o n l y d e a t h c o u l d s p e a k . " B j j r f r n e b o e 1 s s i m i l a r t h o u g h t i s — i f , o n l y d e a t h c o u l d w a l k : i f o n l y we c o u l d l i v e , f u l l y a w a r e o f o u r m o r t a l i t y . I n a poem h a n d l i n g s i m i l a r m o t i f s , " L a z a r u s , " we f i n d t h e k e r n e l o f t h o u g h t w h i c h w i l l f l o w e r i n t o a w h o l e s y s t e m o f t h o u g h t c o n c e r n i n g d e a t h - a w a r e n e s s . 7 L a z a r u s a r i s e s t o e a t w i t h t h e o t h e r s : And t h e s e who a l l h a d d e a t h w i t h i n them now saw t h a t he who was now f i l l e d w i t h t h a t a l o n e — w h o h a d e a t e n h i s f i l l o f d e a t h — h e c o u l d f r e e h i m s e l f f r o m t h e d e a t h w i t h i n h i m and r e t u r n . Now he came a g a i n a n d h a d more l i f e i n h i m t h a n t h e y . (SD 48) 23 N e i t h e r Bj/zfrneboe nor R i l k e are e x c l u s i v e l y poets of darkness. As a poet, Bj^rneboe does not have R i l k e ' s o c c a s i o n a l h a r l e q u i n - l i k e a b i l i t y t o f i n d wisdom i n a l i g h t j o k e — a s i n "Das K a r u s s e l l " , where R i l k e d e s c r i b e s a world of movement and c o l o r , "And every now and then a white elephant. " i 8J Bj^rneboe's humor tends more toward the grotesque. Epicureanism and hedonism when i t comes to c u i s i n e and d r i n k are o f t e n d r i v e n to the p o i n t of the manic. He does, * on o c c a s i o n , s e t out to show t h a t l i f e can be f u l l indeed f o r a Lazarus r e t u r n e d to the dinner t a b l e . In a long-poem, "On Places on E a r t h and Food I L i k e " ("Om steder pa jorden og mat jeg l i k e r " ) we are presented with a l i t a n y of p l e a s u r a b l e items t h a t i s a c r o s s between a pan-European menu and one of Walt Whitman's l y r i c a l l i s t s . "In Wiirzburg / I ate a carp, b l a u gesotten, / i n i t s own f a t . I t passed my g i l l s / grazed my t e a r ducts / and went i n a l i g h t n i n g f l a s h / through my b r a i n . / I drank Mosel with i t . / During t h i s meal I was / unconscious" (SD 120). R i l k e had the a b i l i t y t o draw d i s t a n t beacons of l i g h t from the t h i c k e s t fog of darkness. In "Aus E i n e r Sturmnacht" he w r i t e s : "On such n i g h t s my l i t t l e s i s t e r ' s growing / who l i v e d before me and d i e d before me, q u i t e s m a l l . / There have been many such n i g h t s s i n c e then: / She must be growing l o v e l y . Soon t h e y ' l l a l l be p r o p o s i n g . " 9 T h i s sense of e x p e c t a t i o n , of something a p p a r e n t l y l o s t t h a t i s g r o w i n g — a pregnant darkness, you might s a y — - i s to be found i n BjjzSrneboe' s " S t i l l Night" ( " S t i l l e Natt") as i t i s i n R i l k e ' s stormy n i g h t : 24 The n i g h t t o n i g h t i s h o l y . Something w i l l happen. I t i s not simply snow t h a t w i l l come down from heaven. The n i g h t t o n i g h t i s h o l y . Someone w i l l d i e t o n i g h t . New-s>own and f e a r f u l and f a i n t heaven i s spawning i n i c e where i t ' s s h i n i n g and smooth on the s t r e e t . The n i g h t t o n i g h t i s h o l y . Someone w i l l be born t o n i g h t . Our dark, f r e e z i n g globe i s not f o r s a k e n , q u i t e . From her luminous s i s t e r s someone i s coming t o n i g h t . (SD 50-51) The apprehension, t h i s w a i t i n g f o r something to emerge from d a r k n e s s — i m p l y i n g a b e l i e f i n the e s s e n t i a l f e r t i l i t y of d a r k n e s s — i s very s i m i l a r to the.sense of apprehension which w i l l dominate one of Bj^rneboe's f i n a l n o v e l s : The S i l e n c e  ( S t i l l h e t e n ) . I t i s a l s o i n d i c a t i v e of Bj^rneboe's c o n v i c t i o n t h a t t r u t h i s d i s c o v e r e d i n s o l i t u d e . In the poem " I s c h a r i o t " Bj^rneboe f i n d s l e s s e v i l i n a f i g u r e r e p r e s e n t i n g a c r i m i n a l element than i n the good c i t i z e n s around him. The I s c h a r i o t f i g u r e i s even a necessary c a t a l y s t to b r i n g about the ascendency of C h r i s t ("What would the whole t h i n g have come to without me?") He played h i s r o l e i n d e s t i n y , i n a d e s i g n f o r a holy r i t u a l . I t was a s p r i n g . And the branch I chose was heavy with the smells of flowers t h a t snowed. So we were both f r u i t — o n each our t r e e . 25 I t was before Pesah; they'd whitewashed every house Before the Sabbath the end had to be a t t a i n e d : The o t h e r s — f l e d . J u s t we two remained. (SD 17) In the m i d - s i x t i e s the poem "Flowers f o r Genet" ("Blomster f o r Genet") would expand on the theme, as Bja'rneboe's endless plumbing of the crown of thorns motif continued: Maria, mother of a l l a f l i c t i o n Name our names i n your b e n e d i c t i o n s We're a l l b e a r i n g crowns of thorns We are, each one, sons of yours. P r o c u r e r s and sodomites E x h i b i t i o n i s t s and t r a n s v e s t i t e s P ederasts, f e t i s h i s t s Poets and masochists Morphine a d d i c t s , a l c o h o l i c s V i r g i n , a l l a f f l i c t i o n s ' mother Console Genet, our poor brother He too bears a crown of thor n s . Thieves, whores and Genet We hanging one s i d e and the other Of your son on a f f l i c t i o n s ' t r e e Know what the world's s a v i o r s u f f e r s V i r g i n mother, only we Know what the cup of mercy means: The c o r o n a l thorns t u r n to r o s e s . (SD, 137) At t h i s j u n c t u r e , 1965, poems l i k e t h i s one are t a k i n g on a new cadence, with sharpened imagery and a sense of d i r e c t n e s s which i s a l s o a r e s u l t of the c o n t i n u i n g i n f l u e n c e t h a t German p o e t i c s w i e l d s over Bj^rneboe. I t i s simply t h a t he has moved 26 from one dominating pole of i n f l u e n c e i n German poetry of the e a r l y t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y , t h a t of R i l k e , to the o t h e r — t h a t of Brecht. For those who know i t , the appeal f o r a b s o l u t i o n i n the poem; above w i l l perhaps have a c e r t a i n r i n g of Brecht's " B a l l a d e , i n der Macheath Jedermann A b b i t t e L e i s t e t " ("Ballad i n which Macheath Begs A l l Men f o r F o r g i v e n e s s " ) , the r e l i g i o u s content of the poem not w i t h s t a n d i n g . The M a r x i s t , Brecht, n u r t u r e d a p a r t i c u l a r sentiment f a v o r i n g a b s o l u t i o n f o r the o u t c a s t s of s o c i e t y which, f o r example, comes through i n the poem about the i n f a n t i c i d e Marie F a r r a r ("But you, I beg you, check your wrath and scorn / For man needs help from every c r e a t u r e born").. 19; As with Brecht, Bj^rneboe had always w r i t t e n a c o n s i d e r a b l e p r o p o r t i o n of h i s poetry i n a meter and rhyme, o f t e n with s h o r t l i n e s , t h a t would be conducive to musical s e t t i n g s f o r the purpose of t h e a t e r or cabaret. Even i n h i s e a r l i e s t works, Bj^rneboe i s not bent upon an u n c r i t i c a l or devout p o r t r a y a l of C h r i s t i a n imagery, i c o n s and r i t u a l . He was always q u i t e capable of t u r n i n g them on t h e i r head, so t h a t any l i e s would come r a t t l i n g out. In h i s f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n , the poem "The Monk" ("Munken I-II") d e p i c t s a f i g u r e who i s t o r n between the forms of monastic l i f e which he obeys with the utmost d e v o t i o n , and h i s deepest i n n e r d e s i r e s . The f i r s t p a r t of the poem—the f i r s t of two s o n n e t s — d e s c r i b e s h i s d e v o t i o n to the h o l y forms. I t opens with the l i n e s : "I am one of those who only l o v e s / where death and p a i n , c o n s i d e r e d w e l l and weighed / are shown' me. Need f o r any e a r t h l y , c l o s e / and f e r t i l e love I've never had." I t i s a 27 l i f e "formed" so t h a t i t i s "immobile / and l i n k e d to the spheres of h i g h e s t t h o u g h t s — / where e a r t h and heaven meet...." In the second s e c t i o n , the forms of monastic l i f e are t r e a t e d with ominous i r o n y : They p r a i s e d me and proclaimed: "Brother, you are immune from God's judgment—you are j u s t . Of a l l the b r o t h e r s you're the only worthy of Him! You are l i k e one of those g i a n t t r e e s which can't be b a t t e r e d down by wind and storm. You serve the Lord, and l o y a l l y p e r s e v e r e ! " To t h i s I kept my shameless s i l e n c e : f o r the whole time I was screaming with d e s i r e ! Yes, i n s i d e me was a dog t h a t I had beaten. With bared t e e t h , s n a r l i n g and a f r a i d l a y something there c r i p p l e d , bent and howling and s n a r l e d a t me l i k e a t a wounded c a p t i v e . And i f I would sometimes j o i n him i n h i s screaming the e n t i r e c l o i s t e r thought t h a t I was s i n g i n g . ( S D 2 5 ) The form a poet or a r t i s t uses may not only c o n t a i n , but may cover over the very t h i n g he i s t r y i n g to express. In t h i s way d e v o t i o n to form becomes a t e r r i b l e l i e , which simultaneously encages the poet, and f o o l s the world around him with the facade i t puts up. J u s t as the young p a i n t e r Bj^rneboe f e l t c o n s t r a i n e d by the medium of p a i n t i n g , the poet Bj^rneboe begins to f e e l c o n s t r a i n e d by i n h e r i t e d l i t e r a r y forms. I t i s s t a r t l i n g to look again at t h i s poem i n l i g h t of Ortega y Gasset's d e s c r i p t i o n of what he saw as a coming formal r e v o l t a g a i n s t o l d e r forms i n the a r t s . He wondered i f Western 28 man d i d not f e e l something l i k e the odium p r o f e s s i o n i s of medieval monks, i n which they were compelled to r e b e l a g a i n s t the "very r u l e s t h a t had shaped t h e i r l i v e s Y " 1 1 , 4. Mythology and s t o r y - t e l l i n g , employing the method of pa r a b l e , would always be Bj^rneboe's most e f f e c t i v e t o o l f o r g e t t i n g at the heart of e x i s t e n c e . They p r o v i d e d a way f o r both w r i t e r and reader t o plumb, t h e i r own h e a r t s , to r e e s t a b l i s h l i n k s with a common c u l t u r a l h e r i t a g e — a n d h i s proof was the a b i l i t y of myths and s t o r y - t e l l i n g to teach and n o u r i s h the c r e a t i v e powers of c h i l d r e n . When the s o c i a l l y "engaged" novel Jonas  (The Least of These i n E n g l i s h t r a n s l a t i o n ; 1 2 ) appeared out of the p e a c e f u l w e l f a r e - s t a t e h o r i z o n i n 1955, b r i n g i n g on the great "Jonas-debate" on education i n Scand i n a v i a , the author's o r i g i n a l motives i n w r i t i n g the book seemed to have been f o r g o t t e n . I t became a debate-novel i n the Scandinavian t r a d i t i o n : a tendensroman. As a r e s u l t , an important subplot i n the novel was disparaged by c r i t i c s a t the time the book came out. I t i s the s t o r y of a s a i l o r who takes the young runaway Jonas under h i s wing, and with the help of s t o r i e s from h i s t r a v e l s and the o l d myths, begins n u r s i n g the c h i l d back to p s y c h i c h e a l t h . The s t o r y of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p , though, d i d not seem to f i t w e l l with the s t o r y of l i t t l e Jonas and the school system. For Bj^rneboe, i t can now be a s s e r t e d , the motif of the s a i l o r and the castaway c h i l d was more important 29 than much e l s e t h a t was i n the book. I t i s a motif which Bj^rneboe w i l l r e t u r n t o i n h i s f i n a l n o v e l , The Sharks  (Haiene). Jonas i s the s t o r y of a c h i l d who has d y s l e x i a , and because he i s a p p a r e n t l y unable to l e a r n to read and w r i t e l i k e the o t h e r s , he i s i n c r e a s i n g l y punished and persecuted by the adherents of the sch o o l system. Jonas i s p o r t r a y e d as a b r i g h t and p r e c o c i o u s c h i l d , with a powerful but unharnessed c r e a t i v e f a n t a s y . His own a n x i e t y a t being unable to read l i k e other c h i l d r e n t e s t s h i s i n g e n u i t y to the p o i n t t h a t , with the help of h i s f a t h e r , he l e a r n s a l l h i s l e s s o n s by memory. When h i s v i g i l a n t teacher Kraka ("crow", with a s l i g h t r e s p e l l i n g ) uncovers the f a c t t h a t he i s s t i l l unable to read, she takes measures to have him p l a c e d i n a sch o o l f o r c h i l d r e n with l e a r n i n g d i s a b i l i t i e s , " I d i o t t e n " or "the I d i o t " , as the c h i l d r e n c a l l i t . With the death of the o l d and humane head master of the s c h o o l , a new breed of l o y a l , b u s i n e s s - l i k e — a n d by c h o i c e , f a c e l e s s — e d u c a t o r s take c o n t r o l of the s c h o o l : the "Salamanders", as the n a r r a t o r c a l l s them, employing K a r e l Capek's term. Thus, the f a t e of Jonas seems s e a l e d . The cornered c h i l d once agai n draws on h i s resources and hides out on a s h i p . A f t e r the s h i p embarks, he i s d i s c o v e r e d . I t i s then t h a t he meets the s a i l o r — a n o r d i n a r y seaman on the v e s s e l . I t i s with the s a i l o r and h i s s t o r e of myths, legends and t a l e s from around the world, t h a t J o n a s 1 s e d u c a t i o n i n f a c t begins. And i t i s with Jonas, p a r t i c u l a r l y when the two of them r e t u r n t o an a l t e r n a t i v e s c h o o l t h a t o f f e r s the c h i l d 30 h o p e , t h a t t h e s a i l o r h i m s e l f w i l l d i s c o v e r h i s p o t e n t i a l a s a t e a c h e r — b y s h e e r v i r t u e o f h i s empathy a n d s o l i d a r i t y w i t h c h i l d r e n . T h i s d i f f e r e n t s o r t o f s c h o o l i n d i s p u t a b l y d r a w s on t h e S t e i n e r S c h o o l i n Norway a s i t s m o d e l , w i t h t h e f i c t i o n a l d i f f e r e n c e , one w o u l d i m a g i n e , t h a t a number o f t h e f a c u l t y a r e h a l f - b r o k e n n e u r o t i c s , f i g h t i n g o f f a l c o h o l i s m . T h i s i n c l i n a t i o n o f Bjjzfrneboe t o r e s i s t p o r t r a y a l s o f a n y k i n d o f i d e o l o g i c a l o r t h e o l o g i c a l U t o p i a i s an i n d i c a t i o n , p e r h a p s , o f why he e v e n t u a l l y , w i t h o u t f a n f a r e , d r o p p e d h i s a f f i l i a t i o n w i t h o f f i c i a l A n t h r o p o s o p h y — a n d n e v e r was t o j o i n a p o l i t i c a l p a r t y w h i c h p r o j e c t e d any k i n d o f U t o p i a . F o r when p e o p l e t r u l y h o l d o u t f o r r e a s o n a n d h u m a n i t y , i n B j ^ r n e b o e , a p r i c e i s e x a c t e d o f them. When a t e a c h e r named M a r x , s i c k a n d r e l a p s i n g i n t o a l c o h o l i s m , a s k s t h e s a i l o r t o f i l l i n f o r h i s g e o g r a p h y c l a s s , t h e s a i l o r p r o t e s t s n e r v o u s l y t h a t " i t ' s n o t my a r e a . " The o l d e r man r e a c t s w i t h i n c r e d u l i t y . " B u t y o u , a f t e r a l l , h a v e b e e n i n A r a b i a ! " The s a i l o r bows t o p r e s s u r e : The s a i l o r t o o k t h e g e o g r a p h y c l a s s , n o t i n t h e c a p a c i t y o f a s u b s t i t u t e l e c t u r e r , b u t i n t h e c a p a c i t y o f a s a i l o r who ha d b e e n on l e a v e i n t h e s t r e e t s o f t h e b a z a a r s a nd who h a d r i d d e n a c a m e l on t h e d e s e r t . As p r o o f t h a t he had b e e n t h e r e he t o o k w i t h h i m t o t h e c l a s s a d r i e d d e s e r t p l a n t w h i c h he had s t o r e d away i n h i s s u i t c a s e s i n c e t h a t t i m e . I t was a s m a l l , b l a c k - b r o w n b a l l o f s t u f f w h i c h r e s e m b l e d a c o m b i n a t i o n o f l e a t h e r a n d w i t h e r e d g r a s s . I t was r o l l e d up l i k e a f i s t , a n d was l i g h t a s p a p e r . T h i s d e s e r t p l a n t h a d t h e c a p a b i l i t y o f d r y i n g o u t a n d r o l l i n g up when t h e e a r t h b e n e a t h i t was w i t h o u t w a t e r . I t became p e r f e c t l y r o u n d a n d l i g h t a s d r y g r a s s , a n d t h e n i t t r a v e l e d w i t h t h e w i n d — r o l l e d m i l e a f t e r m i l e b a c k and f o r t h a c r o s s t h e A r a b i a n o r w h i c h e v e r d e s e r t . I t c o u l d l i v e f o r d e c a d e s , up t o f i f t y y e a r s t h i s way, w i t h o u t w a t e r a n d n o u r i s h m e n t . I t s t r u c k t h e s a i l o r t h a t i t r e p r e s e n t e d a n e x c e l l e n t p s y c h o l o g i c a l p a r a l l e l f r o m t h e p l a n t k i n g d o m . I f i t 31 came to an o a s i s , t o water, then i t f l a t t e n e d out and became s o f t and r o s e t t e - s h a p e d , i t put down r o o t s and became green ag a i n . I t was so accustomed to d e s e r t temperatures t h a t i t p r e f e r r e d to be s e t i n b o i l i n g water each time i t was r e s u r r e c t e d from the dead. Then i t bloomed i n an i n s t a n t . The s a i l o r t o s s e d r a p i d l y boiling water on i t i n f r o n t of the c l a s s , and the brown b a l l s t r e t c h e d and f l a t t e n e d out l i k e a f i s t e d hand opening up. He d i d n ' t get much f u r t h e r than t o t h i s p l a n t d u r i n g the geography c l a s s , and he t o l d t h i s to Marx afterwards. " E x c e l l e n t , " s a i d Marx, " t h a t ' s how i t should be done. So i t became a botany c l a s s i n s t e a d — a n d t h a t , a f t e r a l l , i s the same s u b j e c t . " (306-07) The s a i l o r c ontinues to teach the geography c l a s s e s , and di s c o v e r s t h a t ' i t does not stand alone as a s u b j e c t , but o f t e n leads him i n t o zoology, botany, h i s t o r y , and even l i n g u i s t i c s . The s a i l o r ' s s t o r y p a r a l l e l s Bj^rneboe's own process of di s c o v e r y as a teacher, and p r o v i d e s an a l t e r n a t i v e model to the p r e v a i l i n g model f o r educating c h i l d r e n : He gamboled i n u n l i m i t e d freedom and got g r e a t p l e a s u r e out of running the l e s s o n s t h i s way. I t would be easy t o organize the s u b j e c t s with t h i s k i n d of elbowroom, and get one t o c a s t l i g h t on the other. At the same time he experienced t h a t t o p r e c i s e l y t h a t degree he prepared f o r a c l a s s , and t h e r e f o r e had something amusing to t a l k about, a l l d i s c i p l i n e problems ceased because the. c l a s s came h a l f way to meet him and shared h i s i n t e r e s t f o r the t h i n g s he t o l d . (307-08) The debate unleashed by the novel was thus f a r unprecedented i n post-war Norway. I t became Bj^rneboe's own war--though i n t h i s case he l e t the debate rage without t a k i n g p a r t very o f t e n h i m s e l f . Offended members of the e d u c a t i o n e s t a b l i s h m e n t , be they c o n s e r v a t i v e or s o c i a l - d e m o c r a t i c , went to a t t a c k i n the p r e s s . The defenders of the book were many as w e l l . The impact of i t , i r o n i c a l l y , might be a t t r i b u t e d to the 32 very t h i n g which some c r i t i c s found to be i t s weakness. W i l l y Dahl, dean of Norwegian p r o g r e s s i v e c r i t i c s (and never wont to g i v e easy p o i n t s to Bj^rneboe) i s one of those who p e r c e i v e d t h i s p a r t i c u l a r "flaw." A f t e r p r a i s i n g the book f o r i t s d e p i c t i o n of the world of a c h i l d , and i t s p a s s i o n i n a t t a c k i n g u n i f o r m i t y i n the s c h o o l s , he remarks: "Far weaker i s the p o r t r a y a l of the enemy. J o n a s 1 s p e r s e c u t o r s are only c a r i c a t u r e s , only s t u p i d and e v i l — w h i c h weakens the a t t a c k of the n o v e l , because i t i s so easy to demonstrate t h a t t h a t i s j u s t not the way i t goes i n Norwegian p u b l i c s c h o o l s " (Dahl 108). In one of h i s r a r e comments upon the debate d u r i n g the time i t was r a g i n g , i n the a r t i c l e "Nar jag skrev Jonas" i n the Swedish magazine Bokvannen, Bj^rneboe i n d i c a t e s t h a t the " f a c e l e s s n e s s " of c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r s was c a l c u l a t e d . " E v i l i n the book i s not human beings, i t i s the anonymous, the f a c e l e s s , i t i s t h e ' ' s y s t e m 1 — t h e g r e a t vacuum. That i s the demonology of our times; the human being without f e a t u r e s or a f a c e " (BOM 141). In l a t e r works, i n the quest to f i n d something i d e n t i f i a b l e and a u t h e n t i c i n human beings of the post-Auschwitz age, who seem no longer to be t r u s t e d , Bj^rneboe w i l l go l o o k i n g f o r the c h i l d w i t h i n , the c h i l d t h a t was l o s t to t h a t f a c e l e s s humanity he d e s c r i b e s : the c h i l d swept away and abandoned i n our i n c r e a s i n g l y b r u t a l c o n f r o n t a t i o n with the world w i l l be sought. Though t h i s i s a k i n d of metaphysical d e v i c e , i t w i l l r e s t upon Bjo'rneboe's profound a b i l i t y to i d e n t i f y with c h i l d r e n . Biographer Wandrup w r i t e s t h a t i 1 J • 1 Bjprneboe, " a l l h i s a d u l t l i f e , counted upon c h i l d r e n more than h i s own g e n e r a t i o n . " In Norway the novel Jonas was not a c c e s s i b l e to most c h i l d r e n , but the s t o r y of Jonas reached them i n d i r e c t l y . Needless to say,j i t p a r t i c u l a r l y reached the many Jonases a t the S t e i n e r School. In h i s a r t i c l e f o r the Swedish j o u r n a l , Bjjzfrneboe r e p o r t e d the f o l l o w i n g anonymous phone c a l l d u r i n g the p e r i o d of the debate about h i s p r o v o c a t i v e work of f i c t i o n : "Is t h a t Bjefrrneboe?" "Yes?" "Jens Bjcfarneboe?" "Yes, t h a t ' s me." "This i s Jonas. Take i t easy!" (140). 5. In the p e r i o d a f t e r the r e l e a s e of Bj^rneboe's next n o v e l , anonymous phone c a l l s would cease to be a source of p l e a s u r e . In t h i s case anonymous t h r e a t s by m a i l and by phone (sometimes s e v e r a l per day, some t h r e a t e n i n g h i s l i f e ) , t o g ether with a pending j a i l term under the s t i f f Norwegian laws f o r d r i v i n g while i n t o x i c a t e d , would p r e c i p i t a t e a p e r i o d of f l i g h t from Norway—which would a l l o w him to i n d u l g e h i s l i f e - l o n g a t t r a c t i o n to the Mediterranean. The n o v e l , Under a Harder Heaven (Under en hardere himmel) i s a d e p i c t i o n of what happened to c e r t a i n types of people who 34 were t a r g e t s of the t r e a s o n t r i a l s immediately a f t e r the second world war. These were Norwegians who had not been N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t s before the o c c u p a t i o n , but who cooperated i n v a r y i n g degrees d u r i n g the Q u i s l i n g y e a r s . Having r e c e i v e d a l a r g e number of l e t t e r s from Norwegians i n t h i s category who f e l t they had not been s u b j e c t e d to j u s t i c e but revenge, Bj^rneboe probed the events of the p e r i o d u s i n g a f i c t i o n a l approach s i m i l a r to the one used i n Before the Cock Crows. The a c t i o n c e n t e r s on the f a m i l y of a young g i r l named F r a n s i s k a i n a town appa r e n t l y modeled on Bj^rneboe's own home town, K r i s t i a n s a n d . P r i o r t o the o c c u p a t i o n , c y n i c a l and o p p o r t u n i s t elements of both the l e f t and r i g h t are j o c k e y i n g f o r advantage i n the shadow of the impending i n t e r n a t i o n a l c a t a s t r o p h e . F r a n s i s k a ' s f a t h e r , "the major," i s a t r a d i t i o n a l i s t Norwegian m i l i t a r y o f f i c e r whose dis g r u n t l e m e n t about the s o r r y s t a t e of Norway's defenses turns to agony as the country i s s w i f t l y overrun by the i n v a d i n g f o r c e s . The major's f u r y and d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t c r e a t e an opening i n h i s own mind where Nazi propaganda can e n t e r : t h a t propaganda a s t u t e l y p o i n t s up the l i t t l e country's need f o r s t r o n g defenses i n l i g h t of the easy manner i n which i t i s b u f f e t e d by whatever power wants to take advantage of i t . T h i s message cuts through the doubts i n which F r a n s i s k a ' s f a t h e r i s embroiled. He broods over German propaganda i n the Norwegian papers, u n t i l one day h i s d i s t a s t e f o r the Germans i s overwhelmed by a nagging and h o r r i f y i n g thought: At the same time he brooded upon h i s own s i t u a t i o n . Upon the government, the sabotage and the defenses of the Norwegian 35 Army. He hated the German occu p a t i o n by f a r the most because i t was provoked and brought on by the government. T h i s became, b i t by b i t , an a l l consuming thought with him, the p o i n t t h a t h e l d , the a x i s about which a l l h i s thoughts and f e e l i n g s c l u s t e r e d . And one day i t happened.... Hard and d i z z y i n g l y i t s t r u c k him, i n the e n t i r e l y l i t e r a l s e n s e — l i k e a blow with a s t i c k — i t s t r u c k him so t h a t he almost f e l l : The Nazis were r i g h t ! (UHH 86-87) F r a n s i s k a goes to Germany e a r l y d u r i n g the war to serve as a nurse i n the I n t e r n a t i o n a l Red Cross, out of a y o u t h f u l s o r t of F l o r e n c e N i g h t i n g a l e i d e a l i s m . She becomes i n v o l v e d with a German s o l d i e r . The n a r r a t i v e procedes to t e l l of the d e s t r u c t i o n of her f a m i l y and others l i k e them i n the atmosphere of revenge a f t e r the war, which o f f e r e d an excuse f o r a l l kinds of inhumanity. BjjzJrneboe wrote i n h i s afterword to a l a t e r e d i t i o n i n 1968, t h a t h i s ensuing embroilments with the j u s t i c e system i n h i s country a l l c o u l d be t r a c e d back to the s u s p i c i o n s t h a t were aroused from h i s r e s e a r c h on the t r e a s o n t r i a l s , where he found a c o n s i s t e n t i l l e g a l i t y , b r u t a l i t y i n the d e s t r u c t i o n of the l i v e s of people who acted out of ignorance and l i m i t e d awareness, and who, though perhaps i g n o r a n t , never intended to hurt other human beings. I t was h i s o p i n i o n t h a t "the t o t a l break of the t r e a s o n a c t i o n s with customary forms of j u s t i c e and m o r a l i t y has been, and i s , a mortal wound to Norwegian j u s t i c e . The contagion from Fascism was t r a n s m i t t e d d u r i n g those days when we were c e l e b r a t i n g our democratic freedom" (227-78). Hedging by h i s p u b l i s h e r Aschehoug on p u b l i s h i n g the book, d e s p i t e a recommendation from a h i g h l y esteemed p r o g r e s s i v e 36 l i t e r a r y f i g u r e l i k e S i g u r d Hoel, caused Bj^rneboe to a b r u p t l y t r a n s f e r the c o n t r a c t to another p u b l i s h e r (Wandrup 78). The immediate r e a c t i o n s by the c r i t i c s were p a r t and p a r c e l of the g e n e r a l howl of i n d i g n a t i o n which went up around the country. The h e a d l i n e i n Dagbladet was "A Botched L i t e r a r y Work, and a Vulgar Product." C r i t i c B e i n s e t d e s c r i b e d the book as a " c o l l e c t i o n of v u l g a r i t i e s ... ungrounded meanness ... f a l s e h o o d s . . . . " w h i l e the author was "a t y p i c a l muckraker, a confused q u a r r e l e r . " In the j o u r n a l of l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m Vinduet, KjjzJlve Egeland wrote t h a t "Jens Bja'rneboe i s s t e a d i l y t a k i n g on new tasks on b e h a l f of modern Norwegian R e a c t i o n , " adding, "Bj^rneboe does not debate, he gnashes h i s t e e t h . " However, Paal Brekke wrote i n Verdens Gang t h a t the book was a work done i n haste, and a rough d r a f t of something which c o u l d have been "a s t r o n g and e s s e n t i a l c o n t r i b u t i o n i n an important matter.... I t c o u l d have been another book, a g r e a t book" (qtd. i n Wandrup 79). The above e v a l u a t i o n s of the n o v e l , from important c r i t i c s , have b a r e l y m o d i f i e d with time. W i l l y Dahl w r i t e s i n h i s book on Norwegian prose from the '40s to the '70s t h a t even as documentary w r i t i n g the book f a i l s : " I t q u i t e simply d i d not happen t h a t way" (Dahl 108). With the number of m a i l and telephone t h r e a t s mounting—undoubtedly many people who had served i n the r e s i s t a n c e and had been i n v o l v e d i n the s e t t l i n g of accounts a f t e r the war f e l t themselves to have been dragged through the mud—and with c r i t i c s breaking from t h e i r u s u al sense of decorum to mount p e r s o n a l a t t a c k s — t h e s i t u a t i o n was becoming i n t o l e r a b l e . And with a l l t h i s c o i n c i d i n g with 37 t h e d i s s o l u t i o n o f h i s f i r s t m a r r i a g e , h i s d e p a r t u r e f r o m t h e S t e i n e r S c h o o l , h i s f i r s t s e r i o u s b o u t s w i t h d e p r e s s i o n a n d a l c o h o l i s m i n y e a r s a n d , i r o n i c a l l y , a p e n d i n g j a i l t e r m f o r t h e c h a r g e s o f d r i v i n g u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e o f a l c o h o l 1 " 3 ' ; — B j ^ r n e b o e h e a d s s o u t h . The e n s u i n g t r a v e l s i n c e n t r a l E u r o p e a n d t h e M e d i t e r r a n e a n w i l l l a s t t h e b e t t e r p a r t o f two y e a r s . 6. The n o v e l W i n t e r i n B e l l a p a l m a ( V i n t e r i . B e l l a p a l m a , 1958) i s a p r o d u c t o f t h e M e d i t e r r a n e a n e x i l e . L i g h t p r o s e , hung on t h e s t r u c t u r e o f a c o m i c p l o t , i t i s a book t h a t c a n be r e a d w i t h t h e s e n s e o f e a s e a n d p l e a s u r e w i t h w h i c h i t was p r o b a b l y w r i t t e n . The theme o f a c o n f l i c t b e t w e e n g r o w i n g t o u r i s m a n d t h e i n h a b i t a n t s o f a s m a l l v i l l a g e w i l l show up i n a much d a r k e r work e i g h t y e a r s l a t e r i n t h e p l a y The B i r d L o v e r s  ( F u g l e e l s k e r n e ) . S a t i r e i s n e v e r f a r o f f when B j ^ r n e b o e t u r n s t o t h e c o m i c , b u t t h e book i s i n h a b i t e d by a s e n s e o f b u r l e s q u e and f a r c e — s u c h a s a f i s t f i g h t b e t w e e n a d a n c e r who i s l i g h t on h i s t o e s and a b o t t o m h e a v y f i s h e r m a n — w h i c h makes t h e n a r r a t i v e e s s e n t i a l l y d i s e n g a g e d f r o m t h e d a r k e r p r o b l e m s w i t h w h i c h he h a d b e e n g r a p p l i n g . I t i s b o r n o f a n e e d t o e s c a p e . T h i s p e r i o d w i l l c o i n c i d e , h o w e v e r , w i t h a p e r i o d i n t h e l i f e o f t h e p r o t a g o n i s t o f Moment o f F r e e d o m w h i c h he w i l l r e f e r - t o a s t h e y e a r s o f w a n d e r i n g i n t h e " l a n d o f c h a o s . " T h i s i s t h e f l i p s i d e o f t h e c o i n . R o o t l e s s n e s s , w a n d e r i n g , and a 38 d i s t a n c e d and mystic sense of what i t i s to seek out again one's own c h i l d h o o d dominate the poems which comprise the volume w r i t t e n at about the same time: The B i g C i t y (Den Store  by, 1 9 5 8 ) . The c o l l e c t i o n i n c l u d e s the poem "My Heart ("Mitt H j e r t e " ) : My h e a r t , i t i s an orphaned c h i l d I t has n e i t h e r home nor abode i t has n e i t h e r c l o t h e s nor shoes or food i t has no bed nor the t r u s t of c h i l d h o o d . I t has no r e s t . (SD 79) A f t e r two years of t r a v e l he r e t u r n s to Norway to complete work on one of h i s s e v e r a l a r t i s t n o v e l s , a Bildungsroman about the growth, a p p r e n t i c e s h i p and pains of a young p a i n t e r : L i t t l e Boy  Blue (Blimann, 1 9 5 9 ) . As a c h i l d , the novel's p r o t a g o n i s t , Sem, had a l r e a d y found h i m s e l f s e t a p a r t from normal s o c i e t y . He i s shown as a shy and i n t r o v e r t e d c h i l d brought up by h i s mother and a u n t s — a group of o p p r e s s i v e and r a t h e r h y s t e r i c a l dark s i s t e r s d e p i c t e d with a o n e - d i m e n s i o n a l i t y which might be the r e s u l t of t h e i r being seen through the eyes of the c h i l d . I t i s , however, o b v i o u s l y Bj^rneboe's i n t e n t to p o r t r a y the "guardian type" ("formyndermennesket"—a concept he develops elsewhere) by way of t h i s l i t t l e group of p a l l i d moral guardians. The i n c i d e n t i n which h i s penis i s p a i n t e d blue by other boys from h i s c l a s s i s o nly emblematic of the "blue" elements i n h i s l i f e which s e t him a p a r t . Depression i s d e s c r i b e d i n the novel as an experience of an almost p h y s i c a l nature, and the c o l o r f i t s . 39 Colors play a prominent r o l e i n general i n the narrative, as i n the sequence where the e l d e r l y a r t i s t Fr^ken Evjeland attempts to think through what colors would be needed to depict a r a i n shower: "The color was somewhat d i f f e r e n t now, and c e r t a i n places i n the cloud cover where i t was thinnest, some blue shone through" (99). Or again: "The f a c t of the matter was that there was some gold i n the gray, a kind of weak gleam of l i g h t ocher or a b i t of neapolitan yellow. But there arose no greenish tones i n these encounters of yellow with black. On the palette i t was d i f f e r e n t " (96). The novel methodically takes us through the years with young Sem and his comrades, u n t i l i n his early t h i r t i e s , a f t e r twenty years of seclusive work, his f i r s t attempt to s e l l h i s t a l e n t by paint i n g the disenchanted wife of an entrepreneur leads to a c r i s i s of purpose. He squanders h i s su b s t a n t i a l remuneration i n a volcanic, destructive week-long binge, leaving the woman he l i v e s with and t h e i r c h i l d i n a desperate state during his absence. The f r e n e t i c binge turns out to be the end of Sem's consumptive sculptor f r i e n d Severin. Severin does not manage to emerge from the dionysian chaos, but Sem—wounded but st r o n g e r — s u r f a c e s to face a l l that i s both promising and frightening i n the career of a d i s c i p l i n e d a r t i s t . In the strongest moments of the novel, one senses that the author i s drawing on a kind of precise emotional memory of what i t i s l i k e to come to various crossroads on the path towards a l i f e dedicated to a r t . Even so, i t i s done with the advantage of hindsight, and the use of cool method. The f i a s c o which 40 dominates the f i n a l chapters s t r i k e s a c o n t r a s t to the c o o l l y remembered p o r t r a y a l s i n the f i r s t p a r t of the book. T h i s e x e m p l i f i e s a paradox i n Bj^rneboe's a u t h o r s h i p which a t t h i s p o i n t i n h i s c a r e e r i s coming to the s u r f a c e : on the one hand th e r e i s the white-heat w r i t i n g of the w r i t e r f a c i n g chaos, the man a g a i n s t the sky, the poet p r o t e s t i n g on b e h a l f of modern man, and on the other hand t h e r e i s the c o o l p r a c t i t i o n e r of form, the devotee of impressionism and Byzantine a r t . Perhaps the book's weakness might a l s o have proven to be i t s s t r e n g t h — a s with J o n a s — i f the two tendencies had not c l a s h e d so much as they do i n t h i s book. These s t r i k i n g a p o l l o n i a n and d i o n y s i a n tendencies,--to apply N i e t z s c h e ' s t e r m i n o l o g y - - i n the. author, are seeking some way to u n i f y . For a novel t h a t i s intended as a r e l a t i v e l y s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d n a r r a t i v e without too much s t r u c t u r a l e xperimentation, L i t t l e Boy Blue i s not a The novel c o n t a i n s a p a r t i c u l a r l y s t r i k i n g metaphor f o r pe r i o d s of weakness and v u l n e r a b i l i t y as a prelude to growth, and Bj^rneboe w i l l r e t u r n to i t i n l a t e r works: Perhaps i t i s with people as i t i s with the l o b s t e r when i t i s going to change i t s s h e l l ; i t has grown and the o l d armor has become too s m a l l . In order to become a bigger l o b s t e r i t must dare to take a leap of l i f e and death; i t must get out of the o l d s h e l l b efore the new one i s f i n i s h e d ; i t p u l l s i t s e l f out of the t a i l - p l a t e s and the; carapace, out of the secure p r o t e c t i v e a r m o r — a n d creeps out on the sea f l o o r among crabs and hungry wrasses, naked and white, a bunch of s o f t limbs, i n t e s t i n e s and nerves a t the mercy of i t s i n f e r i o r s , exposed to predators which are sm a l l e r than i t i s , to a l l the lowest t h i n g s t h a t creep i n the sea, alone and d e f e n s e l e s s . And f o r the l o b s t e r t h i s i s not a p l e a s a n t time a t a l l . But i f i t does not dare then i t w i l l go to ground i n a c a s i n g which i s sa f e and secure f o r the moment, and murderous i n the long run. I f u n i t y . 41 the l o b s t e r leaves i t s armor, then i t must f i n d a c r e v i c e or a s e c r e t h i d i n g p l a c e beneath a stone i n order to s u r v i v e u n t i l a new and l a r g e r s h e l l has been made. A human being must do the same t h i n g when the hour has s t r u c k and the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i s going to take p l a c e , and God's mercy on any one of us who doesn't f i n d a h i d i n g p l a c e i n which to save h i m s e l f , before the l i t t l e p r e d a t o r s have caught s i g h t of him, so t h a t he can stay t h e r e u n t i l the new armor has grown. (56) The two years of t r a v e l had put Bj^rneboe i n a p o s i t i o n to r e f l e c t on h i s r o l e as an a r t i s t , t o p u b l i s h h i s a r t i s t n o v e l , and to r e t u r n to Norway, where he was j a i l e d on the l i n g e r i n g charges of d r i v i n g w h ile i n t o x i c a t e d . Hidden away i n p r i s o n , w a i t i n g f o r h i s new armor to grow, he began g a t h e r i n g m a t e r i a l f o r h i s next emergence as an author. 7. With the utmost p r e c i s i o n , with the hard-nosed d i r e c t n e s s of a p r o f e s s i o n a l documentarian, Bjjtfrneboe the inmate s e v e r a l months l a t e r unleashed a polemic i n the form of a s e r i e s of a r t i c l e s on the Norwegian p r i s o n system which shook the perhaps complacent f a i t h of a t l e a s t a f a i r number of people i n t h e i r democratic i n s t i t u t i o n s . 1 4 The onslaught was met, however, with a t e l l i n g s i l e n c e by p r i s o n a u t h o r i t i e s and the State P r o s e c u t o r ' s o f f i c e . When Bj^rneboe r a i s e d the stakes by a c c u s i n g s p e c i f i c f i g u r e s i n the h i g h e s t echelons with being r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a s p e c i f i c d e a t h — t h e s u i c i d e by hanging of inmate K j e l l Hanson, who medical a u t h o r i t i e s had warned c o u l d not t o l e r a t e p r i s o n confinement, but who ended h i s days i n s o l i t a r y c o n f i n e m e n t — t h e response was s t i l l n o thing but a 42 deafening s i l e n c e . I n d i v i d u a l a u t h o r i t i e s had been accused p e r s o n a l l y of the h i g h e s t crimes p o s s i b l e by a w r i t e r c i t i n g s e c t i o n and paragraph of the law. Yet even i f t h e r e was to be no answer forthcoming from the a u t h o r i t i e s , something about the a c c u s a t i o n s s t r u c k a r e c e p t i v e chord i n a media and a p u b l i c t h a t had r e j e c t e d the e a r l i e r expose i n Under a Harder Heaven. The documented t r u t h , s t a r k , bare, u n a d u l t e r a t e d by l i t e r a r y r e f l e c t i o n or e f f e c t , had an impact without precedent i n post-war Norway. In p r i s o n , Bj^rneboe had absorbed the s t o r i e s of inmates who devoted t h e i r l i v e s to s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e behavior to r e l i e v e the t e r r o r of confinement: Inmates who had cut t h e i r w r i s t s , attempted s u i c i d e i n p a i n f u l ways, who had eaten o b j e c t s such as l i g h t b ulbs, and i n one case an inmate who had burned one eye out with a bundle of matches (VEA 97). In " D i s c i p l i n a r y Measures i n Norwegian P r i s o n s " (1960) Bj^rneboe d e s c r i b e d a r c h a i c treatments such as "lemmen" (the t r a p d o o r ) , to which a p r i s o n e r i s t i e d hand and f o o t f o r up to f o u r t e e n days; "kummen" (the t a n k ) , a lock-up i n the p r i s o n c e l l a r , l i t day and n i g h t and sound-proofed, i n which a p r i s o n e r might remain up to a month; "buret" (the cage), a s o r t of t i g e r cage, i n which a p r i s o n e r was kept naked, i n a room t h a t was c o o l and damp; and f i n a l l y "trjtfya" (the j a c k e t ) , a s t r a i t j a c k e t which could be t i g h t e n e d to the p o i n t where a p r i s o n e r was t o t a l l y immobile, a s t a t e i n which he might remain for.months (VEA 105-13). The c i t i z e n s of an advanced Scandinavian w e l f a r e s t a t e were, needless to say, shocked a t t h i s mire of c r u e l t y i n 43 the midst of t h e i r e n l i g h t e n e d world. "The pure t r u t h was enough," w r i t e s F r e d r i k Wandrup, d e s c r i b i n g the Norwegian r e a c t i o n . "This was the s t i n k i n g r e a l i t y , l a i d out on a p l a t t e r f o r the p u b l i c . A f r e s h l y c u t - o f f head c o u l d not have been more f r i g h t e n i n g " (89) . The p r i s o n a r t i c l e s were unleashed with the appearance of "The Treatment of Young Off e n d e r s " on Christmas Eve, 1959 ("Christmas comes but once a year," remarks Bj^rneboe i n the a r t i c l e [VEA 9 8 ] ) . W i t h i n the new year, the m a t e r i a l c o a l e s c e d i n t o the novel The E v i l Shepherd (Den Onde hyrde), w r i t t e n once again o u t s i d e of Norway, on the v o l c a n i c i s l a n d of I s c h i a where Ibsen wrote most of Peer Gynt before an e r u p t i o n a hundred years b e f o r e . The book t e l l s the s t o r y of a youth, Tonnie, who i s r e l e a s e d from j a i l , but due to h i s background and "education" i n a reformatory and p r i s o n , i s turned away by f a m i l y , employers, anyone who c o u l d have helped him. He goes the n a t u r a l route from t h e r e : back to those who l i v e as s o c i e t y ' s r e f u s e i n the c r i m i n a l world, back to crime, back to p r i s o n , and h i s f i n a l d e s t r u c t i o n , s i n c e the primary problem i n h i s s t o r y i s t h a t he i s a s o u l t h a t cannot stand i n c a r c e r a t i o n . I t i s c u r i o u s to note, t h a t once the p r i s o n m a t e r i a l becomes l i t e r a t u r e , i t begins to be shaped by o l d e r l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n s . The o u t l i n e of t h i s s t o r y i s i n f a c t an antique one from the l a s t century, as can be seen most c l e a r l y i n the l a t e r , dramatized v e r s i o n of the same s t o r y : Many Happy  Returns ( T i l Lykke med dagen, 1965).. The p l o t of the s t o r y of Tonnie seems to r a i s e a q u e s t i o n : Is the author u s i n g an o l d 44 B r i t i s h stage p l o t f o r a new s o c i a l dilemma? Or i s i t more to the p o i n t to say t h a t the system of j u s t i c e has not gone through any e s s e n t i a l changes s i n c e the age of E n g l i s h melodrama? What emerges i n Bj^rneboe's concern with the c o n f l i c t between a u t h o r i t i e s and youth i s a p r o p h e t i c pronouncement, not only with r e f e r e n c e to the i s s u e s of a l i e n a t i o n and r e v o l t i n the s i x t i e s ("More u n c o n d i t i o n a l p r i s o n sentences cannot be used to c o u n t e r a c t the s p i r i t u a l emptiness which today's young  people have i n h e r i t e d from the S t a t e A t t o r n e y ' s own g e n e r a t i o n " [VEA 96]), but a l s o i n l i g h t of the coming spate of c a l l s f o r p r i s o n reform i n many western c o u n t r i e s . His concerns of the l a t e f i f t i e s and e a r l y s i x t i e s p r e f i g u r e works such as F o u c a u l t ' s S u r v e i l l e r et p u n i r (1975), which would d e t a i l the e v o l u t i o n of European j u s t i c e from systems of t o r t u r e to the p r i s o n s y s t e m — f r o m the f e u d a l approach of t r y i n g to work changes on the body, to the modern approach of attempting to work changes on e i t h e r the s o u l or the behavior of an i n d i v i d u a l . As with F o u c a u l t , Bj^rneboe's work with h i s p r i s o n m a t e r i a l would o f f e r i n s i g h t s t h a t would c o n t r i b u t e to h i s more gen e r a l c r i t i q u e of s o c i e t y . F o u c a u l t w i l l r e v e a l how, a t a c e r t a i n h i s t o r i c a l j u n c t u r e , p h i l o s o p h e r s and s o c i a l t h i n k e r s had brought s o c i e t y to the p o i n t of choosing between t r e a t i n g o f f e n d e r s as " j u r i d i c a l s u b j e c t s " or "obedient s u b j e c t s . " In the f i r s t case the g o a l would have been to c r e a t e a system of crime/punishment " s i g n s , " i n which a l l punishments would be s p e c i f i c and a p p r o p r i a t e to i n d i v i d u a l crimes. T h i s would be 45 the punishment of the " s o c i a l p a c t . " The l a t t e r approach, t h a t of the obedient s u b j e c t , p l a c e d p r i o r i t y on the obedience of the person to be c o r r e c t e d to some power. T h i s was the choice t h a t s o c i e t y took, a c c o r d i n g to F o u c a u l t , l e a d i n g to the g e n e r a l i z e d punishment of the p r i s o n f o r a l l crimes, i . e . , "forms of c o e r c i o n , schemata of c o n s t r a i n t , a p p l i e d and repeated. E x e r c i s e s , not s i g n s : t i m e - t a b l e s , compulsory movements, r e g u l a r a c t i v i t i e s , s o l i t a r y m e d i t a t i o n , work i n common, s i l e n c e , a p p l i c a t i o n , r e s p e c t , good h a b i t s " (Foucault 128) . F o u c a u l t w i l l p o i n t out t h a t the founda t i o n of such a system i s a s p e c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between the i n d i v i d u a l being punished, and the i n d i v i d u a l p u n i s h i n g him: "The agent of punishment must e x e r c i s e a t o t a l power, which no t h i r d p a r t y can d i s t u r b ; the i n d i v i d u a l t o be c o r r e c t e d must be e n t i r e l y enveloped i n the power being e x e r c i s e d over him." In such a system secrecy i s im p e r a t i v e , and there must be a d i s c o n t i n u i t y between the e x t e r n a l l e g a l a u t h o r i t i e s t h a t e s t a b l i s h g u i l t , and a punishment t h a t i s e s s e n t i a l l y c a r r i e d out i n the shadows (128-29). F o u c a u l t ' s volume w i l l appear i n 1975, the year before Bjo'rneboe's d e a t h — f i f t e e n years a f t e r the appearance of h i s p r i s o n essays, and a l s o a f t e r the completion of h i s " H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y . In the e a r l y p r i s o n m a t e r i a l , Bj^rneboe does not yet prove h i m s e l f to be the k i n d of s o c i a l t h e o r i s t we f i n d i n F o u c a u l t — a l t h o u g h h i s a n a l y s i s w i l l come s t r i k i n g l y near 'that of F o u c a u l t ' s i n p a r t s of the t r i l o g y , and i n h i s l a t e r essays on h i e r a r c h y and a u t h o r i t a r i a n i s m w r i t t e n from the 46 t h e o r e t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e of anarchism. At the time h i s f i r s t works on the p r i s o n s appeared, he was more concerned with r e c o r d i n g what he saw as being the t r u t h , t o break the myths and complacency, s e t the records s t r a i g h t and b r i n g the dilemma out i n t o the open. One might say t h a t he d i d not a t the time see h i m s e l f i n the r o l e of a s o c i a l t h e o r i s t , as much as a k i n d of servant of j u s t i c e • 8. The work with the p r i s o n m a t e r i a l marks an important t u r n i n Bj^rneboe's a u t h o r s h i p . A l l the r e a s s u r i n g incense of metaphysical p u r s u i t s which can take a w r i t e r i n t o spheres t h a t hover above the human c o n d i t i o n i s blown to the winds. The plunge i n t o s o c i a l c o n f l i c t and human concerns i s extreme, the k i n d of conscious imbalance towards s o c i a l concerns we have come to expect p r i m a r i l y from m a r x i s t s . Yet the o r g a n i c p r o g r e s s i o n from concern with man's s o u l to concern with man's l i f e poses two c h a l l e n g e s f o r the w r i t e r : How to j u s t i f y t h i s s p l i t between concerns f o r the i n n e r and outer aspects of l i f e , and how to r e c o r d the process i n l i t e r a r y form. While ensconced with h i s w i f e and s m a l l daughters i n a run-down house . i n a glade at Enebakk, the s o l u t i o n comes to Bj^rneboe i n the form of a young woman—a stat u e s t a n d i n g out below the pine-covered h i l l s . The house looks out onto the v a l l e y and low mountains which had once been the s i t e of one of Norway's f i r s t i n d u s t r i a l c e n t e r s , which rose, f e l l , and has s i n c e been 47 r e c l a i m e d by the f o r e s t and bush. The s t a t u e i s a s o l i t a r y monument to Ragnhild J ^ l s e n , daughter of Holm J ^ l s e n — o n e of the e a r l i e s t i n d u s t r i a l i s t s i n the country. I t i s the f i g u r e of a woman w r i t e r who d i e d a t the age of 33 of an overdose of the drug c h o r a l , and was from t h a t moment e l e v a t e d to membership i n Scandinavia's pantheon of p a r i a h w r i t e r s — a p a r t i c u l a r l y Nordic phenomenon. Ragnhild J ^ l s e n ' s s t o r y and the s t o r y of her f a t h e r ' s e n t e r p r i s e a t Enebakk came to form the b a s i s of Bj^rneboe's novel The Dream and the Wheel (Dr^mmen  og h j u l e t , 1964). Here was yet another s t o r y of the growth of a s o u l who had to r e s i s t the demands of both t r a d i t i o n s and progress to f i n d complete humanness. The events take p l a c e a t a time when humanity i n many p a r t s of the world was being put to the t e s t by i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . The Dream and the Wheel i s perhaps Jens Bj^rneboe's most b e a u t i f u l book, although i t has never been t r a n s l a t e d i n t o a major language. Here Bj^rneboe f o l l o w s the more t r a d i t i o n a l requirements t h a t a work be whole and " b e a u t i f u l . " The a u t h o r i a l presence appears to be minimized. C l e a r s i g n s of i n t e r v e n t i o n by the author, o f t e n a s i g n a t u r e of Bj^rneboe f i c t i o n , f a l l away. The a u t h o r i a l presence w i l l make i t s e l f f e l t i n another way, however, t h a t we s h a l l r e t u r n to l a t e r . R a g nhild J ^ l s e n i s t o r n by the f o r c e s a t work on her from without and w i t h i n . While she i s s t r u g g l i n g a g a i n s t both the f o r c e s of t r a d i t i o n and p r o g r e s s — e l e m e n t s of the o u t s i d e world t h a t seem to want to crush the v u l n e r a b l e i n t e r i o r world of a c h i l d — s t i l l , t h e r e are a l s o t r a d i t i o n s which pr o v i d e her with 48 a sense of i d e n t i t y , as w e l l as a k i n d of progress t h a t p r o v i d e s the world around her with hope. There are a t t r a c t i o n s f o r her i n her f a t h e r ' s world. But t h i s outer world more o f t e n than not c l a s h e s with her i n n e r world, and she i s caught between the dream and the wheel. While Holm J 0 l s e n converts the once r u r a l v a l l e y to an industry-town r e v o l v i n g around h i s match f a c t o r i e s , an a d o l e s c e n t Ragnhild r e t r e a t s to the f o r e s t of her a n c e s t o r s , bear hunters who populated the area even before the farmers had a r r i v e d . In the f o r e s t she meets with the dark powers which n o u r i s h her i m a g i n a t i o n . As she matures, f r i g h t e n i n g e r o t i c f o r c e s take on the forms of companions, l o v e r s — a l l f i g u r e s of a powerful i m a g i n a t i o n under p r e s s u r e . These f i g u r e s are d e p i c t e d as though they were a b s o l u t e l y t a n g i b l e , no doubts are i n t r o d u c e d as to t h e i r r e a l i t y — w h e t h e r they be an i n c a r n a t i o n of a bear hunter, or the d e v i l h i m s e l f . She makes a p e r s o n a l pact with a l l the e v i l she f i n d s i n the f o r e s t , f l a u n t i n g the pact i n the face of the s t r u c t u r i n g s o c i e t y around her, a s o c i e t y t h a t would deny to women any experience of d e s i r e , p a s s i o n or s e x u a l i t y . She adopts her nickname, H i l d r ( c l o s e to the Norwegian word h u l d e r , meaning f a i r y or wood nymph), and through the years the f o r e s t companions which have taken on l i f e f o r her t r a n s f o r m i n t o the n u c l e i of her n o v e l s . Ragnhild J ^ l s e n wrote f i v e novels i n the l a s t f i v e years of her l i f e . Of the f i v e novels she was to w r i t e , the f i n a l one, The Red Autumn (Den R^de h^st) i s to be something so t e r r i f y i n g and so t r u e t h a t she puts i t o f f i n d e f i n i t e l y . I t p e r s o n i f i e s , and begins to pay her p e r s o n a l 49 v i s i t s t o demand i t s r e l e a s e , but she never f e e l s ready f o r i t . As the time to w r i t e The Red Autumn approaches, and i t begins t a k i n g shape i n her mind, her morphine dependency i n c r e a s e s . She d i e s before completing her f i n a l work. On the one hand, the novel i s a paean to the p r i m a l l i f e w i t h i n a human being. I t evokes l y r i c a l l y the dark gods of the woods who r e p r e s e n t the f o r c e s of nature both without us and w i t h i n us. The echoes of Knut Hamsun's Pan r e v e r b e r a t e not f a r o f f . The novel has another important aspect. I t i s , once again, a documentary novel as w e l l . I t documents not only h i s t o r i c a l l i v e s , but t i e s them a l l i n with landmark events i n the triumph of i n d u s t r y , s c i e n c e and technology, as they come to bear on Europe and the l i t t l e i n d u s t r i a l i z i n g s o c i e t y a t Enebakk. I t looks forward to other documentary novels of the s i x t i e s . I t i s an exemplary study of the " p o e t i c n a t u r a l i s m " Bj^rneboe c a l l s f o r , among other p l a c e s , i n h i s essay " L i t e r a t u r e and R e a l i t y " ( " L i t t e r a t u r og v i r k e l i g h e t , " 1971).I? The p e c u l i a r c o n t r a d i c t i o n between the p o e t i c and the n a t u r a l i s t i c i n The Dream and the Wheel, the extent to which the supra-normal world i s made c o n c r e t e , n a t u r a l , t a n g i b l e , makes f o r a r a t h e r f a n t a s t i c n a t u r a l i s m , i n f a c t . There i s more than t h i s one reason why a comparison might be drawn with the l a t e r advent of the magic r e a l i s m of G a b r i e l G a r c i a Marquez. Bj^rneboe's f a n t a s t i c n a t u r a l i s m shares s e v e r a l other f e a t u r e s with Marquez's novel of three years l a t e r , i n which magic encounters are taken f o r granted, myths become r e a l , and p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t i e s are beyond b e l i e f : C ien anos de soledad. 50 The scene and the c e n t e r of The Dream and the Wheel i s one l a r g e p l o t of e a r t h . T h i s spot on the e a r t h i s observed through the course of many decades so t h a t Enebakk's s t o r y — l i k e t h a t of Marquez's Macondo, or Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha county a couple of decades e a r l i e r — i s the s t o r y of the r i s e and f a l l of a l i t t l e empire, a microcosm of a s o c i e t y undergoing t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s of gargantuan p r o p o r t i o n s . The developments t r a c e d by the n a r r a t i v e l a s t one hundred ye a r s . The o r i g i n a l t i t l e was i n f a c t to have been "The Hundred Years" (Wandrup 100) . During t h i s time the progress of Western s o c i e t y makes i t s way to Enebakk: the i n t r o d u c t i o n of e l e c t r i c i t y and the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of i n d u s t r y ; the o r g a n i z a t i o n and a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of a company town; the g r e a t s c i e n t i f i c d i s c o v e r i e s which come i n the form of p u b l i c a t i o n s l i k e incomprehensible m i r a c l e s from mainland Europe; the i d e o l o g i e s of the time t o o — s o c i a l i s m and p i e t i s m — w i t h the attendant s o c i a l c o n f l i c t s they arouse; even a h i n t of the coming of the w e l f a r e s t a t e can be glimpsed when Holm J ^ l s e n e s t a b l i s h e s a h e a l t h p l a n f o r the workers. Through a d v e r s i t y , d i s a s t e r s (the p l a n t s burn down so t h a t J ^ l s e n must b u i l d them up a g a i n ) , the pressure of growing banking conglomerates, J01sen , the man burning with a v i s i o n , f o r b e t t e r or worse, b a t t l e s on l i k e Marquez's C o l o n e l Buendfa towards an i d e a l t h a t i s not always apparent to those around h i m . 1 8 The power t h a t shoved the t r e e s i n t o the sky, the power of the sun which drew waters toward the heavens and l e t i t r a i n back down i n the r i v e r , the heat of the sun which l a y s t o r e d s i n c e the i n f a n c y of the e a r t h i n s i d e petroleum, phosphorus and 51 s u l f u r , a l l t h i s was now being c o l l e c t e d i n the l i t t l e and harmless l o o k i n g matches i n the warehouse, f i l l e d with hundreds and thousands of innocent wooden s t i c k s with golden heads. Stored t h e r e was heat and f i r e and e x p l o s i v e power l i k e t h a t i n the sun i t s e l f . I t was t h a t same sun-power t h a t the workers had tamed, cowed and s t o r e d i n l i t t l e boxes. And i t would be r e s u r r e c t e d i n t i n y , t i n y flames which were l i t a l l over the world. F i r e and l i g h t which would b r i n g w e l l - b e i n g , enlightenment and happiness, i n a word: s a l v a t i o n — t h e new time i t s e l f , i n t o the town. (DOH 39) The g r e a t events c o l l e c t around the Jjrflsen f a m i l y l i k e f i l i n g s t o a magnet. A most s i g n i f i c a n t development f o r Ragnhild i s the p r o c e s s i n g of m o r p h i n e — t h e damper of p h y s i c a l p a i n , as w e l l as the p a i n of a mind which i s i n c a p a b l e of s e p a r a t i n g i t s e l f from the s u f f e r i n g around i t . I t i s a f t e r Ragnhild's stay i n I t a l y , where she makes a p i l g r i m a g e i n t o the areas of raw misery which s c a r r e d t h a t t r a n s f o r m i n g country, t h a t her a f f a i r with morphine becomes a r e l a t i o n s h i p of dependency. Both her s o c i a l concerns and her use of morphine were scandalous t h i n g s f o r women of good s o c i e t y . A lready as an a d o l e s c e n t , Ragnhild was a c u t e l y aware t h a t the world deemed i t a good t h i n g t h a t those aspects of l i f e which c r e a t e f u l l human beings should be suppressed: they are t h i n g s t h a t are e v i l . For the young, w i l l f u l Ragnhild, the only l o g i c a l response had been to decide she must embrace e v i l . Edvard Munch's p a i n t i n g "Pubertet" v i a the young Ragnhild J ^ l s e n v i a Jens Bj^rneboe looks l i k e t h i s : He had p a i n t e d a p i c t u r e of a l i t t l e w i t c h , a t i n y l i t t l e w i t c h . I t was a s p l i t naked w i t c h , who had not y e t been on Bloksberg. She was s i t t i n g naked at the edge of the bed with her hands pressed down between her t h i n t h i g h s , while she s t a r e d s t r a i g h t forward, and while her shadow stood on the w a l l 52 behind the bed l i k e the image of something t h a t women don't have. The p i c t u r e was c a l l e d "Puberty," but t h a t was not the r i g h t name f o r i t ; because i t was a w i t c h . And she would be burned.... T h i s evening she would s p i t on the B i b l e again ... (107) As a mature a r t i s t , Ragnhild's s t y l e i s maligned f o r being "unfeminine". Now p r a c t i c e d at i g n o r i n g s o c i e t y ' s sense of p r o p r i e t y , she i s s t i l l g e n u i n e l y s u r p r i s e d a t the assumptions made by mass c u l t u r e . ("Was i t the case t h a t there r e a l l y should be one a r t f o r men and another k i n d of a r t f o r women?—Was i t the case t h a t t h e r e should be one k i n d of love f o r men and another k i n d of lo v e f o r women?") She has purposely c r e a t e d a s t y l e t h a t i s "scant and hard and without lacework and f l o u r i s h e s , " and though t h i s might have been uncommon among women, " i t was not p a r t i c u l a r l y widespread among men e i t h e r ! The most of them were openly w r i t i n g l i k e l i t t l e g i r l s k n i t " (155) . These thoughts, though c a s t i n a s p e c i a l l i g h t coming from a woman of those times, come c l o s e to Bj^rneboe's own thoughts on s t y l e . 1 9 Bj^rneboe i s r e v e a l i n g an a f f i n i t y f o r h i s s u b j e c t as a w r i t e r . The i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between author and s u b j e c t was i n f a c t much c l o s e r than readers of the novel would have known at the time of i t s p u b l i c a t i o n . Ragnhild faces up to the n e c e s s i t y of f i n a l l y w r i t i n g the l a s t , f e a r f u l book, The Red  Autumn — w h i c h makes i t s v i s i t a t i o n s to her i n the form of a ki n d of double. Her f i r s t i n s i g h t b efore s t a r t i n g i n t o The Red  Autumn i s t h a t of the double-ness of e x i s t e n c e : "behind the mask was not j u s t a f a c e , but the o p p o s i t e f a c e . " E v e r y t h i n g 53 c o n t a i n s i t s own o p p o s i t e , so t h a t "the deeper one got i n t o the f o r c e s of l i f e , the s t r o n g e r and more f r i g h t e n i n g the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s became." Perhaps the g r e a t e s t c o n t r a d i c t i o n i s Death/Eros, or Satan/Eros, the elements of which are combined i n the Hindu god Shiva, the god of d e s t r u c t i o n and f e r t i l i t y . "The C h r i s t i a n s have simply f o r g o t t e n the o r i g i n s of t h e i r own b e l i e f s : Death and r e b i r t h , c r u c i f i x i o n and r e s u r r e c t i o n . No one can l i v e without dying f i r s t " (179). T h i s thought, present i n Bj^zSrneboe's e a r l i e s t p o e t r y , has now been redeployed. I t w i l l p r o v i d e the seeds f o r h i s t r i l o g y , as w e l l . Death awareness must come bef o r e consciousness of our own freedom. Death must be embraced before one can l i v e . A male author, here w r i t i n g about a woman, i n t h i s case a p p a r e n t l y t a k i n g a stance of d i s t a n c e through h i s t h i r d person/omniscient n a r r a t i v e , i s i n f a c t showing s i g n s of a s t r o n g process of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with h i s s u b j e c t — a n author whose very femaleness seems to be an e s s e n t i a l component of what i t takes to be a b l e to r e c e i v e the world openly. The f i n a l chapters b r i n g Bja'rneboe up to the p o i n t where h i s H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y c o u l d begin. Here l i e s the convergence between the w r i t e r and h i s s u b j e c t i n the n a r r a t i v e . Two authors: together they d i s c o v e r a new l e n s with which to see the world, "which needs no c o l o r e d g l a s s — D e a t h . " Ragnhild prepares to face The Red Autumn: The book was a contemporary n o v e l , and she cared so l i t t l e now about the world and people t h a t she c o u l d use l i f e as i t was without g r e a t r e v i s i o n s — h e r own f a t e , without masking i t — b e c a u s e e v e r y t h i n g o u t s i d e of the t r u t h was unimportant. 54 What she was i n the process of doing was to h o l d the great c l e a r a n c e s a l e of a l l t h a t was hers, to put her l i f e on the butcher t a b l e , j u s t as one c o u l d see e n t i r e animal c a r c a s s e s l y i n g carved up on d i s p l a y on marble counters a t the butcher shops i n Rome. I t was more than nakedness, more than unchasteness; i t was to p u l l the s k i n o f f of r e a l i t y , to cut the whole t h i n g up with v i s c e r a , blood and nerves. (200) The l a s t chapter, "The S u n d i a l , " serves as an e p i l o g u e a f t e r Ragnhild's death. I t takes Enebakk up to the new age when a group of s c i e n t i s t s "make a war weapon of two heavy metals, of uranium and plutonium" (204). T h i s new age i s a l s o the p o i n t of departure f o r most a l l the thought to be found i n Moment of Freedom. Meanwhile, Ragnhild J ^ l s e n has r e t u r n e d to the woods with the forest-men of her c h i l d h o o d , and the i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y a t Enebakk i s e c l i p s e d and overgrown once again with f o r e s t . I t i s f i n i s h e d . For Jens Bj^rneboe though, the book has another c o n c l u s i o n . I t i s to be found i n the note t h a t Ragnhild J ^ l s e n wrote to h e r s e l f before c o n f r o n t i n g The  Red Autumn: "Now your l i f e ' s work s h a l l begin" (201). 9. There was to be one s l i g h t i n t e r v a l before t h a t d i f f i c u l t phase was entered. At the end of 1965, before s e t t i n g t o work on Moment of Freedom, Bj^z5rneboe r a p i d l y completed a p r o j e c t of which no one, i n c l u d i n g h i s own f a m i l y and c l o s e s t f r i e n d s , was aware. T h e r e f o r e , not ^ one of them expected t h a t anything untoward was i n s t o r e when, on the 8th of October 1966, a b o l d ad appeared i n s e v e r a l Norwegian papers announcing p u b l i c a t i o n 55 of "The f i r s t Norwegian e r o t i c n o v e l , Without a S t i t c h (Uten en  trad) ... by a well-known Norwegian author." On the 11th of October 1966, the p o l i c e r a i d e d a l l book d e a l e r s s e l l i n g the book. By June of 1967, Jens Bj^rneboe would be s i t t i n g out a s e v e r a l month long o b s c e n i t y t r i a l i n Oslo M u n i c i p a l C o u r t — a t r i a l t h a t has now entered Norwegian l i t e r a r y h i s t o r y . The banning of the book, and the t r i a l s which ensued r e s u l t e d i n a massive upsurge of t r a n s l a t i o n s and s a l e s immediately i n Denmark and Sweden, l a t e r i n Germany, I t a l y the U.S. and Japan (not to mention, e v e n t u a l l y , a Danish f i l m , s u i t a b l e f o r c e r t a i n Danish a d u l t cinemas and New York's 42nd S t r e e t t h e a t e r s — b u t not much e l s e ) . Yet the a u t h o r i t i e s i n Norway t i g h t e n e d t h e i r g r i p on the book a l l the more d u r i n g a l l of t h i s — a n d the g r i p has remained t i g h t u n t i l t h i s day. As of t h i s w r i t i n g i t cannot be bought or s o l d i n Norway, and the Norwegian language e d i t i o n cannot be procured a t the main u n i v e r s i t y l i b r a r y i n Oslo, where i t i s s t o r e d i n a s a f e . 2 0 Without a S t i t c h i s the s t o r y of the coming-out of an eig h t e e n y e a r - o l d named L i l l i a n , who i s unable to experience orgasm. Her sexual odyssey begins with the treatment she undergoes with a s p e c i a l i s t i n orgasm by the name of Dr Peterson. Aside from the p h y s i c a l techniques of Dr Petersons t h e r a p e u t i c r e g i m e — h e can only help so f a r , and then must send a p a t i e n t out i n t o the w o r l d — t h e r e i s h i s e s s e n t i a l t e a c h i n g , p r i n t e d as the foreword to the book: People use the term "sexual m o r a l i t y " , but i t ' s a mistaken e x p r e s s i o n . There i s no p a r t i c u l a r sexual m o r a l i t y . Whatever 56 you might do with y o u r s e l f — w h e t h e r you s l e e p with g i r l s or b o y s — o r whatever i n the world you might f i n d y o u r s e l f doing with them or y o u r s e l f ; i n t h a t regard there i s no other m o r a l i t y than t h a t which holds f o r a l l aspects of l i v i n g : honesty, courage and c o n s i d e r a t i o n . As i n a l l other r e l a t i o n s , the o n l y t h i n g t h a t matters i n sexual l i f e i s t h a t i t ' s wrong to harm o t h e r s . That i s the only sexual m o r a l i t y t h e r e i s . You s h a l l not use your s e x u a l i t y t o achieve power or i n f l u e n c e over o t h e r s , you s h a l l not hurt them or cause them unnecessary p a i n . (UT 1) L i l l i a n progresses from innocent experiments and games with f r i e n d s i n her own surroundings, to more adventurous, c o l o r f u l and a c r o b a t i c — t o the p o i n t of being hard to v i s u a l i z e — s e x u a l encounters i n a v a r i e t y of l o c a l e s and c o u n t r i e s . Aside from one sado-masochistic whipping scene with a German entrepreneur, i t most o f t e n d e p i c t s sexual happenings, he t e r o s e x u a l or homosexual, t h a t are e n j o y a b l e , s u c c e s s f u l , without negative consequences. I t i s t h i s f a c t , perhaps, t h a t d e p r i v e s the n a r r a t i v e of t e n s i o n , and r a i s e s the q u e s t i o n as to whether e n t e r t a i n i n g "innocent" pornography i s a c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n terms, or whether i t i s even p o s s i b l e . I t i s w r i t t e n i n Bj^rneboe's customary c l e a r , p r e c i s e Norwegian, and i s t o t a l l y l a c k i n g i n the p u e r i l e terms of abuse and p a s s i o n , the outpouring of taboo words, t y p i c a l of the genre. 2^ There i s very l i t t l e c h a r a c t e r development, the emphasis i s on developments. I t i s l i n e a r , d e s c r i p t i v e and f l a t . In c o n t r a s t to an aspect of " h o l i n e s s " which i s s t r o n g i n other Bj^zirneboe works p r i o r to these, the tone has changed and there i s no h o l y cow which cannot be debunked. Only when L i l l i a n stops i n a book s t o r e to buy c o p i e s of N o v a l i s , H o l d e r l i n , S t r i n d b e r g and H.C. Andersen d u r i n g her t r a v e l s do we f i n d anything sacred 57 enough to be p a i d t r i b u t e t o . F r e d r i k Wandrup d e s c r i b e s the novel as brimming " f u l l of j o i e de v i v r e and humor, j u s t the thought of f o r b i d d i n g such a book i s h y s t e r i c a l q u i t e beyond the norm" (111). BjjzSrneboe h i m s e l f s t a t e d i n an i n t e r v i e w , "I .wrote i t i n four days, and I wrote i t with p l e a s u r e — i t c o s t s me nothing to confess t h a t " (110). More important than the book i t s e l f , however, was the sequence of events which the book s e t o f f , and i t s impact, not only on f u r t h e r works by Jens Bj^rneboe, but on Norwegian s o c i e t y . Two other books were generated almost immediately by the t r i a l i t s e l f : a c o l l e c t i o n of essays by Bj^rneboe and other authors on f r e e speech and a t t i t u d e s toward s e x u a l i t y and a r t s , A Thread (En T r a d ) , and the volume, The Without A S t i t c h T r i a l  (Saken om Uten en t r a d ) , which o f f e r e d an e d i t e d r e c o r d of the t r i a l with summaries and commentaries by t h r e e w r i t e r s , d i s p a t c h e d by Bj^rneboe's other p u b l i s h e r Pax to cover the event. I f one were to i n c l u d e l e g a l proceedings a g a i n s t authors among t h e i r c o l l e c t e d works, and perhaps one should, the t o t a l m a t e r i a l generated by Without a S t i t c h of c u l t u r a l v a lue takes us f a r beyond the s l i m , or l e t i t be s a i d , n e g l i g i b l e c o n t r i b u t i o n of t h i s book's 200 pages themselves. I t should be remembered t h a t t h i s i s not an i s o l a t e d case, but p a r t of a growing p a t t e r n i n which the d i s c o u r s e contained between the covers of a work by Bj^rneboe turns out not to be a c l o s e d system, but a "system" which i n t e r a c t s with s o c i e t y — a s was the case with works l i k e Ibsen's A D o l l ' s House, or 58 S t r i n d b e r g ' s G e t t i n g M a r r i e d (a book which earned i t s author, too," both a prolonged t r i a l and a r e p u t a t i o n f o r i n d e c e n c y ) . The events i n the courtroom d u r i n g the Without a S t i t c h t r i a l resemble t h a t of a c l a s s i c comedy—say, Commedia d e l l ' A r t e , or the comedies of M o l i e r e — i n which o l d and s t i f f e n e d s o c i a l mores are made to bend by the h e a l t h - n u r t u r i n g powers of l a u g h t e r . Bjtfrneboe, e x p l o i t i n g h i s "bad-boy" image, i s d e s c r i b e d i n the accounts as though he were p l a y i n g a k i n d of Harlequino to S t a t e Prosecutor D o r e n f e l d t ' s P a n t a l o n e — D o r e n f e l d t being f a t e d to p l a y the r o l e of Bjjrfrneboe 1s a n t a g o n i s t i n f i g h t s i n v o l v i n g the j u s t i c e system, past and f u t u r e . ; 2 2 The Scandinavian t r a d i t i o n of p a s s i n g o b s c e n i t y judgments a g a i n s t some of the most important authors i s dredged up d u r i n g the proceedings. Prominent among these authors are S t r i n d b e r g i n Sweden, and Hans Jaeger, the K r i s t i a n i a a n a r c h i s t who had been imprisoned f o r h i s novel F r a  K r i s t i a n i a Bondmen i n the l a s t century. More to the p o i n t was the case of Agnar Mykle, whose Song of the Red Ruby (Sangen om  den rfide rubin) was banned i n Norway i n 1956, the same year as Henry M i l l e r ' s Sexus was banned t h e r e . Bj^rneboe had e a r l y on taken i t upon h i m s e l f to defend M y k l e — a w r i t e r who took the a u t h o r i t i e s ' i n t e r v e n t i o n s with h i s work more s e r i o u s l y , who was l e s s prepared f o r a f i g h t , and so f a r more h u r t by h i s own t r i a l a decade e a r l i e r than Bjjrfrneboe was by h i s . In an "Open l e t t e r to the D i r e c t o r of P u b l i c P r o s e c u t i o n s " (Aftenposten, 1957), Bj^rneboe had accused the a u t h o r i t i e s of t r y i n g t o crush Mykle by t a k i n g him to c o u r t , and by imposing an enormous f i n e , 59 due to p o l i t i c a l motives. "Agnar Mykle," he wrote at the time of Mykle's t r i a l , " i s today an apostate s o c i a l i s t , and he has not hidden h i s apostacy. The Song of the Red Ruby can a l s o be read as a p o l i t i c a l n o v e l . I t d e a l s with a young man's path out of the Labor P a r t y " (NMN 60-61). In another p i e c e i n Dagbladet he suggests t h a t the a u t h o r i t i e s ' a c c u s a t i o n s i n the press t h a t Mykle had invaded the p r i v a c y of Labor P a r t y f i g u r e s whom he used as models f o r c h a r a c t e r s , should have nothing to do with the o b s c e n i t y charges they were supposed to be p r e s s i n g (NMN 6 2 - 6 6 ) . 2 3 Bj^rneboe's t r i a l became a forum on the r e l a t i o n between a r t and s o c i e t y . As the' best judges of a r t , the c r i t i c s were of use to the p r o s e c u t i o n i n the courtroom. P r o f e s s o r W i l l y Dahl's e v a l u a t i o n of Without a S t i t c h , most l i k e l y to h i s c h a g r i n , was entered as evidence. I t must c e r t a i n l y have been an awkward i n c i d e n t f o r t h i s l i t e r a r y p r o g r e s s i v e , who always approached Bj^Jrneboe's work with a c e r t a i n s c e p t i c i s m - - a l l the more so i n t h i s c a s e — a n d who was i n every r e s p e c t opposed to the banning. Among the c r i t i c a l passages by the extremely i n f l u e n t i a l Dahl entered i n the r e c o r d was the f o l l o w i n g : The book has no emotional range, o n l y two f e e l i n g s : sexual a n x i e t y and the p l e a s u r e of love-making. I t i s o n e - s i d e d l y d i d a c t i c ... and i t i s a t the same time a monomaniac appeal to very few of my f e e l i n g s . I t i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y incomplete ... i t does not equip the p r o t a g o n i s t with any s t o r y , environment ... any dimension other than the s e x u a l . . . . I t i s smoothly and competently w r i t t e n by a man who knows h i s c r a f t , but the s t y l e exudes the r o u t i n e ... sex organs are d i s c u s s e d without v a r i a t i o n as " f l o w e r " and " s h a f t " , and one does wonder what a flower has to do with a s h a f t . . . . ( S a k e n om "L Ttei en t r a d " * l ! 4 5 ) 60 The p o s i t i o n of the d i f f e r e n t s i d e s i n the courtroom was c l a r i f i e d i n an i n s t a n t when State Prosecutor D o r e n f e l d t concluded: " I t was e s t a b l i s h e d i n both the M i l l e r and the Mykle cases t h a t i n our land i t i s , i n the l a s t i n s t a n c e , the c o u r t s which s h a l l decide a book's l i t e r a r y m e r i t s . I t i s the j u s t i c e system which, on the b a s i s of evidence, s h a l l decide t h i s q u e s t i o n . " The judge h i m s e l f concluded t h a t , d e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t the book rep r e s e n t e d a c e r t a i n improvement over the us u a l pornography a v a i l a b l e i n the mass market, "The book i s obscene. I t cannot be ev a l u a t e d as being of high l i t e r a r y v a l u e . I t s value f o r i l l u m i n a t i o n , r a t h e r , i s l e s s than n u l l . I t s message i s sexual n i h i l i s m i n novel-sauce" (Wandrup 117). For Bj^frneboe, the t r i a l s — b o t h the i n i t i a l t r i a l and the a p p e a l — d i d have t h e i r p o s i t i v e s i d e . Aside from p r o v i d i n g the p u b l i c with another p r o b i n g look a t the j u s t i c e system, he earned enough from f o r e i g n s a l e s to buy h i s f a m i l y a house i n B i l l i n g s t a d , pay i t o f f , and put away some savings f o r the f i r s t time. He a l s o concluded i n a l e t t e r to the Swedish a c t o r A l l a n Edwall (8 May 1967), t h a t f o r a w r i t e r , going through a t r i a l had some b e n e f i t s : I am a b i t w o r r i e d by the t r i a l t h a t ' s coming up ... the a u t h o r i t i e s are p r e p a r i n g an e x e c u t i o n and not a t r i a l . But i t has i t s b r i g h t s i d e : f o r a d r a m a t i s t t h e r e i s always something p u r e l y t e c h n i c a l and d r a m a t u r g i c a l to l e a r n from a t r i a l . The t r i a l , the procedure, i t ' s the p r i m a l p a t t e r n of a p l a y . A l l t r i a l s are p l a y a b l e dramas, and a l l p l a y s are s p i r i t u a l l y speaking t r i a l s , a s t r u g g l e and a d i s c l o s u r e of t r u t h . 6 1 A' sequel to Without a S t i t c h was p u b l i s h e d i n Denmark: Uten en T r a e v l IT^.0-968). I t i s a more s a t i r i c v a r i a n t of pornography, t a r g e t i n g v a r i o u s p i l l a r s of s o c i e t y , c o n t a i n i n g as w e l l indecent comic c a r i c a t u r e drawings by Bj^rneboe of d i f f e r e n t c i v i l a u t h o r i t i e s caught with t h e i r pants down. Yet with the t r i a l and the appeal dragging on f o r months, d e s p i t e the courtrooms f i l l e d to o v e r f l o w i n g , Bj^rneboe s u r e l y experienced the u l t i m a t e s o l i t u d e of anyone who i s i n the p o s i t i o n of being "the accused." A l l the more so with o f f i c i a l s o c i a l f o r c e s p i t t i n g t h e i r p r e s t i g e on showing one man to be a moral m o n s t r o s i t y — f o r reasons t h a t can never be proven, but which can be suspected. There must have been some k i n d of l a s t i n g and p e r s o n a l impact. On the one hand he had proven a l l t h a t he had wanted to prove. On the other, he would have to l i v e with an o f f i c i a l l a b e l of p a r i a h from t h i s p o i n t onward. 1 0 . The a s s a u l t on s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s r e p r e s e n t e d by the p r i s o n m a t e r i a l , and the a s s a u l t on him by s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s most c l e a r l y r e p r e s e n t e d by the banning of h i s book, s e t Bj^rneboe up to be e i t h e r a n a t i o n a l c e l e b r i t y or a p a r i a h — o r both. The route of the c e l e b r i t y , an obvious one f o r , say, an a s p i r i n g p o l i t i c i a n , was not a route open to a mind i n c l i n e d as Bj^rneboe's a g a i n s t i d e o l o g y and towards a constant inward s e l f - e x a m i n a t i o n . T h i s i n no way i m p l i e s t h a t h i s preoccupations were always 62 dark and h i s a t t i t u d e morose. He had always s t r u c k a balance between the solemnity of t r u t h and the la u g h t e r he a s s o c i a t e d with i n s i g h t . While Bjjzfrneboe was immersed i n the p r i s o n m a t e r i a l , he was w r i t i n g essays on t r a v e l , c u i s i n e , and one of h i s f a v o r i t e t o p i c s of a l l — c a t s . A prime example i s h i s essay from 1961, "On a Cat from Naples" ("Om en k a t t f r a N a p o l i " [POA 121-28]), which i s a mischievous but l o v i n g paean to. a p e r s o n a l i t y — a c a t ' s p e r s o n a l i t y — t h a t d e f i e d everyone's e x p e c t a t i o n s and bowed to no r u l e s of common decency. Even a f t e r the Without a S t i t c h t r i a l h i s a c i d sense f o r the comic i s s t r o n g as ever. There i s every i n d i c a t i o n , n e v e r t h e l e s s , t h a t the long-range e f f e c t s of more than a s o l i d decade of con t r o v e r s y l e f t i t s mark on Bj^rneboe's Weltanshauung and h i s a t t i t u d e as an author. In f a c t , a person so e m o t i o n a l l y v u l n e r a b l e c o u l d not have weathered the a s s a u l t s — w h i c h he, c u r i o u s l y , o f t e n brought upon h i m s e l f — w i t h o u t going through some k i n d of metamorphosis. Months before the t r i a l of Without a S t i t c h began, he had completed Moment of Freedom, the f i r s t volume of what was to be h i s t r i l o g y . Ragnhild J ^ l s e n had prepared to meet the work she was never f u l l y ready to w r i t e with the words "Now your l i f e ' s work s h a l l begin," and Bj^rneboe i n f a c t then began the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y — a somewhat f l e x i b l e heading which he w i l l a l s o l a t e r imply covers a l l h i s works of f i c t i o n up to and i n c l u d i n g the t r i l o g y . A man who becomes "the accused" knows what the meeting with the world i s l i k e . When Duke Hans, sees the young monk beneath h i s sickroom 63 i n the Czar's c o u r t y a r d , w a i t i n g to be broken on the wheel, he f i r s t t h i n k s he sees i n h i s . f a c e t h a t of h i s f r i e n d , the Spanish commander S p i n o l a . A f t e r begging, seemingly i r r a t i o n a l l y , the Czar's clemency f o r t h a t one l i t t l e monk, he r e a l i z e s t h a t he has l i e d to the Czar, f o r " d e s p i t e h i s powerful l i k e n e s s to S p i n o l a i t was more he h i m s e l f the monk had reminded him of ..." (HH 103). And so, on the day of h i s death, the monk comes to h i s room, though unable to communicate i n any language with.the dying duke. They meet, even k i s s , and the monk says a prayer f o r h i s double. The novel here t u r n s from i t s theme of "a mind's meeting with the world" to another: "mankind's meeting with i t s e l f . " T h i s double t h a t i s so strange, so hard to understand, so d i s t a n t proves to be, p a r a d o x i c a l l y , o n e s e l f , and the source of one's compassion. The t r i l o g y p i c k s up where, many years b e f o r e , Jens B jjzSrneboe 1 s f i r s t l i t e r a r y e f f o r t l e f t o f f . 64 ... s e p a d e s s a p a p p e r d a r j a g f o r f a t t e r h i s t o r i e r om o r a t t ... ... l o o k a t t h e s e p a p e r s w here I w r i t e h i s t o r i e s o f i n j u s t i c e ... A u g u s t S t r i n d b e r g E t t D r o m s p e l THREE / THE HISTORY OF B E S T I A L I T Y 1. A t t h e h e a r t o f B j ^ r n e b o e ' s w o r k l i e s h i s n o v e l t r i l o g y known as t h e " H i s t o r y o f B e s t i a l i t y " , a n d i t i s w i t h t h e f i r s t v o l u m e o f t h e g r o u p , The Moment o f Freedom ( F r i h e t e n s  {ZSyeblikk, 1966), t h a t he b r e a k s i n t o a new mode o f f i c t i o n w h i c h c h a l l e n g e d a l l t h e norms w i t h w h i c h he had b e e n w o r k i n g i n h i s p r i o r n o v e l s . Terms h a v i n g t o do w i t h t h e r i t u a l o f t h e c o u r t r o o m l i k e " j u s t i c e , " " t r i a l , " " j u d g m e n t , " " g u i l t , " " p r o t o c o l , " " e v i d e n c e , " w o u l d b e g i n t o t a k e on new m e a n i n g i n B j ^ r n e b o e ' s m e t a p h y s i c a l l e x i c o n . C e r t a i n l y one o f t h e i n f l u e n c e s h e r e i s S a i n t J o h n ' s book of R e v e l a t i o n , w h i c h i s s a i d t o h a v e been h i s f a v o r i t e book of t h e B i b l e (Wandrup 41). U n d o u b t e d l y , K a f k a ' s The T r i a l r e p r e s e n t s an i m p o r t a n t p r e c e d e n t i n d e s c r i b i n g t h e t r i a l o f an i n d i v i d u a l e x i s t e n c e . B e f o r e B j ^ r n e b o e ' s own and v e r y l i t e r a l o b s c e n i t y t r i a l t o o k p l a c e , Moment o f Freedom, 65 was a l r e a d y on the s h e l v e s . I t was to be the f i r s t volume of the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y , which a l s o comprises The  Powderhouse: La Po u d r i e r e ( K r u t t a r n e t , 1970) and The  S i l e n c e ( S t i l l h e t e n , 1973 J.. 1 Moment of Freedom, which bears the s u b t i t l e "The H e i l i g e n b e r g Manuscript" i s d i v i d e d i n t o three d i s t i n c t s e c t i o n s , the f i r s t of which i s "The C i t i e s . " 2. High i n the A l p s , i n a German p r i n c i p a l i t y c a l l e d H e i l i g e n b e r g , which w i l l not be found on any map, the n a r r a t o r i s d a i l y f u l f i l l i n g h i s o b l i g a t i o n s i n the courtroom as a Servant of J u s t i c e — a term which i n the Norwegian, has both an a l l e g o r i c a l and a more mundane meaning: " R e t t s t j e n e r " = c o u r t o f f i c i a l . His o f f i c i a l o b l i g a t i o n s i n c l u d e keeping papers i n order, c l e a n i n g , and keeping the c o u r t records or p r o t o c o l s . Aside from h i s o f f i c i a l d u t i e s , however, the Servant of J u s t i c e has been keeping h i s own s e t of p a r a l l e l r e c o r d s , a long and d e t a i l e d account of man's c r u e l t y to man encompassing twelve volumes and which he c a l l s h i s H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y . He e x p l a i n s i n the opening passages t h a t he had been many years t r a v e l i n g i n the "land of Chaos," but s i n c e he has come to stay i n H e i l i g e n b e r g , the o p p o r t u n i t y to be i n a p l a c e where he c o u l d witness the work of "day to day j u s t i c e — o r b e t t e r : day to day i n j u s t i c e " has brought 66 h i m s t r e n g t h , and h a s b r o u g h t o r d e r t o h i s l i f e (FO 7-8). He a d d s t h a t h i s " a b i l i t y t o t o l e r a t e i n j u s t i c e — n o t j u s t my own, b u t t h e i n j u s t i c e s done t o o t h e r s — h a s t r a n s f o r m e d i n t h e c o u r s e o f t h e s e y e a r s t o an i n c r e d i b l e f o r c e . Of c o u r s e , t h i s o n l y h a p p e n e d b e c a u s e I h a d n ' t f o r one m i n u t e l o s t t h e a b i l i t y t o s u f f e r a t t h e s i g h t o f t h i s i n j u s t i c e w h i c h p e r m e a t e s e v e r y t h i n g . " He h a s t h e most i n s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i o n i n t h e c o u r t r o o m , s i n c e he i s t h e r e as n e i t h e r j u d g e , j u r y , n o r p r o s e c u t i o n n o r d e f e n s e c o u n s e l — " n o t e v e n as t h e a c c u s e d " (8). He d e s c r i b e s t h e l o c a l p o p u l a t i o n a s p e o p l e who " c a n h a r d l y be s a i d t o be f i l l e d w i t h t h e H o l y G h o s t . " He d o e s n o t d e s c r i b e , y e t , what t h i s H o l y G h o s t m i g h t s i g n i f y , b u t o f f e r s a s o r t o f n e g a t i v e e x p l a n a t i o n . "They a r e p e o p l e w i t h o u t s o n g , w i t h o u t f o l k l o r e , m u s i c , d a n c e . " E v e n s o , i t must be s a i d t h a t t h e y c a n t h i n k . "You c a n s e e i t i n t h e i r e y e s . They a r e c a l c u l a t i n g . They a r e a d d i n g o r s u b t r a c t i n g i n t h e i r h e a d s " ( 9 ) . He comes upon t h e w o r d " l e m u r i a n " t o d e s c r i b e them. T h i s t e r m comes f r o m R u d o l p h S t e i n e r ' s A n t h r o p o s o p h y , t h o u g h t h e c o n n e c t i o n i s n o t made i n t h e t e x t i t s e l f . I t d e n o t e s a t i m e i n human h i s t o r y b e f o r e c o n s c i o u s n e s s made i t p o s s i b l e f o r human b e i n g s t o mark t h e m s e l v e s o f f f r o m a n i m a l s . 2 , The i n h a b i t a n t s o f t h e town r e a d b a n k b o o k s , and i f n e c e s s a r y , t h e i r l a w s — i n o r d e r t o d i s c o v e r what t h e y a r e a l l o w e d t o do t o t h e i r n e i g h b o r s . E v e r y o n e i s i n c o n f l i c t w i t h e v e r y b o d y , b u t i n some s t r a n g e way t h e y s t i l l manage t o s t i c k t o g e t h e r . I t 67 i s a "lemurian" concord. They are marvelous s k i e r s , and i n the winter they go to the tops of the mountains and down to the v a l l e y s "over and over a g a i n . " The Servant of J u s t i c e i s h i m s e l f e x p l o i t e d , as i f by a breed of economic vampires. They are always f i n d i n g ways to get more r e n t out of h i s p o v e r t y - l e v e l wages. He i s cheated on food p r i c e s , e l e c t r i c i t y , and they double h i s income on paper before they tax i t . They are i n every way u n f a i r . The g o a l i s o b v i o u s l y to e n r i c h o n e s e l f a t the expense of o t h e r s . At times, they k i l l people i n p a i n f u l ways, " j u s t t o amuse themselves and pass the time. But t h e i r own c o u r t s a q u i t them" (10). The Servant e x p l a i n s t h a t , although the system of j u s t i c e ( " r e t t " or " r i g h t " ) has now g i v e n him a k i n d of scheme or map with which he can make sense of the world, and e s p e c i a l l y the "land of Chaos" where he has wandered f o r f o r t y y e a r s , i t i s a p y r r h i c v i c t o r y . For i n f a c t , he cannot remember h i s own name—"an a f t e r e f f e c t of my long wandering ye a r s " he suggests: a p e r i o d of f o r t y years which i s , of course, a l s o the l e n g t h of the wandering of the C h i l d r e n of I s r a e l . N e v e r t h e l e s s , he has a name t h a t he i s known by i n the surrounding v a l l e y . I t i s a n e g a t i v e , d e p r e c a t i n g name. He i s now f o r t y - s i x years o l d , h i s beard i s growing white, and he senses he i s about to come face to face with something t h a t w i l l be d e c i s i v e f o r him. He r e c a l l s t h a t when Socrates was f a c i n g death, and was g i v e n the c h o i c e to l i e or f l e e , he had answered: "No 68 ... I c a n ' t . A man o f my a g e , and w i t h s u c h a w e l l - k n o w n name?" ( 1 1 ) . L i k e S o c r a t e s , he i s r i p e f o r h i s own moment o f t r u t h ( " s a n n h e t e n s ^ y e b l i k k " ) . Up u n t i l now he h a s been w i l l i n g t o a c c e p t a w o r l d w h i c h he s a y s i s p o p u l a t e d w i t h " l i t t l e b e a r s " ( "smabj,0rn" ) , a s he c a l l s h i s f e l l o w c r e a t u r e s . A s i d e f r o m t h e l i t t l e b e a r s , he c i t e s a n o t h e r g r o u p , w h i c h he c a l l s " t h e s c h o l a s t i c s , " who a l s o b e l o n g t o t h e f a m i l y "homo consumens." A t h i r d , p o s s i b l y l e s s d a n g e r o u s g r o u p , he c a l l s t h e " e s c a t o l o g i s t s " ( 1 4 ) . The p o p u l a t i o n o f l i t t l e b e a r s i n H e i l i g e n b e r g i s made up o f e s s e n t i a l l y g o o d c i t i z e n s . B u t when t h e F o e h n w i n d b l o w s o v e r t h e M e d i t e r r a n e a n f r o m t h e N o r t h A f r i c a n d e s e r t , t h e r e a r e o u t b u r s t s o f c r u e l t y a n d v i o l e n c e a l m o s t b e y o n d d e s c r i p t i o n . N o r m a l a nd w e l l - r e g a r d e d c i t i z e n s c a n open f i r e on e a c h o t h e r , a t t a c k e a c h o t h e r , h u n t e a c h o t h e r down. E v e n s o , m a n y — s u c h as t h e b u t c h e r who s l a u g h t e r e d h i s f a m i l y a n d p r e p a r e d them on meat h o o k s — c a n e v e n t u a l l y f i n d t h e m s e l v e s b a c k a t w o r k a nd as s o c i a b l e as e v e r . B e s i d e s t h e F o e h n w i n d , t h e r e i s a n o t h e r t r i g g e r f o r t h e s e spasms o f c h a o s i n t h e a r e a . The l o c a l c i d e r , i f consumed w i t h o u t c a u t i o n , l e a d s t o a s p e c i a l t y p e o f i n t o x i c a t i o n w h i c h c a n u n l e a s h t h e w o r s t i n t h e l i t t l e b e a r s . ( T h i s a p p l i e s o c c a s i o n a l l y t o K i r s c h a s w e l l , b u t n e v e r w h i t e w i n e . ) The S e r v a n t , h o w e v e r , h a s h i s methods f o r e s c a p i n g b o t h t h e h a r s h r e a l i t y o f t h e t o w n , a n d t h e c u s t o m a r y i n j u s t i c e o f t h e c o u r t r o o m . He r e t r e a t s t o h i s t a v e r n , "Zum H e n k e r n , " where he i m b i b e s r e d w i n e a nd i n d u l g e s i n 69 s p e c u l a t i v e d i a l o g u e s with h i s d r i n k i n g p a r t n e r s the B e l l Ringer and the Sexton. K i r s c h i n p a r t i c u l a r leads to the most a b s t r a c t e x e r c i s e s i n l o g i c — f o r example t h e i r d i s p u t e on the o r i g i n s of consciousness. The B e l l Ringer, who b e l i e v e s i n the law of c a u s a l i t y , achieves something of a v i c t o r y over the Servant of J u s t i c e i n the debate. The Servant argues t h a t consciousness must come of matter, o r i g i n a l l y , l i k e energy. The B e l l Ringer gets the f i n a l word: When you observe consciousness, then you have proof only of c o n s c i o u s n e s s — a n d when you observe energy, then you have proved only the e x i s t e n c e of energy. That's a l l there i s to i t . Otherwise you b e l i e v e i n m i r a c l e s : t h a t i s to say, a v i o l a t i o n i n the law of c a u s a l i t y . (42) Th i s i s an uncommon argument f o r a man of the s p i r i t to be using a g a i n s t a m a t e r i a l i s t theory of the o r i g i n s of consciousness. He uses not theology but p o s i t i v i s m . C u r i o u s l y , i t i s an argument i n fav o r of the autonomy of consciousness. In the debate, no one has been asked to " b e l i e v e " i n anything, l e t alone begin by p o s i t i n g the e x i s t e n c e of God. Yet t h i s argument, e a r l y on i n the n a r r a t i v e , w i l l prove to be v i t a l to the p r o p o s i t i o n u n d e r l y i n g the whole book. The autonomy of consciousness i s a p r e r e q u i s i t e f o r any meaningful d e f i n i t i o n of freedom. The d i a l o g u e s i n Zum Henkern are not meaningless bar harangues i n c l u d e d f o r the sake of a s a t i r e of types. The n a r r a t o r a t the p o i n t where we meet him i s a person on 70 the verge of a d e f i n i t i v e break with the i n h e r i t e d values of the world around him. The p r e c i p i t a t i n g event i s not long i n coming. One day he n o t i c e s t h a t the judge's a t t e n t i o n i s not on the proceedings i n the courtroom, d e s p i t e the severe punishments t h a t are to be handed out. The judge's a t t e n t i o n i s i n s t e a d focused on something between the pages of h i s volume of c o u r t records (43). A f t e r work hours, upon i n s p e c t i o n , the Servant d i s c o v e r s t h a t the source of the judge's d i s t r a c t i o n i s a c o l l e c t i o n of photos. They show many of the town's most prominent c i t i z e n s engaged i n e x p l i c i t sexual poses with animals, c h i l d r e n and each o t h e r . The n a r r a t o r d e s c r i b e s the moment as " p a i n f u l , " f o r he had taken the m o r a l i t y of these c i t i z e n s as a given, whether or not he shared t h e i r views: Having served many years as a servant of j u s t i c e , o b v i o u s l y I should not be amazed by anything, and as a t r a v e l e r , s a i l o r and s i n g e r i n my younger years, I should be f a m i l i a r with anything t h a t i s human. But one has to understand the s i t u a t i o n i n the a l p i n e town i n order to understand my h o r r o r . The c i t y i s C a l v i n i s t i c , and severe to the extreme i n i t s moral code. (46) From t h i s we can see t h a t i f the n a r r a t o r i s intended to be i n search of a moral v i s i o n , i t w i l l not come out of what we commonly c a l l m o r a l i t y . A f t e r t h i s d i s c o v e r y , i t i s c l e a r t h a t any moral v i s i o n of the world w i l l have to dispense with the easy h y p o c r i s y of the m o r a l i s t i c . Despite the claims of a t l e a s t one c r i t i c t h a t the Servant 71 o f J u s t i c e p r o v e s t o h a v e h i s own m o r a l v i s i o n t o j u x t a p o s e t o t h i s m o r a l i s m , i f we comb t h e l e n g t h a n d b r e a d t h o f t h e book we w i l l f i n d l i t t l e t o s u b s t a n t i a t e t h i s . 3 I n t h e f i r s t segment o f t h e book a t l e a s t i t r e m a i n s a c o m p l e t e l y o p en q u e s t i o n a s t o wh a t a m o r a l v i s i o n i s s u p p o s e d t o be, and who w i l l d e f i n e i t . I t w i l l r e m a i n a d o m i n a n t q u e s t i o n — a n d a n open o n e - - t h r o u g h t o t h e e n d o f t h e book. M e a n w h i l e , t h e c r i s i s d e s c r i b e d a s t h e "moment o f t r u t h " h a s b e e n s e t o f f i n t h e n a r r a t o r . T h e r e i s no t u r n i n g b a c k . He c a n no l o n g e r b e l i e v e t h a t " t h e w o r l d i s r i g h t " a n d he i s w r o n g . He i s a l o n e w i t h t r u t h a n d i t s a t t e n d a n t d a r k n e s s . He w i l l e c h o s e v e r a l t i m e s t h e w o r d s o f a man he r e f e r s t o a s t h e c r u c i f i e d " R a b b i J o s c h u a ben J o s e f f " : a t w i s t w h i c h i s t y p i c a l o f Bj/zfrneboe's b e n t f o r d e - f a m i l i a r i z i n g C h r i s t i a n i t y , t o g e t us t o r e e v a l u a t e t h e s y m b o l s a nd v a l u e s we have i n h e r i t e d i n t h e West w i t h o u t b e i n g c o n s c i o u s o f i t . The " R a b b i ' s " famous w o r d s : "The t r u t h s h a l l make y o u f r e e . " Y e t t h e r e i s a t r u t h he i s n o t c o n f r o n t i n g — t h i s p e c u l i a r n a r r a t o r who c l a i m s t o be w r i t i n g h i s l i f e a s we a r e r e a d i n g . The e v i d e n c e ' i s , a s he c o n f e s s e s , t h a t h i s memory i s p e r f o r a t e d w i t h many "raw h o l e s . " He has e v e n f o r g o t t e n h i s own name a n d a l l t h a t h a p p e n e d t o h i m i n h i s y e a r s o f w a n d e r i n g . I f he c a n f i n d h i s s u p p r e s s e d p a s t , a n d r e c a l l h i s name, he w i l l s t a n d a t t h e c r o s s - r o a d s t o f r e e d o m : W i t h o u t memory, no c o n t i n u i t y , no r e a l i t y , no p e r s p e c t i v e o v e r my l i f e , no J. am. I l i e i n s w e a t a nd d a r k n e s s , h a l f 72 awake, and i n f e v e r and dreams, surrounded by scraps of p i c t u r e s t h a t were once whole. I cannot d e s c r i b e how I am f i g h t i n g to get my consciousness back, to a v o i d going under and f i n d i n g myself among the l i t t l e bears. (34) He begins by r e c o l l e c t i n g h i s c h i l d h o o d . His f a t h e r was a c o r r e c t man, f u l l of a suppressed l u s t f o r l i f e : a s u f f e r i n g c a p i t a l i s t . "Each time I see a businessman, my heart flows over with sympathy and compassion ... I become a h e a r t f e l t anarcho-communist every time I look a businessman i n the eye. For I know of h i s deep d e s p a i r , h i s s u s p i c i o n t h a t he has b u i l t h i s l i f e on sand" (25). His memories of h i s f a t h e r l e a d him a l s o to c h i l d h o o d memories of the lan d he r e f e r s to a l t e r n a t e l y as "Germania" and "Teutonia" before the Second World War. Here i s unleashed a pent up a r s e n a l of p o e t i c and p o l e m i c a l weaponry a g a i n s t the g r e a t c u l t u r e of Europe which c a r r i e d the seeds of a world war and a hol o c a u s t w i t h i n i t . He c a l l s the currency reform which helped make West Germany a model of economic s t a b i l i t y a f t e r the war the end of hope f o r Germany. "The moment the f i r s t new mark was p r i n t e d , t h a t same second, Germany won the T h i r d World War" (33). East Germany i s seen as Germany's bad cons c i e n c e : "A p l a c e where no German can s e l l pornography, buy s t o c k s , s p e c u l a t e i n p r o p e r t y , earn money on Verdun, s e l l h i s grandmother." There one i s f o r c e d to be poor--to do penance. " A f t e r death, Germans go to DDR" (36). What these passages c o n s t i t u t e i s the opening to the n a r r a t o r ' s symbiotic r e l a t i o n s h i p with German c u l t u r e , a r e l a t i o n s h i p which i s 73 p a r a d o x i c a l i n the e x t r e m e — a love-hate dependency—and not, as one major c r i t i c has suggested, a k i n d of r a c i a l a t t a c k i n which the author has i n a d v e r t e n t l y undermined h i s own i n t e n t i o n s . 4 What i s not yet obvious a t t h i s e a r l y stage i s t h a t the Servant of J u s t i c e , as i s the case with Bjjzfrneboe h i m s e l f , i s w r i t i n g from i n s i d e of t h a t c u l t u r e . The n a r r a t o r i s not an o u t s i d e r , or a t l e a s t not i n the sense t h a t we have come to use t h a t term s i n c e e x i s t e n t i a l i s m . In g e o g r a p h i c a l terms, H e i l i g e n b e r g i s German, even i f i t i s a l s o a k i n d of a l l e g o r i c a l h e l l or limbo. So he p l a c e s h i m s e l f i n "Germania" g e o g r a p h i c a l l y . What i s more, he has s t u d i e d Germany thoroughly, i s f l u e n t i n the tongue, knows the l i t e r a t u r e ("I am allowed a l l t h i s , because no one has loved Germania as I have. No one l o v e s i t as I s t i l l l o v e i t " [ 3 6 ] ) . The t i r a d e leads him back on a thread of emotion to the memories he must come to terms wi t h . I t p r o v i d e s him with an opening. The memories of the war and i t s a t r o c i t i e s b r i n g him to the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t the world i s s i c k . But the world says t h a t those who can not f i t i n t o i t are the ones who are s i c k (37). The n a r r a t o r i n t h i s c onnection i n t r o d u c e s the s u b j e c t of s y p h i l i s . That the d i s e a s e s i g n i f i e s a g r e a t d e a l more than the p h y s i c a l malady here, i s immediatly c l e a r . C u r i o u s l y , Bj^rneboe w i l l be u s i n g the term throughout the novel and the t r i l o g y as w e l l as an emblem f o r both the d i s e a s e d s o c i e t y , and the " s i c k n e s s " which s e t s a p a r t c r e a t i v e i n d i v i d u a l s from the 74 norms w h i c h t h a t s o c i e t y c a l l s h e a l t h y . The a u t h o r seems t o w a n t i t b o t h w a y s . The c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n t h e u s e o f t h e m e t a p h o r m i g h t p o s s i b l y make a r e a d e r f e e l he i s g r a s p i n g a t s t r a w s as he t r i e s t o p i n down t h e c o n n o t a t i o n s o f s y p h i l i s i n B j ^ r n e b o e ' s w o r k . We s h a l l r e t u r n t o t h i s i n l o o k i n g a t v o l u m e t h r e e o f t h e t r i l o g y . I t c a n be a s s e r t e d t h a t , by and l a r g e , i n Moment o f F r e e d o m , s y p h i l i s i s u s e d as an emblem f o r t h e t h i n g w h i c h p r o v i d e s f o r d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e i n d i v i d u a l . I t i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h g e n i u s and f r e e d o m . I t s t a n d s f o r a l l t h a t s o c i e t i e s deem s i c k i n t h e i r p r o b l e m c h i l d r e n — t h e o u t s i d e r s . B j ^ r n e b o e f i n d s r e a s o n s f o r s o l i d a r i t y w i t h a l l o f E u r o p e ' s h e r e t i c s a nd t h e i r d i s - e a s e . H e r e i t i s t h e S e r v a n t s p e a k i n g , b u t Bjjzfrneboe h a s e c h o e d t h e same t h o u g h t i n h i s e s s a y s and p l a y s : B r o a d l y s p e a k i n g , what w o u l d h a v e become o f o u r b e l o v e d , s t i n k i n g b e a u t i f u l E u r o p e w i t h o u t o u r a d d i c t s , d r u n k s , h o m o s e x u a l s , c o n s u m p t i v e s , i n s a n e , s y p h i l i t i c s , b e d - w e t t e r s , c r i m i n a l s a nd e p i l e p t i c s ? A l l o u r c u l t u r e has b e e n s h a p e d by c r i m i n a l s , madmen a n d p a t i e n t s . T h e r e i s n o t one n o r m a l p e r s o n t h a t has done a u s e f u l o r l a s t i n g t h i n g : I t was n o r m a l p e o p l e who b u i l t t h e s l a v e l a b o r camps b o t h i n Germany and i n R u s s i a . I know what I'm t a l k i n g a b o u t . To s e a r c h f o r m e a n i n g i n t h e l e m u r i a n c h a o s i s l i k e s e a r c h i n g f o r a n e e d l e i n a h a y s t a c k . (37) T h e r e i s a n o t h e r t h i n g a b o u t E u r o p e ' s t r a d i t i o n a l t e r m i n a l d i s e a s e w h i c h u n d e r s c o r e s i t s i m p o r t a n c e a s an emblem. T h i s i s t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f d e a t h ( " d ^ d s b e v i s s t h e t " ) t h a t i t b r i n g s w i t h i t , i n an i n c r e a s i n g l y d e a t h - d e n y i n g c u l t u r e . The c l o s e r e l a t i o n 75 between t r u t h and death i s brought to our a t t e n t i o n i n the f i r s t few pages of Moment of Freedom. A l i e , f o r example, can be c o r r e c t e d by yet another l i e , and so on. I t w i l l never be f i n a l or a b s o l u t e . "But t r u t h — o n c e i t i s f i r s t d i s c l o s e d , becomes i n e v i t a b l e — a b rother of death" (12). Bjjzfrneboe's use of the term "the Holy Ghost" ("Den H e l l i g e And") r e f e r s to the s p i r i t i n those who have the a b i l i t y to look death i n the fa c e , as i t were (15). "The moment of t r u t h " echoes the Spanish b u l l f i g h t i n g term " e l momento de l a verdad." I t i s the moment when the glimpse of the r a i s e d sword "exposes the t r u e c h a r a c t e r of the s t r u g g l e , " one of l i f e and death. Implied i n these passages i s an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the o r i g i n s of a l l r i t u a l . The phenomenon i s a l s o the r a i s o n d'etre of a l l forms of t h e a t e r : stage p l a y s , w r e s t l i n g , debate, and the " r i t u a l s t r u g g l e between i c e - c o l d s p e c i a l i s t s i n the courtroom": Without the f i g h t t here i s no t h e a t e r . . . . In the t r i a l i n a l l i t s forms: f a r c e , comedy, drama, tragedy--and i n such sub-species of J u s t i c e as the o p e r e t t a , opera and musical comedy, the main theme i s the same: someone s h a l l win and someone s h a l l d i e . (18) Th i s i d e a t h a t v i o l e n c e , and a r i t u a l of s a c r i f i c e l y i n g at the foundations of almost a l l human c u l t u r e , foreshadows the work of Rene G i r a r d , which has become i n c r e a s i n g l y f a m i l i a r i n the '70s and '80s. 5 A glimpse i n t o the t r u t h , of f i n a l i t y — e l momento de l a v e r d a d — i s a p r e r e q u i s i t e to the moment of freedom. I t 76 echoes t h a t f o r m u l a t i o n of Rabbi Joschua ben J o s e f f : "The t r u t h s h a l l make you f r e e . " Freedom i s the only t h i n g mo-re f r i g h t e n i n g than t r u t h . Humanity has become conscious t h a t i t has freedom, but u n f o r t u n a t e l y without "complete consciousness of death. " ( 1 6 ) An ongoing concern i n Moment of Freedom, and i n Bj^rneboe's work i n g e n e r a l , i s t h a t a f t e r Auschwitz and a f t e r Hiroshima, the West had an o p p o r t u n i t y f o r a h i s t o r i c a l change i n consciousness which was missed. We looked away i n s t e a d of l o o k i n g i n t o the t r u t h . True freedom may only be t o l e r a t e d by human beings by "grace of the Holy Ghost" and i f t h i s i s l a c k i n g , mankind's awareness of i t s own freedom becomes a dubious g i f t . I t came too soon, before death-consciousness, "so t h a t the l i t t l e bears i n f a c t d i s c o v e r e d t h a t they, unpunished, co u l d do whatever they p l e a s e d " (155). So i t i s an i l l u s o r y and dangerous freedom the l i t t l e bears have. In p r a c t i c e i t becomes only the freedom to buy, s e l l and chase a f t e r power. In the p o s t - n u c l e a r age the consequences of t h i s development c o u l d prove, to say the l e a s t , d i s a s t r o u s . T h i s p r o b l e m — t h a t the moment of freedom has come f o r us before the moment of t r u t h — h a s been p e r c e i v e d by other commentators as the moral f o u n d a t i o n of the book.6 Yet i t i s not t h a t easy. I t i s not meant as e i t h e r an argument a g a i n s t humanism and human freedom, nor i s i t advocacy of moralism. I t i s t h i s which marks i t o f f , however, from the e x i s t e n t i a l i s t concept of freedom, most n o t a b l y t h a t of 77 S a r t r e , with whom the thought expounded i n the novel seems to have much i n common. We have jumped ahead here because i n i t i a l l y the concepts of the moment of t r u t h and the moment of freedom tend to be b l u r r e d . They seem to be events which are t a k i n g p l a c e c o n s t a n t l y , before each other and a f t e r each other. A reader w i l l have t r o u b l e f o l l o w i n g the developments i n t h i s new s o r t of Bildungsroman, u n t i l he begins to understand t h a t these are not "moments" which occur i n our f a m i l i a r l i n e a r time. The moment of freedom i s a pro c e s s . I t i s a moment which takes p l a c e i n the "here" t h a t i s a l l p l a c e s and the "now" t h a t i s a l l times (178) . The s e c t i o n t i t l e d "The C i t i e s " culminates i n a d e s c r i p t i o n of the years d u r i n g which the n a r r a t o r l i v e d i n e x i l e i n Stockholm. ' Now begins an episode t h a t has c l e a r p a r a l l e l s i n the author Bj/zirneboe 1 s own l i f e : he had l i v e d i n Stockholm d u r i n g those same years, and s t u d i e d p a i n t i n g under the same teacher as h i s n a r r a t o r . ^ Once again BjjzSrneboe, much l i k e S t r i n d b e r g i n h i s no v e l s , manipulates the a u t h o r i a l presence i n the t e x t by b t a t a n t l y u s i n g autobiography as m a t e r i a l . I t i s i n Stockholm t h a t he f i n d s the i d e n t i f y i n g symptoms of the " s i c k n e s s " which pervades s o c i e t y and which has, l o g i c a l l y , i n f e c t e d him. He s t u d i e s a r t , p a i n t s , and indu l g e s e s p e c i a l l y h i s i n t e r e s t i n medieval a r t . He l i v e s i n a household f u l l of e x i l e s and refugees i n Sweden, while the war rages o u t s i d e i t s borders. In the t h i r d s e c t i o n of 78 t h e book t i t l e d " L e m u r i a , " he w i l l l o o k b a c k on t h i s t i m e , d i a g n o s i n g i t as t h e s o u r c e o f h i s b a d c o n s c i e n c e . L a t e r he w i l l d e s c r i b e t h e i m p a c t i t h a d , when, d u r i n g t h e f i n a l moments o f t h e w o r l d w a r , two c i t i e s a r e a l m o s t i n s t a n t l y w i p e d o u t by new t e c h n o l o g y : B u t my own l i f e i n S t o c k h o l m was n o t p a r t i c u l a r l y a f f e c t e d by t h i s . By a n d l a r g e , I was s t r o n g l y i n t e r e s t e d i n B y z a n t i n e p a i n t i n g t h a t summer. I n A u g u s t came t h e g r e a t c h a n g e . The p l a n e t s U r a n u s a n d P l u t o s t o o d i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h t h e s i g n o f S c o r p i o , and I d e c i d e d t h a t i t no l o n g e r c o n c e r n e d me what t h e l i t t l e b e a r s d i d t o one a n o t h e r . I n my d e f e n s e i t must be s a i d t h a t i t was t o be s e v e r a l y e a r s b e f o r e we g o t c o r r e c t i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t what h a p p e n e d . . . . B u t t h e t r u t h i s , a l s o , t h a t n o t h i n g w h a t s o e v e r h a p p e n e d i n me. The t r u t h i s a l s o t h a t t h e A m e r i c a n c e n s o r s h i p was e f f e c t i v e . The t r u t h i s a l s o t h a t we w e re t i r e d , t i r e d a s p e o p l e a r e a f t e r w a r s — w e w e r e so t i r e d o f i t , t h a t we q u i t e s i m p l y d i d n ' t g i v e a s h i t a b o u t what h a p p e n e d i n J a p a n . As a S e r v a n t o f J u s t i c e I w o u l d l i k e t o r e p e a t and u n d e r s c o r e t h e p o i n t t h a t I c o u l d n ' t be b o t h e r e d t o h e a r a n y t h i n g a b o u t i t . T o t a l p e a c e r u l e d now, n o t t h e l e a s t i n t h o s e two c i t i e s . I n t h e m e a n t i m e t h e a c t was c a r r i e d o u t , and many p e o p l e u n d e r s t o o d t h a t f r o m now on t h e l i t t l e b e a r s had e n t i r e l y new a n d u n h e a r d - o f p o s s i b i l i t i e s t o h u r t e a c h o t h e r ; no amount o f d e s t r u c t i o n was i m p o s s i b l e any l o n g e r : The Moment o f F r e e d o m had a r r i v e d . (155) N e v e r t h e l e s s , s o m e t h i n g had b e e n a t w o r k on h i m d u r i n g t h e S t o c k h o l m y e a r s . T h i s i s r e v e a l e d i n t h e b o o k ' s f i r s t s e c t i o n t h r o u g h t h e v i g n e t t e s he w r i t e s o f t h e r e s i d e n t s i n t h e h o u s e o f e x i l e s . The f i r s t i s t h e s t o r y o f O t t o who came o v e r t h e s e a i n a s m a l l b o a t f r o m E s t o n i a , a man who k e e p s t o h i m s e l f . I t t u r n s o u t , i n f a c t , t h a t he i s a n - SS1 man, i n f l i g h t f r o m t h e Red Army. H i s l o y a l t y t o h i s 79 o r i g i n s , h i s c l a s s . o f i n d u s t r i o u s businessmen, put him out of f a v o r when the f i r s t Communist government had come to power, and Otto's g r a p h i c account of the a t r o c i t i e s which ensued are duly recorded i n the v i g n e t t e . Then he d e s c r i b e s the a r r i v a l of the Germans as t h a t of l i b e r a t o r s , " l i k e God's angels." He now d e s c r i b e s i n e q u a l l y g r a p h i c terms the massacres of Communists, sympathizers and Jews i n which he took p a r t before he j o i n e d the Waffen SS. "They're a l l dead now, hundreds of thousands, none are a l i v e " (67). These l a t t e r events make p e r f e c t sense to him. He f l e d upon the a r r i v a l of the Red Army. Otto's d e s c r i p t i o n s of r e p r e s s i o n and c r u e l t y are e q u a l l y candid and c r e d i b l e i n both cases. I t i s h i s a t t i t u d e towards them t h a t i s d i f f e r e n t . T h i s i s because "the Communists don't r e c o g n i z e the f a i t h " (64). That i s , of course, h i s f a i t h . Otto's case i s simple. He i s a t r u e b e l i e v e r — a s were h i s enemies. He doesn't t h i n k f o r h i m s e l f , but only as p a r t of a group. One s i d e ' s barbarism i s e v i l . His s i d e ' s barbarism i s h o l y . T h i s i s perhaps the most extreme p r a c t i c a l consequence of S a r t r e ' s "mauvaise f o i . " The second v i g n e t t e p r e s e n t s a more complex case. I t i s the s t o r y of a German Jewish p h y s i c i a n , the refugee Maria Rosenbaum. She i s a d e d i c a t e d Communist, l o y a l to her cause but a l o o f from the others i n the house. She maintains an a i r of s u p e r i o r i t y which the n a r r a t o r apprehends as "the German i n t e l l e c t u a l ' s grandiose arrogance" (81). Her b r o t h e r s and husband'had f l e d to 80 R u s s i a . The n a r r a t o r , to h i s dismay, hears her one day r e f e r to them a l l as t r a i t o r s . " T r a i t o r " was of course a f r e e - f l o a t i n g word d u r i n g those y e a r s , and he must pursue the s u b j e c t to understand what she means by i t . To h i s f u r t h e r dismay he f i n d s they have long s i n c e been j a i l e d i n R u s s i a , and two of them d e l i v e r e d to the Gestapo by the S o v i e t a u t h o r i t i e s . She b e l i e v e s i n these a u t h o r i t i e s l i k e nothing e l s e , and so d e c l a r e s her whole f a m i l y " t r a i t o r s to the P a r t y " as s p i e s and saboteurs (86). E a r l i e r , he has recounted an i n c i d e n t i n which he found her i n a c r i s i s of d e s p a i r , as the f i r s t r e p o r t s of the a l l i e d bombardment of German c i t i e s appear i n the papers^ She breaks down i n complete h y s t e r i a , and must be comforted and put to bed, where she l o s e s a l l c o n t r o l , and amidst her t e a r s says: "We're l o s i n g the w a r — t h i s time too!" The p u z z l e of Maria Rosenbaum cannot be e x p l a i n e d away by a s i g h at the i r r a t i o n a l i t y of humankind. What are we to make of a l l these a b s o l u t e l y c o n t r a d i c t o r y l o y a l t i e s i n one person: a good Communist and a good German a t the same time while both s i d e s have oppressed her and l e f t her l i f e i n r u i n s ? The f a c t i s t h a t she i s not r u l e d by c o n t r a d i c t o r y l o y a l t i e s at a l l . There i s only one p r i n c i p l e at work here, not s e v e r a l : a u t h o r i t y . Thus, there i s only one l o y a l t y . True to h i s c h a r a c t e r , the Servant does not e l u c i d a t e the meaning of t h i s , but Bjjz>rneboe i n h i s essay on the obedient "Guardian-type" ("Formyndermennesket") o u t l i n e d j u s t t h i s p e r s o n a l i t y type: those who are at 81 peace with l i f e o n l y when they are being k i c k e d from above and can k i c k those below. 8 They are the most l o y a l people i n the world. They have "the f a i t h , " as Otto put i t . The Servant confesses the hatred which came over him towards Maria Rosenbaum—for her need to submit, to k n e e l . However—"That means t h a t a t t h a t time I a l r e a d y had a f o r e b o d i n g of my own s i c k n e s s ... the process was underway" (88). 3. The second s e c t i o n , "The Praiano Papers" i s supposed to have been w r i t t e n , we are t o l d , ten years e a r l i e r than the p e r i o d i n which "The C i t i e s " i s w r i t t e n . I t i s now being recorded once a g a i n — e n t e r e d i n t o the p r o t o c o l s by the Servant of J u s t i c e . The c i t y he d e s c r i b e s i s a red c i t y , with s e v e r a l gates, and i t does not appear to have undergone changes s i n c e the Middle Ages.?, He says he knew the town before he ever got t h e r e from h i s dreams as a c h i l d (91). "Remembering forward," i t turns out, i s a t a l e n t which t h i s n a r r a t o r w i l l demonstrate on s e v e r a l o c c a s i o n s . By h i s l o c a t i n g t h i s g e o g r a p h i c a l c i t y i n h i s c h i l d h o o d , he appears to be b r i n g i n g together h i s own c h i l d h o o d and the c h i l d h o o d of modern European c i v i l i z a t i o n a t the same time. That c i v i l i z a t i o n , we should remember, was born out of years of rampaging s i c k n e s s : the plague. As the n a r r a t o r roams the town, he comes across a 82 q u a r a n t i n e d z o n e , m a r k e d by a s i g n w i t h a L a t i n w o r d he d o e s n ' t u n d e r s t a n d " l x o A l t h o u g h s u p p o s e d l y w r i t t e n t e n y e a r s b e f o r e "The C i t i e s , " t h e s e e v e n t s t a k e p l a c e w e l l a f t e r t h e S t o c k h o l m p e r i o d d e s c r i b e d i n t h e f i r s t s e c t i o n . I t i s p a r t o f t h e p e r i o d o f h i s " t r a v e l s i n t h e l a n d o f c h a o s . " I t i s d u r i n g h i s s t a y h e r e i n t h e I t a l i a n t o w n t h a t he b e g i n s t o s h e d t h e o l d s k i n s o f t h e s i c k n e s s w h i c h s o c i e t y has b e q u e a t h e d h i m — w i t h o u t r e a l l y a c k n o w l e d g i n g i t . 1 0 - : I n i t s p l a c e , i n a t o r r e n t , come t h e symptoms o f s o m e t h i n g w h i c h s o c i e t y c a l l s s i c k : The c o n d i t i o n c a n n o t be d e s c r i b e d . I'm i n b l o o d o v e r t h e a n k l e s , I'm awash i n b l o o d . I n f a c t — t h a t ' s t h e w h o l e o f t h e m a t t e r . T h e r e i s b l o o d f l o w i n g f r o m a l l t h e w a l l s , and i t r u n s t o g e t h e r on t h e s t r e e t , i n t h e g u t t e r , o r i t j u s t f l o o d s a l o n g t h e s i d e w a l k . S o metimes i t r e a c h e s t o my k n e e s . I know v e r y w e l l what t h i s i s . The l i g h t i s t u r n e d o f f . I am i n a t o t a l , c o a l b l a c k c e l l a r - d a r k n e s s , i m p r i s o n e d i n t h e c o l o r b l a c k . I t i s a known phenomenon. I know b o t h t h e p o p u l a r a n d t h e t e c h n i c a l t e r m s f o r i t — a man o f my e x p e r i e n c e and my r e a d i n g ! B u t i t d o e s n ' t h e l p much, o t h e r t h a n t o g i v e me t h e p r e c i s e p o s s i b l i t y t o s a y t h a t t h i s i s a s i c k n e s s — I h a v e s i c k n e s s - a w a r e n e s s ; I c a n g i v e i t a name. I t ' s one t h i n g t o l i v e i n a w o r l d w h e r e b l o o d f l o w s f r o m t h e w i n d o w s i l l s , f r o m t h e m o u n t a i n s and f r o m t h e c l o u d s — b u t i t i s a n o t h e r t h i n g t o p u t a l i t t l e L a t i n name t o i t . I n a w o r l d o f p u r e p a i n , w here a l l e x t e r i o r i m p r e s s i o n s a r e l i k e b e i n g t o u c h e d a t a p o i n t on y o u r body where t h e s k i n has b e e n f l a y e d o f f . I t ' s a s t a t e o f c o m p l e t e p i t c h - b l a c k d a r k a n d p a i n — w h e r e y o u a r e h e l d p r i s o n e r u n d e r a dome w h i c h d o e s n ' t a l l o w y o u t o p e r c e i v e a n y o t h e r l i v i n g b e i n g i n t h e w o r l d t h a n y o u r s e l f . T h e r e i s n o t h i n g o u t s i d e o f m e — w h i c h i s H e l l . ( 1 0 1 - 0 2 ) I t i s a d e s c r i p t i o n o f d e p r e s s i o n w h i c h h a s e c h o e s o f t h e a c t i v e a l m o s t v i o l e n t f o r m s o f m e l a n c h o l i a t h a t D a n t e d e p i c t s i n I n f e r n o . 1 1 A l s o , as i f e m e r g i n g f r o m D a n t e ' s own b e s t i a r y , i s t h e f i g u r e o f t h e l e o p a r d w h i c h t h e 83 n a r r a t o r meets i n Praiano (115). I t i s t h i s animal which becomes an emblem f o r t h i s other s i c k n e s s — t h i s s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n i n b l o o d — a n d i t s concomitant a l c o h o l i s m . The n a r r a t o r h i m s e l f d e s c r i b e s i t as s i c k n e s s , but p a r a d o x i c a l l y i m p l i e s t h a t to be aware of i t i s a s i g n of h e a l t h . 1 2 In "The Praiano Papers" the Servant a l s o v i s i t s a more l i v e l y I t a l i a n town, a town much more a p a r t of the mainstream of modern l i f e . I t i s a former f i s h i n g v i l l a g e , white and c l e a n , now e n r i c h e d and c o r r u p t e d by burgeoning t o u r i s m . Yet without imposing judgment, the n a r r a t o r presents a b a s i c a l l y l u s t y populace, a t times with i r o n i c d i s t a n c e and at times with warmth. There i s f o r example the s t o r y of the f a t h e r who t r i e s to get r i c h by a r r a n g i n g to c a t c h a wealthy t o u r i s t i n the a c t of d e f l o w e r i n g h i s daughter ( a f t e r the a c t i s completed, of c o u r s e ) . There i s a l s o the t a l e of l i t t l e G i o v a n n i , a boy who becomes a barber's a s s i s t a n t , and whose m y s t i f y i n g " s i c k n e s s " i s e v e n t u a l l y t r a c e d to the barber. Despite the i r o n y of the d i s c o u r s e i n these t a l e s - - a n d a s t r u c t u r e of open f a r c e i n the f i r s t of the two--the b e t r a y a l of c h i l d r e n i s i n f a c t the theme i n these s t o r i e s of the "white and c l e a n town, where so much i s l i e s " (133). Love and s e n s u a l i t y are not a s s o c i a t e d with opening up experience, but are p a r t of doing b u s i n e s s . A l l t h i s i s juxtaposed with another memory. The n a r r a t o r ' s stay i n the white town culminates i n a three day binge with some d r i n k i n g p a r t n e r s r e s u l t i n g 84 i n a b l a c k - o u t . He comes to consciousness some time l a t e r near the sea i n the presence of a woman i n bl a c k who i s h o l d i n g a c h i l d by the hand. She throws him a customary, sug g e s t i v e l i n e . She then i n i t i a t e s the sudden, f u r i o u s b u r s t of love-making, while the c h i l d i s seated on the one si d e of them, and on the other, unseen at f i r s t , l i e s a p i l e of excrement. A f t e r the v i o l e n t embrace the woman takes money from him, but with i n d i f f e r e n c e . I t i s then t h a t he sees t h a t the p a i r are not i n f a c t poor. The i m p l i c a t i o n i s t h a t the money was only a p r e t e x t , and t h a t she was more i n t e r e s t e d " i n the a c t than the money" (138). C o n s i s t e n t with the technique employed elsewhere i n the no v e l , the n a r r a t o r j o i n s the readers i n p u z z l i n g over the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s , and the presence of the c h i l d — o r a t l e a s t he appears t o . In the t r i l o g y , Bj^rneboe i s much more wont to leave the readers with i n e x p l i c a b l e c o n t r a d i c t i o n s — k n o t s of l o g i c - - t h a n he was i n e a r l i e r works. And here i t i s the st r o n g image t h a t counts. The ac t of love which takes p l a c e i n between the c h i l d and the excrement i s v i r t u a l l y p o r t r a y e d as a s t i l l . I t i s a v i s u a l moment, as so much of the t r i l o g y i s v i s u a l i n the c o n t r a s t i n g s t y l e s of Bosch, Breughel, Cezanne and C a l l o t : the l a t t e r two i n f l u e n c e s are acknowledged. The f a c t t h a t the n a r r a t o r t u r n s round to see the same woman and c h i l d , " gracious and d i s t i n g u i s h e d , " approach another man i n the same manner, serves to throw the reader even f u r t h e r o f f the t r a c k of the immediate, r a t i o n a l meaning t h a t he might 85 be l o o k i n g f o r i n t h e i m age and t h e a c t . The image w h i c h r e c u r s most i n t h e f i r s t book o f t h e t r i l o g y i s t h e d o u b l e . The n a r r a t o r d i s c o v e r s h i s own d o u b l e i n many f o r m s . The most r e a l i s t i c a l l y m o t i v a t e d e x a m p l e i s when he e x a m i n e s h i s own n a k e d body i n a m i r r o r ("I h a v e n e v e r f e l t f a m i l i a r w i t h t h i s man i n t h e m i r r o r " ) . He s e e s h i s own f l e s h a s s o m e t h i n g w h i c h w i l l b e t r a y h i m : I t h a s d e s i r e s , i t i s n o t h o l y , i t w i l l g i v e i n t o p a i n . "The man i n t h e m i r r o r h a s a l w a y s t u r n e d a g a i n s t me, and i s t o me c o m p l e t e l y unknown a n d s t r a n g e . . . . He h a s no f r e e d o m " ( 5 6 - 5 7 ) . I n "The P r a i a n o P a p e r s " t h e d o u b l e e s t a b l i s h e s h i m s e l f a s more t h a n a r e f l e c t i o n : as a s e p a r a t e e n t i t y . "Once a g a i n I'm a l o n e w i t h a s t r a n g e man" ( 1 0 2 ) . He a s s e r t s t h a t he h a s l i v e d f o r d e c a d e s i n t h e same room w i t h h i m , he h a s become a c r o s s . t o b e a r . He i s s i l e n t , a n s w e r s no q u e s t i o n s , b u t c a n summon up a s u p e r f i c i a l r a p p o r t w i t h o t h e r s e a s i l y . He w a t c h e s t h i s man " s h a v e and wash e v e r y m o r n i n g . " He t r a v e l s E u r o p e w i t h h i m , s l e e p s i n h i s c a r , e a t s i n t h e b e s t h o t e l s and u s e s t h e washrooms t o b a t h e . " I s e e f r o m h i s h e e l s he u s e s a s i z e 43 s h o e . The same as me" ( 1 0 3 ) . He d o e s n o t t h i n k , b u t he i s f i l l e d w i t h i m a g e s o f m e m o r i e s f r o m a l l o v e r t h e w o r l d : And I am b e s i d e h i m a n d w i l l g e t t o know h i m . B u t what do I h a v e t o do w i t h him? A f u l l - g r o w n s t r a n g e r who I know n o t h i n g a b o u t . I h a v e , a c t u a l l y , my own, t o t a l l y n e g a t i v e t h e o r y a b o u t h i m : I t i s v e r y p o s s i b l e t h a t he i s a f i n i s h e d man; empty, d u l l a nd i d i o t i c . He i s most l i k e l y a c r e t i n , a c o m p l e t e l y s t u p e f i e d c r e t i n , a l m o s t w i t h o u t 86 e x p r e s s i o n . He i s s t r a n g e s t of a l l when he goes about doing l i t t l e t h i n g s — t a k e s the blanke t o f f h i s bed, spreads i t out p r o p e r l y so t h a t i t l i e s t a u t , or arranges h i s c l o t h i n g i n some way. (104) In an episode a t the zoo the narrator.spends a le n g t h of time observing a chimpanzee. Although he f e e l s a k i n s h i p with the ten year o l d animal, as he and the wr i n k l e d beast look each other over, he i s astounded he says a t i t s age, a t a l l the time c o l l e c t e d i n the c r e a t u r e . " I t i s c l e a r t h a t i t was the t e r r i b l e age of the s p e c i e s , of the ape f a m i l y , t h a t I saw, not the i n d i v i d u a l s ' " (110). The ape i n t h i s episode/image p r o v i d e s a double, which u n l i k e the decaying r e f l e c t i o n i n the m i r r o r , t r a v e r s e s time. "Beside him, the pyramids are i n s i g n i f i c a n t " (111). I f the double as a g e n e r a l phenomenon i n l i t e r a t u r e can be seen to r e p r e s e n t an e x t e r n a l i z e d s e l f , perhaps a p a r t disapproved of or unknown to o n e s e l f — t h e ape i s a double who h i n t s at the e x i s t e n c e of a s e l f t h a t i s not l i m i t e d to one decaying body of f l e s h , but of a l a r g e r body which reproduces i t s e l f through time. But again, .Bj0rneboe b u i l d s h i s image without i n t e r p r e t i n g i t . And once again he r e s o l v e s i t on a c o n t r a d i c t i o n , so to speak; He undermines the solemnity of the o b s e r v a t i o n s by d e s c r i b i n g the c o n t o r t i o n s the chimp makes with h i s f a c e , and h i s masturbatory gesture which r e v e a l s an aspect of him which i s q u i t e young, i n f a c t (112). Depression too becomes p e r s o n i f i e d i n the form of a 87 p r e s e n c e t h a t i s n o t h i n g o t h e r t h a n a d o u b l e . I t i s n o t e x p e r i e n c e d a s s o m e t h i n g t h a t comes f r o m w i t h i n . I t m e e t s h i m f r o m o u t s i d e . I t r e s e m b l e s a b e a s t o f p r e y , h a s b e e n n o t e d a b o v e , " J u s t a t t h e v e r g e o f t a k i n g f o r m i n f l e s h a nd b l o o d . " I t a l s o r e s e m b l e s a man: " I c o u l d a l m o s t c a l l i t ' h i m . 1 He s i t s t h e r e , when I wake up , and I know I'm n o t a l o n e . T h e r e i s a n o t h e r l i v i n g b e i n g i n t h e room" (134). The f u t u r e , t o o , i s e x p e r i e n c e d i n t h e s h a p e o f a d o u b l e . I n a n o t h e r e x a m p l e o f " r e m e m b e r i n g f o r w a r d " he s e e s h i m s e l f o l d , b e n t , w h i t e h a i r e d , s t a r i n g o v e r t h e p a s t u r e s : " I h a v e met m y s e l f t h i s way s e v e r a l t i m e s ; e a c h t i m e I remember f o r w a r d , I meet t h e o l d man" (144). D e a t h t o o , w i l l l a t e r a p p e a r a s a d o u b l e . ' What i s t h e m e a n i n g o f a l l o f t h i s d o u b l i n g ? I t c e r t a i n l y e x i s t s e l s e w h e r e , i n t h e S c r i p t u r e s a n d many myths a n d t a l e s o f p o s s e s s i o n . The d o u b l e h a s l o n g b e e n a d e v i c e f o r a r t and t e a c h i n g i n r e l i g i o u s m y s t i c i s m . To b e g i n w i t h , a d o u b l e a l w a y s makes t h e m e t a p h y s i c a l c o n c r e t e so t h a t i t c a n be g r a p p l e d w i t h — a s w i t h J a c o b ' s m e e t i n g w i t h t h e "man" o r " a n g e l " i n t h e d e s e r t . D o s t o e v s k y ' s u s e o f t h e d o u b l e i n h i s n o v e l o f t h e same' name shows a k i n d o f s o c i a l s e l f w h i c h emerges one d a y t o b e g i n d o i n g combat w i t h an e g o - b o u n d s e l f t h a t , w i t h i t s m o r i b u n d c h i l d i s h p r o c l i v i t i e s i s , doomed t o l o s e . 1 3 A t e l l i n g r e f r a i n i n B j j t f r n e b o e ' s w o r k s i s "man's m e e t i n g w i t h h i m s e l f , " w h i c h i n t h e s e q u e n c e s d i s c u s s e d h e r e c a n be m i s t a k e n f o r c o n f u s i o n a b o u t o n e ' s i d e n t i t y : B u t t h a t , i t c a n f a i r l y be s a i d , i s 88 what the doubles are about. Above a l l , the presence of a double i m p l i e s d i s t a n c e from something p a i n f u l or d e s t r u c t i v e . I t i s a necessary d i s t a n c e — f o r v i s i o n and f o r s u r v i v a l . Bj,0rneboe adopts the p o s i t i o n t h a t Western c u l t u r e as we know i t was born i n Tuscany, of a people who were famed and f e a r e d f o r t h e i r l a u g h t e r — e v e n l a u g h t e r at c r u e l t y (116). Such people l e a r n to look a t the world c o o l l y enough to l e a r n from i t . A r e t i n o went so f a r as to laugh h i m s e l f to death when he found h i s s i s t e r i n a b o r d e l l o . "Laughter means d i s t a n c e " w r i t e s Bj^frneboe, a remark which c o u l d come s t r a i g h t out of Bergson's essay on l a u g h t e r . But the f l i p s i d e of the p r o p o s i t i o n here i s : "where lau g h t e r i s l a c k i n g , i n s a n i t y begins." In t h i s sense the double, as a form of experience, i s seen as a p o s i t i v e f o r c e . I t i m p l i e s consciousness. The f a c t i s , when l a u g h t e r d i s a p p e a r s , so does the double. The n a r r a t o r has noted "as soon as l a u g h t e r stops, t h a t the d i s t a n c e i s gone"—and he can mark the p r e c i s e second--"I become u n w i t t i n g l y i d e n t i c a l with myself, a c o n d i t i o n t h a t i s t o t a l l y u n - f r e e " (117). The double i s to man's encounter with h i m s e l f as l a u g h t e r i s to h i s encounter with the world. The hypothesis which seems to emerge from t h i s , v i s - a - v i s t h i s c o n f r o n t a t i o n with s e l f , might run as f o l l o w s : I f the double=distance, and distance=freedom, then the double=freedom. There i s a f u r t h e r t w i s t to come i n t h i s l o g i c . I f people s u f f e r only w i t h i n themselves, s i c k n e s s w i l l s e t 89 i n . B u t c o r n - p a s s i o n i s t o " s u f f e r w i t h . " The N o r w e g i a n w o r d " m e d - l i d e n h e t " b r e a k s down t h e same way a s t h e E n g l i s h t e r m , b u t a s i t i s n o t a L a t i n c o g n a t e b u t i s c o n s t r u c t e d o f t h e two N o r w e g i a n s i g n i f y i n g u n i t s , " w i t h - s u f f e r i n g , " i n modern N o r w e g i a n t h e m e a n i n g i s — o n e m i g h t s a y — c l o s e r t o t h e s u r f a c e t h a n t h e E n g l i s h t e r m . Any c o m p a s s i o n t h a t d o e s n o t b e g i n w i t h o u r s e l v e s i s p r o b a b l y a p o s e . T h u s , t h e d o u b l e i s n o t a phenomenon w h i c h i n d i c a t e s a c o n f u s i o n o f i d e n t i t y . I t i s i n d i v i d u a t i o n , s e l f - a w a r e n e s s w h i c h a l l o w s c o m p a s s i o n t o emerge. The f a c t t h a t t h e p r o c e s s b e g i n s w i t h t h e i n d i v i d u a l has l i t t l e t o do w i t h t h e c o n n o t a t i o n s o f t h e w o r d " i n d i v i d u a l i s m " w h i c h a r e p r e v a l e n t t o d a y . I t i s c l o s e r t o t h e o p p o s i t e . The i r o n i c t w i s t i n t h e u s e o f d o u b l e s i n Moment o f F r e e d o m i s t h a t d i s t a n c e f r o m t h e s e l f , t h e c r e a t i o n o f two s e l v e s , c r e a t e s an o p e n i n g f o r c o m p a s s i o n . 4. The most r e v e a l i n g u s e o f a d o u b l e o c c u r s i n t h e t h i r d s e c t i o n o f t h e b o o k , "Lemuria," , w h i c h b r i n g s t h e r e a d e r b a c k t o t h e n a r r a t o r ' s p r e s e n t . The f e a r o f a c o m i n g " t r i a l " o r f i n a l a c c o u n t i n g b e g i n s t o p l a g u e t h e S e r v a n t o f J u s t i c e . I t comes i n t h e f o r m o f a p a r a d o x i c a l dream a b o u t l i b e r a t i o n ( 1 5 5 - 5 7 ) . He i s i n t h e g a l l e r y o f a p r i s o n a nd i s w i t n e s s t o a t e r r i b l e r e v o l t . The p r i s o n g u a r d s a r e " w h i t e w i t h f e a r " 90 a s t h o u s a n d s o f i m p r i s o n e d v o i c e s s c r e a m i n u n i s o n "one e n d l e s s , p o w e r f u l , s u r g i n g h o w l o f h a t r e d and r e v e n g e " (156). The p r i s o n e r s b r e a k l o o s e a n d go h o w l i n g t h r o u g h o u t t h e immense p r i s o n " d r e s s e d i n r a g s o r mad c a r n i v a l c o s t u m e s . " As t h e r e v o l t g a t h e r s f o r c e t h e s c r e a m i n g and h o w l i n g b e g i n s t o t a k e on t h e f o r m o f a s o n g , and t h e a c t i v i t y t o r e s e m b l e a d a n c e . "A h o a r s e a n d t e r r i f y i n g r o a r o f a t h o u s a n d t h r o a t s , a l o n g 1awh ... awh ... awh ...'": From t h e r o o f w e re hung r o p e s w i t h g r e a t , s h a r p f i s h h o o k s i n them, a n d one by one t h e g u a r d s and f u n c t i o n a r i e s w e re l i f t e d i n t h e a i r w i t h t h e h o o k s i n t h e i r m o u t h s . A p a i r o f f e e t swung p a s t me, n a k e d , a n d b l e e d i n g f r o m t h e h e e l s ... The s o n g had a f e w w o r d s w h i c h w ere r e p e a t e d c o n t i n u o u s l y t h r o u g h t h e g r o a n i n g , r y t h m i c r o a r : " . . . C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s — t h i s b e a u t i f u l d a y . . . ! " (157) The e x p l o s i v e n e s s o f t h e e v e n t o n l y p r o c e e d s t o grow i n p o t e n t i a l u n t i l t h e p r i s o n e r s smash t h r o u g h t h e w a l l s . F i l l e d w i t h a n x i e t y , t h e n a r r a t o r / d r e a m e r i s c a r r i e d w i t h t h e f l o o d o f h u m a n i t y o u t i n t o t h e s t r e e t s , and t h e l o o k on t h e f a c e s o f t h e mob f o r e t e l l s t h a t t h e t h i n g w h i c h w i l l h a p p e n " w o u l d be w o r s e t h a n a n y o n e had b e l i e v e d . " The p r i s o n e r s s t r e a m a b o u t h i m i n " f r e e d o m " a n d t h e d r e a m e r ' s o n l y t h o u g h t i s t o g e t away. Then comes a c h a n g e i n t o n e . He s e e s a l i t t l e b o y who h a s b e e n f o r g o t t e n , c r y i n g w h i l e " t h e r e was no one who was l o o k i n g a f t e r h i m o r t h i n k i n g o f h i m " : 91 With an i n t e n s e e f f o r t I overcame my f e a r of death, and stopped beside him. I took him by the hand and walked with him. He stopped c r y i n g . I knew a t once t h a t he was c a l l e d Iwan, and the c i t y around us was b e a u t i f u l , i t had broad s t r e e t s and red b r i c k b u i l d i n g s behind a park, w i l d v i n e s and high p o p l a r s with dark, l u s h f o l i a g e . The a i r was c l e a r and autumnal, the sky r e v e a l e d t h a t i t was af t e r n o o n with a l i g h t r e d d i s h glow i n the a i r . The p r i s o n e r s s t i l l r an dancing and r o a r i n g through the s t r e e t s , past us and f u r t h e r on. I walked calmly h o l d i n g Iwan by the hand. He looked up a t me and smiled, and the f e a r i n my heart was gone. Instead I f e l t serene and secure. (158) T h i s dream, once agai n , d i s p l a y s a h i g h l y ambivalent a t t i t u d e toward freedom. Freedom f o r an i n d i v i d u a l i s f r i g h t e n i n g . F r e e d o m — l i b e r a t i o n — f o r a s o c i e t y of oppressed human beings i s e q u a l l y f r i g h t e n i n g , i f f o r other reasons. The mixed joy and h o r r o r of "the b e a u t i f u l day" i n the dream i s i n f a c t h e a v i l y weighted toward the h o r r o r — t h e t e r r i b l e f e a r of the observer, who c o u l d be seen as being c o m p l i c i t with the j a i l e r s and judged g u i l t y . The dream.is a fo r e b o d i n g of a f i n a l a ccounting, a f i n a l j u s t i c e , t h a t i t s e l f t h r e a t e n s to be a p p l i e d without j u s t i c e . The d e c i s i o n to take care of the c h i l d r e s o l v e s t h i s f e a r of "the gre a t t r a n s f o r m a t i o n . " I f no one t h i n k s of the c h i l d , freedom, t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , l i b e r a t i o n has no meaning: i t i s an absurd l e t t i n g - o f f of steam by the o p p r e s s e d . 1 4 Once the c h i l d i s not by-passed, once h i s hand has been c l a s p e d , both p s y c h i c and s o c i a l chaos can be overcome. T h i s image of the d u o — t h e o l d e r man and the young boy h o l d i n g h a n d s - - w i l l prove to be an emblem f o r compassion ( "medlidenhet" ) i n B j/zfrneboe 1 s oeuvre: i t i s found i n the form of the s a i l o r and the young stowaway i n 92 Jonas, and i t w i l l appear again i n the forms of f i r s t mate Jensen and young Pat i n the f i n a l n o v e l , The Sharks. Once ag a i n , i n the dream sequence, we are c o n f r o n t e d with a . double. The dreamer knows, without being t o l d , t h a t the c h i l d ' s name i s Iwan—the Norwegian f o r which i s Jens. The Russian name conjures up the memory of the f i n a l episodes of Duke Hans when, near to death i n the palace of Iwan the T e r r i b l e , the young Duke asks q u i t e a r b i t r a r i l y f o r one young monk out of a group to be spared the t o r t u r e of the wheel: f o r the monk i s a f i g u r e i n which he sees h i m s e l f . In the dream i n Moment of Freedom, he r e f e r s to l i t t l e Iwan as h i s "own, unknown s e l f " ("eget, ukjente j e g " [158]). Once again, the emergence of the double makes i t p o s s i b l e f o r compassion to come to l i f e . The p r e c i s e nature of t h i s unknown s e l f Bjo'rneboe w i l l r e f r a i n from d e f i n i n g , u n t i l the l a s t volume of the t r i l o g y . But the poem by R i l k e which he uses as an epigraph to "Lemuria" p r o v i d e s a c l u e . "Buddha i n der G l o r i e " begins with "Mitte a l l e r M i t t e n , Kern der Kerne," and ends with, "Doch i n d i r i s t schon begonnen / was d i e Sonnen u b e r s t e h t " (143). The H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y can be read as a k i n d of meta-Bildungsroman, i n the s t y l e of N o v a l i s , 1 5 ^ i n which a t i n y seed or nucleus grows not only i n t o a s o u l or a s e l f , but grows towards what Mahayana Buddhism r e f e r s to as "the Great S e l f . " The act of t a k i n g the c h i l d by the hand seems d i s o b e d i e n t to the laws of n e c e s s i t y or s u r v i v a l . That i s the very p o i n t : "Only i n the courage born of d e s p e r a t i o n can you grasp a 93 handful of freedom." Freedom i s not something one i s gi v e n , but something which one must take "without a s k i n g anyone i f the t h i n g you are doing i s moral or harmful or good." As a witness t o the t r u t h of t h i s a s s e r t i o n , language i t s e l f i s c a l l e d upon by Bj^rneboe to t e s t i f y : In a l l languages people say "I take the l i b e r t y . . . . " For example: I hereby take the l i b e r t y of s t a t i n g my c r i t i q u e of a l l e s t a b l i s h e d customs, p r a c t i c e , methods, and above a l l the dogma and ph i l o s o p h y which are t h e i r f o u n d a t i o n . (179) The echoes of N i e t z s c h e ' s t r a n s v a l u a t i o n of values are r i n g i n g here, and a human being who i s undertaking a r e e v a l u a t i o n of a l l norms and v a l u e s , who must g i v e a new name to e v e r y t h i n g i f need be, stands before an abyss. Nietz s c h e d e s c r i b e d j u s t such an abyss i n The B i r t h of  Trag e d y , 1 6 and S a r t r e d e p i c t e d i t anew i n Nausea.11 S t r i n d b e r g i n the second volume of Son of a Servant a l s o d e s c r i b e d h i s sudden d i s c o v e r y of something v a s t and beyond the powers of language to i d e n t i f y when he found h i m s e l f on the h e i g h t s over the Stockholm a r c h i p e l a g o , a very l i t e r a l abyss. 1 8 Peter Weiss's n a r r a t o r i n h i s t r i l o g y The  E s t h e t i c s of R e s i s t a n c e has an experience of " f l y i n g " over h i s c i t y , and l o o k i n g down i n wonder on a world of o b j e c t s which are suddenly without names (Wallenstrom, 1: 103). Bj^rneboe t u r n s once again to a dream i n order t o run t h i s p s y c h i c s t a t e i n t o an image of a "nausea" which takes the s p e c i a l form of v e r t i g o . The image i s t h a t of a man a t the 94 abyss. The n a r r a t o r i s c l i m b i n g a rocky s l o p e . I t grows s t e e p e r , the landscape vanishes i n the f o g . Without "any f e e l i n g of having the heavens (himmelen) above" him, he continu e s f o r what seems to be days (183-84). He comes f i n a l l y to a w a l l which prevents passage t o the other s i d e . He l i e s i n a narrow cave, wedged i n the rocks of the mountain, when the w a l l moves to one s i d e , and he stands before a " b l i n d i n g , f l a m i n g sunshine f u l l of every c o l o r " (184). Creeping forward he sees a f e r t i l e v a l l e y and beyond i t the sea: I stood f a r out at the edge of the abyss, while the d i z z i n e s s and f e a r grew i n my body. I t was thousands of meters down to land , and I leaned out from the mountain ledge. T h i s e n t i r e s i d e of the mountain was as v e r t i c a l as a w a l l , but i n any case with cracks and f o o t h o l d s to climb on. A f t e r going a few meters along the rock w a l l the f e a r had m u l t i p l i e d to a p o i n t f a r g r e a t e r than what i t had been i n the darkness and the cave. To t u r n back was not p o s s i b l e . The only t h i n g l e f t , was to hang over the abyss u n t i l I tumbled down i n t o a l l of the wonderful splendour below me, or to manage the climb down. (185) U n l i k e the v e r t i g o - l i k e experiences of h i s e x i s t e n t i a l i s t p r edecessors, Bj^rneboe's experience takes p l a c e at an abyss t h a t i s q u i t e s p e c i f i c . I t i s f i x e d g e o g r a p h i c a l l y . The sea below i s the Mediterranean. The climb downward and probably southward to " A n t i q u i t y ' s Mediterranean" w i l l c o n s t i t u t e the course the n a r r a t o r takes i n h i s p i l g r i m a g e through the t r i l o g y , u n t i l he reaches the f i n a l words: "And so the t r a v e l s end, Columbus." 95 5 . The p o i n t where the process of change has taken r o o t i n the n a r r a t o r i s i s o l a t e d i n the f i n a l s e c t i o n "Lemuria." That i s , the Servant records i t i n t h i s f i n a l s e c t i o n , but i n c h r o n o l o g i c a l time i t appears to have taken p l a c e d u r i n g the "Praiano" p e r i o d d e s c r i b e d e a r l i e r . I t i s i n the catacombs of Rome t h a t the "Kern der Kerne" begins to germinate. I t i s the experience of the c a t a c o m b s — t o which he had been r e l e n t l e s s l y drawn—which r e p r e s e n t s the a c t u a l beginning of h i s doubts, which have now grown so str o n g t h a t he can no longer remember h i s own name. I t i s the experience most c l o s e l y resembling the nausea d e s c r i b e d by Nie t z s c h e and S a r t r e — i n which words, names, i n s h o r t , meaning, drop away.. The f i n a l , ambiguous moment of i l l u m i n a t i o n i n the catacombs i s a moment of death-awareness ( "djridsbevissthet" ), the awareness which must come before the moment of freedom. Here the Nordic author, Bj^rneboe, d i s c o v e r s the s e c r e t of the l a b y r i n t h about the same time as many of h i s L a t i n contemporaries. The " l a b y r i n t h of s o l i t u d e " leads to the "here t h a t i s a l l p l a c e s and the now t h a t i s a l l times." I t i s an experience of d e a t h . 1 9 Or, one might say, i t i s an experience of mythic time, s a c r e d time. In the catacombs sequence, as the n a r r a t o r f o l l o w s along with a c u s t o d i a n through the mi l e s of endless tunnels 96 u n d e r R o m e — w h e r e one c a n e a s i l y d i s a p p e a r w i t h o u t a t r a c e w i t h o u t s u c h a g u i d e — t h e p r o c e s s b e g i n s . The s e n s a t i o n i s t h a t o f b e i n g i n a d ream. Images b e g i n t o g l i d e a b o u t h i m , and he s t a r t s t o h e a r t h e c u s t o d i a n ' s v o i c e s p e a k i n g German an d E n g l i s h a t t h e same t i m e . I t i s "a p e r f e c t , c o m p l e t e l y s i m u l t a n e o u s t r a n s l a t i o n . " ' The i m a g e s o f tombs and a l t a r s a n d t h e p e o p l e a b o u t h i m t r a n s m u t e i n t o a p r i m e v a l s c e n e o f s o n g , d a n c e , j o y f u l v o i c e s s i n g i n g t o t h e a c c o m p a n i m e n t o f f l u t e s i n an unknown l a n g u a g e . A g a i n t h e i m a g e s c h a n g e c h a r a c t e r , and t h e f i g u r e s become a c q u a i n t a n c e s o f h i s , s p e a k i n g i n t h e v a r i o u s t o n g u e s o f E u r o p e . He e merges f r o m t h e c a t a c o m b s s t i l l l o s t i n t h e i m a g e s , and t h e "humming" w h i c h he f e l t i n s i d e l i n g e r s . He d o e s n o t r e c o g n i z e t h e woman he ha s b e e n t r a v e l i n g w i t h . He a s k s who she i s . T hen he a s k s who he i s . B u t t h e names she u t t e r s b a c k t o h i m mean n o t h i n g t o h i m . I n f a c t t h e name she a t t r i b u t e s t o h e r s e l f makes h i m l a u g h " b e c a u s e I t h o u g h t i t was a w r o n g name." He a d d s , " I knew n o t h i n g . N o t w here I ' d come f r o m . N o t who I was" ( 1 9 6 ) . L i k e S a r t r e ' s R o u q u e n t i n , a m a s s i v e d i s o r i e n t a t i o n d e s c e n d s upon h i m when a l l names, l a b e l s a n d s i g n s a r e r e m o v e d f r o m t h i n g s - i n - t h e - w o r l d . 2 0 And i t i s i n t h i s f e r m e n t o f e s s e n c e s w i t h o u t l a b e l s t h a t g r o w t h c a n b e g i n . 6. . W h i l e t h e c e n t r a l m e t a p h o r o f a d i s e a s e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h 97 decay runs through Moment of Freedom, the moment of t r u t h i n the catacombs i s an awakening, a moment when the "Kern der Kerne" can begin i t s growth. I t i s the germination of a cure. The remainder of the volume i s w r i t t e n from the " c o o l e r view of the world" i n H e i l i g e n b e r g . In f a c t , many of the f i n a l passages i n the book switch i n t o a b l a c k comic mode, which c o n t r a s t s s h a r p l y with the sequences above. The n a r r a t i v e cuts a b r u p t l y to a memory of Germany i n j u b i l a t i o n a f t e r the d e c l a r a t i o n of w a r — t r a m p i n g boots, howling p a r t y - g o e r s , l a u g h t e r and good f e l l o w s h i p — d u r i n g a v i s i t to a Nazi-operated b o r d e l l o . S h o r t l y t h e r e a f t e r comes the i r o n i c " t r u e " p a r a b l e of the Nazi p r i s o n guard Schweinhund, which prov i d e s a prime example of the b l a c k humor t h a t i s woven through the t e x t . Schweinhund r e t u r n s to Germany at the war 1s end a f t e r having served i n the occupation of the n a r r a t o r ' s home country as a p r i s o n guard: because he only k i c k e d h i s p r i s o n e r s to d i s p l a y h i s p e c u l i a r sense of humor without doing anything worse to them, a f t e r the war they respond to h i s l e t t e r s a p p e a l i n g f o r a s s i s t a n c e to r e b u i l d h i s l i f e on the r u i n s of Germany. He uses the a s s i s t a n c e to s t a r t a v a s t business empire (204-09). These f i n a l sequences s t r i k e a s t a r k c o n t r a s t f o r reasons t h a t are more than s t y l i s t i c . They p o r t r a y s i t u a t i o n s i n which a complete l a c k of death-awareness r e i g n s , w h i l e death i s hanging over everyone l i k e a l e a d pendulum. The Servant of J u s t i c e recounts now how he began 98 to keep h i s p r o t o c o l s . He t e l l s of how the f i r s t comprehensive documentation of Nazi medical experiments f e l l i n t o h i s hands a f t e r the outbreak of peace. The t r a n s c r i p t s of t r i a l s a g a i n s t the former regime's d o c t o r s were given to him by a Doctor I g n a t i u s Feuermann, and afterwards he i n v e s t i g a t e d the " f a m i l i a r " background of the crimes. " A l l of t h i s , " he w r i t e s , " i s recorded i n the i n t r o d u c t o r y chapters of the f i r s t p r o t o c o l " (209). T h i s i s , once again, a ma n i p u l a t i o n of a u t h o r i a l presence i n the t e x t . That Bj^Srneboe h i m s e l f was gi v e n the documents as he d e s c r i b e s i t , and t h a t i t gave r i s e to h i s f i r s t n o v e l , Before the Cock Crows (F0r hanen g a l e r ) , i s a p o i n t of ab s o l u t e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between the author and the n a r r a t o r or i n t e r n a l author of the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y . I t a l s o suggests t h a t the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y i n c l u d e s a l l t en novels Bj^rneboe had w r i t t e n up to t h i s p o i n t . The n a r r a t o r r e p o r t s t h a t as a r e s u l t of the s u b j e c t s he recorded i n h i s f i r s t l e d g e r s , a darkness of a new s o r t began to c a s t i t s e l f over h i s l i f e (209). One of the s e v e r a l i s o l a t e d memories i n the f i n a l pages of the book i s t h a t of being k i c k e d s e n s e l e s s on an empty s t r e e t , b l e e d i n g , h i s head near a mound of dog excrement, by a man i n a uniform (219). T h i s bracketed or detached memory, of a gesture which sums up a t r u t h of our times, serves to take the d i s c o u r s e f u r t h e r away once again from the biography of Jens Bj^rneboe, and back to the a l l e g o r i c a l p e r s o n a — t h e Servant of J u s t i c e . 99 F i n a l l y , i n the A l p i n e c i t y , t here i s another Foehn wind, and s e v e r a l more good c i t i z e n s are converted i n t o i m p u l s i v e k i l l e r s . D r i n k i n g with h i s companions, the Sexton and the B e l l - r i n g e r , the Servant remarks t h a t the worst months of the Foehn wind are y e t to come. The Servant f i n i s h e s by announcing the completion of the l a s t volume of h i s p r o t o c o l s . The f a c t t h a t i t i s not c o m p l e t e d — t h e r e i s f u r t h e r r e c o r d i n g to be done i n the next two books of the t r i l o g y — s h o u l d t e s t i f y to what depths and lengths the moment of t r u t h must grow, before i t may bloom i n t o the moment of freedom. I t a l s o b r i n g s the dilemma of the keeper of the p r o t o c o l s cheek by jowel with the dilemma of the author h i m s e l f . I t i s , i n p a r t , t h i s ebb and flow of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between the author Bj^rneboe and the n a r r a t o r of the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y which has given r i s e to the myth of Bj^rneboe i n h i s own country. i 7. The Powder House ( K r u t t a r n e t , 1969) , s u b t i t l e d "La po u d r i e r e " i s the second volume i n Bj^rneboe's t r i l o g y . I t i s a l s o d e s c r i b e d on the t i t l e page as: " S c i e n t i f i c p o s t s c r i p t and f i n a l p r o t o c o l . " T h i s d e s c r i p t i o n , which appears t o be intended i n ear n e s t , might p r o v i d e an e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the lukewarm c r i t i c a l response the book i n i t i a l l y r e c e i v e d . The t h i r d volume i n the c y c l e , 100 although i t would r e c e i v e a f a r more e n t h u s i a s t i c response than t h i s volume, a l s o i n i t i a l l y r e c e i v e d l e s s open p r a i s e than the Moment of Freedom.21 T h i s may be due to the f a c t t h a t the l a t e r books s t r a y e d much f u r t h e r from the popular and academic e x p e c t a t i o n s of what a modern novel should be than d i d the experiment with Moment of Freedom. I t i s i n f a c t the case, however, t h a t the The Powder House does not seem to stand up on i t s own as a n o v e l . I t i s borne up by what comes before i t and what comes a f t e r i t , and was met with some incomprehension a t the time. The f a c t of the matter i s t h a t even Moment of Freedom i t s e l f does not stand a l o n e . The p i l g r i m i s s t i l l f a r from h i s f i n a l d e s t i n a t i o n . In The Powder House Bj^rneboe i s extending and deepening the use of c e r t a i n techniques which he began i n the e a r l i e r n o v e l . The n a r r a t o r does not r e f e r t o h i m s e l f as the "Servant of J u s t i c e " any l o n g e r . He i s now c a r e t a k e r of a unique mental h o s p i t a l i n the south of France, where he i s r e f e r r e d to most o f t e n as "Jean." He p o i n t s out t h a t the i n t e r n a t i o n a l assemblage of p a t i e n t s and s t a f f at the h o s p i t a l a l l c a l l him by the name f a m i l i a r i n t h e i r own tongues: Jean, Iwan, Giovanni and Jochanaan (KT 119). He i s s t i l l keeping h i s p r o t o c o l s , while pursuing h i s o f f i c i a l v o c a t i o n as h o s p i t a l handyman. He i s i n f a c t "combined Caretaker and Superior at the i n s t i t u t i o n " (19).?? Thus, he has a grasp of e v e r y t h i n g t h a t i s going on a t La P o u d r i e r e — i n the world of nature and i n the i n t e r p e r s o n a l 101 world of the l i t t l e c l o s e d s o c i e t y t h e r e . The c a s t of c h a r a c t e r s i n c l u d e s : the c h i e f p h y s i c i a n Dr L e f e v r e , Jean's c o n f i d a n t and d r i n k i n g mate, who i n moments of d e s p a i r has the h a b i t of demanding a s t o r y from the n a r r a t o r ; a l Assadun, L e f e v r e ' s A l g e r i a n a s s i s t a n t ; I I j a , a Russian a n a r c h i s t nurse; C h r i s t i n e , a French nurse, who becomes a l o v e r to the n a r r a t o r ; Fontaine, a B e l g i a n sex murderer; L a c r o i x , a s u i c i d a l e x e c u t i o n e r ; Dr Barthory, a Hungarian of wealthy l i n e a g e who served with the German SS and l a t e r with both the French F o r e i g n Legion and US Army i n A l g e r i a and Indochina as paratrooper and " i n t e r r o g a t o r " ; an American g e n e r a l who s u f f e r s from remorse over the scandal brought on by h i s murder of a b l a c k maid when he r e t u r n e d from Vietnam; and the wife of the Russian Ambassador who t o l e r a t e s no c r i t i c i s m of her country and howls l i k e a wolf; and f i n a l l y the " e x t r a s , " the p a t i e n t s and s t a f f . As i s the case i n so many other works of l i t e r a t u r e i n which a madhouse i s presented as a microcosm of the world, a l l the t e n s i o n s of the o u t s i d e world manifest themselves here. The d i f f e r e n c e i s t h a t i n t h i s case the t e n s i o n s and c o n f l i c t s are o f t e n g e o - p o l i t i c a l : superpower versus superpower, developed world versus underdeveloped, c o l o n i z e r versus c o l o n i z e d , north versus south, the powerful versus the powerless. The c e n t r a l metaphor of the madhouse i s j u s t i f i e d , by the n a r r a t o r ' s a s s e r t i o n t h a t though we l i v e i n a world b e a u t i f u l beyond a l l i m a g i n a t i o n , "we have turned t h i s p a r a d i s e to a slaughterhouse, a morgue 102 and a c r i m i n a l asylum" (39). Here Bje'rneboe has l a t c h e d onto a key metaphor a l s o employed by h i s contemporaries Peter Weiss, i n Marat/Sade, and Durrenmatt i n The P h y s i c i s t s — a n d l o o k i n g back 100 y e a r s , Ibsen, i n the scene a t B e g r i f f e n f e l d t ' s c l i n i c i n Peer Gynt. The p l o t of the book, which allows i t to maintain the vaguest claims to k i n s h i p with more t r a d i t i o n a l types of nov e l s , resembles s l i g h t l y t h a t of a t h i r d - w o r l d t h r i l l e r i n the s t y l e of Graham Greene. And although the p l o t s u p p l i e s the threads which bi n d the " m a t e r i a l " t o g e t h e r , the threads are so t h i n as to v a n i s h from s i g h t f o r t h i r t y , f o r t y pages at a time. Dr Barthory i s found dead, hanging on the grounds of the h o s p i t a l . The q u e s t i o n of who k i l l e d the former SS and F o r e i g n Legion t o r t u r e r i s not del v e d i n t o deeply by e i t h e r p o l i c e or d e t e c t i v e s . A l l they d i s c o v e r i s t h a t i t was not a " n a t u r a l death, t h a t i s , by hanging" but t h a t "someone or other had broken h i s neck f i r s t , and h o i s t e d him up afterwa r d s . " C o n s i d e r i n g the unusual p o l i t i c a l involvements of almost everyone a t La Pou d r i e r e , almost anyone c o u l d be g u i l t y — a n d the s t a f f would be among the prime sus p e c t s : a l Assadun, as an A l g e r i a n ; L e f e v r e , as a French a n t i - a u t h o r i t a r i a n ; I l j a , with h i s a n a r c h i s t i n c l i n a t i o n s and s u r p r i s i n g p h y s i c a l s t r e n g t h ; perhaps even the n a r r a t o r h i m s e l f . C e r t a i n l y many of the p a t i e n t s are capable of the crime. The n a r r a t o r b e l i e v e s t h a t there was no one i n La Poudr i e r e who d i d not h o l d Barthory i n contempt, but he i s c o r r e c t e d by 103 I I j a , who p o i n t s out t h a t there were two people who admired him: " t h a t nymphomaniac L e n i n i s t - f a s c i s t Mrs Ambassador, who keeps on with those S i b e r i a n howls of hers at n i g h t , the wolf lady from the K r e m l i n — a n d t h a t l i t t l e b l a c k - k i l l e r from the Pentagon." They are s a i d t o admire Barthory as a man who helped "spread the c u l t u r e of France throughout the e n t i r e underdeveloped world" (118). I t i s the c a r e t a k e r , the n a r r a t o r h i m s e l f , who suggests a s o l u t i o n to the embattled Dr L e f e v r e , who wants to save h i s unique asylum, but cannot come up with the amount of money the p o l i c e have d i s c r e e t l y requested f o r a f i n d i n g of " s u i c i d e " i n the i n v e s t i g a t i o n . He i s to ask the p o l i c e to go slow, and to address h i m s e l f to the deceased Barthory's f a m i l y . Barthory comes from a g r e a t banking f a m i l y now l i v i n g i n France, t h a t owns h a l f of Bretagne (132). Since they would.do anything to hide a p o s s i b l e s u i c i d e i n t h e i r own f a m i l y — t h e y don't know a l l the f a c t s i n the c a s e — t h e n a r r a t o r suggests to L e f e v r e t h a t he should i n t i m a t e to them t h a t the p o l i c e r e q u i r e h a l f a m i l l i o n f r a n c s f o r a l e s s embarassing death c e r t i f i c a t e . Jean, as c a r e t a k e r , w i l l a t t e s t t h a t he found Barthory with h i s neck broken a f t e r a f a l l from a t r e e . In t h i s manner, the case i s c l o s e d without being s o l v e d — a n d the reader i s l e f t with the nagging knowledge t h a t almost any one of the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r s c o u l d have c a r r i e d out the "execution." Another s u b p l o t , drawn i n a b l a c k , s a t i r i c a l s t y l e , i n v o l v e s the a f f a i r between the American g e n e r a l and the 104 S o v i e t Ambassador's w i f e , who d e s p i t e t h e i r chauvinism, are d r i v e n together p a r t l y as a r e s u l t of the anti-superpower o s t r a c i s m on the p a r t of the others at the h o s p i t a l . The n a r r a t o r o b j e c t s to t h i s o s t r a c i s m : "No one at a p l a c e l i k e La Poudriere w i l l be gi v e n the c o l d shoulder. We are a l l of us, e q u a l l y g r e a t c r i m i n a l s " (189). The nurse C h r i s t i n e r e p o r t s the problems among the p a t i e n t s , with a p a r o d i c edge i n her words which, i t might be s a i d , belongs with the n a r r a t o r , and not with her: I t ' s due to the f a c t t h a t both of them—the Ambassador's wife and the g e n e r a l — h a v e been going around s a y i n g t h a t the world today can only be mastered by the genuine superpowers; a l l other c o u n t r i e s have to r e l i n q u i s h t h e i r s o v e r e i g n t y and come to terms with being s a t e l l i t e s t a t e s without t h e i r own f o r e i g n , m i l i t a r y or economic p o l i c i e s . Small independent s t a t e s are an anachronism from the l a s t c entury. (189) An a d d i t i o n a l s u b p l o t i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the twenty year o l d nurse C h r i s t i n e , and the middle-aged Jean. The episodes d e p i c t i n g them t o g e t h e r , i n t i m a t e and sexual scenes, are t e x t u r e d with a l y r i c i s m t h a t b r i n g s the n a r r a t o r ' s r e f l e c t i o n s c l o s e to the p u l s i n g l i f e i n the southern French landscape. These "scenes" stand i n sharp c o n t r a s t to the c o l d , razor-edged s a t i r e of the d i a l o g u e s with the other s t a f f members, and the i r o n i c tone of the supposedly s c i e n t i f i c / a c a d e m i c l e c t u r e s , which, i t soon becomes e v i d e n t , are the r a i s o n d'etre of the book. In The  Powder House the s t o r y i s t h i n , but the h i s t o r y i s dense. 105 8. A c c o r d i n g to L e f e v r e ' s p o l i c y , everyone a t La Poudriere has the r i g h t t o g i v e l e c t u r e s on a t o p i c of t h e i r c h o i c e . In the course of the n a r r a t i v e , three such l e c t u r e s are g i v e n . The f i r s t l e c t u r e i s given by the n a r r a t o r h i m s e l f , and i s e n t i t l e d : "The Witches' R e v o l u t i o n : On Satan's Conquest of Power, the Witches' World Dominion, and on the Great Fear" (61-98). These 37 pages are " s c i e n t i f i c " only i n so f a r as they c o n t a i n myriads of f a c t s and r e f e r e n c e s . The tone of the l e c t u r e r — i n h i s case the n a r r a t o r h i m s e l f has taken the l e c t e r n — i s i r o n i c . He p r a i s e s h i s enemies, and condemns those with whom we would have expected him to i d e n t i f y . C i t i n g "Paulus, Augustine, C a l v i n and Luther" he begins with the work of the t h e o l o g i a n s of "the Gospel of Love" to r i d the e a r t h of Satan's agents: " S e v e r a l tens of m i l l i o n s of f a l s e C h r i s t i a n s , s p i e s and agents f o r His Black Majesty, with spouses and o f t e n very s m a l l c h i l d r e n , were s u b j e c t e d to p i l l o r y and f i r e " i n the course of 200 years (62). F i n d i n g j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r the witch hunt i n Luther's "De Re.bus C i v i l i b u s " and "De C h r i s t i R e d i t u ad I u d i t i u m " (63-64), he launches i n t o a prolonged and d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of witch symptomatology, the s c i e n c e of e x t r a c t i n g c o n f e s s i o n s , the instruments used, and the p r a c t i c e of witchburning. The d e s c r i p t i o n extends to other "types" who c a r r y out the D e v i l ' s work. Among other t h i n g s , the n a r r a t o r / l e c t u r e r g i v e s an account of the p u b l i c t o r t u r e 106 and q u a r t e r i n g of Damien a f t e r h i s attempt on the l i f e of Louis XV--a motif Bj^rneboe had used f i r s t i n an e a r l i e r essay on the Marquis de Sade. 2 3; The evidence t h a t the l e c t u r e r b r i n g s f o r t h shows t h a t the f i r s t modern age of b e s t i a l i t y i n the form of the w i t c h hunt d i d not occur i n the s o - c a l l e d Dark Ages, but d u r i n g the R e n a i s s a n c e — t h e age of enlightenment. The scope of t h i s a c t i v i t y , c u r i o u s l y , seems to c o r r e l a t e with the degree of enlightenment. Each time s c i e n c e and human thought take a leap forward, "the Great Fear" i s unleashed. And t h i s i s not l i m i t e d to the witch hunts of the Renaissance. For the witch hunts of the Church i n the 17th century are simply the "Church's v a r i a n t of The Permanent Witch-hunt, of the e t e r n a l witch t r i a l s which are most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of t h a t race which i n h a b i t s the p l a n e t . " The a c c e l e r a t i o n and expansion of the witch t r i a l s up to our own time, and t h e i r "numbers of condemned, burned and maimed, has, i n the l a s t f i f t y - s i x t y years alone, been c o l o s s a l " (93). The n a r r a t o r / l e c t u r e r t r a c e s the o r i g i n s of the witch hunt. Now, as d u r i n g the time of Copernicus and G a l i l e o , the witch hunt i s a r e s u l t of the Great Fear. The o r i g i n s and growth of t h i s f e a r can be summed up i n the f o l l o w i n g e q u a t i o n : "The g r e a t e r the i n s i g h t , the g r e a t e r the f e a r " (93). Humanity's s t a g g e r i n g i n s i g h t s i n t o the f o r c e s governing the cosmos as i t entered the t w e n t i e t h century once again unleashed t h i s f e a r . To underscore the c o n t i n u i t y , of the phenomenon, the n a r r a t o r / l e c t u r e r names 107 some of the h i s t o r i c a l f i g u r e s who took charge of the awesome d u t i e s of p r o s e c u t i n g witch hunts without regard to the epoch i n which they l i v e d : "I mention, among many, the a p o s t l e Paul and the lawyer L e n i n " (96). These are the type of men who t u r n humanity's s t r i v i n g s i n t o i n s t i t u t i o n s t h a t f a c i l i t a t e the witch-hunt. "In the Church t h e r e i s no C h r i s t i a n i t y , i n the Party no S o c i a l i s m . " In purs u i n g the Saboteur of the world i t was important to get c o n f e s s i o n s and names of c o - c o n s p i r a t o r s before the accused witches d i e d . Thus "the method" was born: " A l l g r e a t hunters, from C a l v i n to Ado l f u s Germanicus and S t a l i n i s s i m u s the Great, have depended upon i t " (96). Humanity's i n s i g h t was so great i n our own time, t h a t i t brought f o r t h a new man, Homo Lupus, who took over a f t e r the f i r s t decades of t h i s century (97). The author's i n t e n t i o n , again, i s not to imply t h a t the witch hunt i s a phenomenon belonging only to our age. The "permanent witch hunt" has been present f o r eons, i n an a c t i v e or dormant s t a t e — r e a d y to be charged up again on the power of new s c i e n t i f i c and p h i l o s o p h i c a l i n s i g h t s , i n sh o r t , whenever an o l d f a i t h or an o l d world order i s threatened by new knowledge. With the emergence of Homo Lupus, however, i t a c q u i r e s e n t i r e l y new p o t e n t i a l f o r d e s t r u c t i o n : A f t e r the c o n t r i b u t i o n s of these g r e a t men, The Great Work has come to completion: the human being has been unmasked, the mask i s t o r n away, and the wolf t e e t h are v i s i b l e . Homo Lupus has stood f o r t h i n a l l h i s splendor. T h i s 108 phenomenon, t h a t the Permanent Witch Hunt advances to a h u r r i c a n e of p e r s e c u t i o n s , happens each time the f a i t h i s thr e a t e n e d . No p a r t i c u l a r f a i t h , but the f a i t h t h a t e v e r y t h i n g has a secure and c e r t a i n meaning. When the f a i t h t h a t the co s m o s — t h e f i r e beneath us and the empty, dead and endless space above u s — h a s meaning, i s threatened, then the f a i t h r i s e s up to crush the I n f i d e l . T h i s i s the Great Fear, and i t a r i s e s i n times of s k e p t i c i s m , reason and enlightenment, c r i t i c i s m . Now t h a t Mankind b e l i e v e s i t s e l f t o be on the verge of conquering space, what w i l l become of Homo Lupus? At t h i s j u n c t u r e the l e c t u r e r changes h i s tone, and the madhouse ca r e t a k e r now "speaks" with the cadence of a Z a r a t h u s t r a — a n a p o c a l y p t i c , p s e u d o - b i b l i c a l language, not u n l i k e t h a t which N i e t z s c h e forged f o r h i s own a n t i - G o s p e l : My dear f r i e n d s ! I have myself seen a l l of t h i s i n a dream, and you know t h a t a man l i k e me can prophesy. Wolf s h a l l hunt wolf, and the u n i v e r s e s h a l l echo with the wolf howls of the p l a n e t , and the f e a r w i l l grow and grow, and the hunt s h a l l continue and conti n u e . And homo lupus i s s t i l l new i n t h i s world, but homo lupus s h a l l r u l e over i t . [...] And the beauty i n the s t a r s and the wind and the d e s e r t and the f o r e s t s , i n the sky, and the p l a i n s and the mountains and the r i v e r s and the shores, e v e r y t h i n g s h a l l be drowned by the wolf howl which i s humanity's l a s t v o i c e . And the f e a r s h a l l t e a r a t the wolf's h e a r t . (97) Returning to h i s more s c i e n t i f i c v o i c e , the l e c t u r e r thanks h i s l i s t e n e r s , and suggests t h a t only by posing a problem c o r r e c t l y can we f i n d our way to a c o r r e c t answer. 109 9. The second l e c t u r e (134-77) i s given by the p r o f e s s i o n a l e x e c u t i o n e r L a c r o i x , s t i l l wearing high bandages about h i s t h r o a t a f t e r h i s r e c e n t s u i c i d e attempt. His t o p i c w i l l be e x e c u t i o n and e x e c u t i o n e r s — " f r o m the p o i n t of view of the e x e c u t i o n e r , " one who has "the same r i g h t to r e s p e c t , kindness and compassion as a l l other human c r e a t u r e s have" (134). What f o l l o w s , i n the t e x t , i s a f o r t y two page d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of the e x e c u t i o n e r ' s t r a d e and a r t , from the high Middle Ages to our day. G e n e r a l l y speaking, the techniques d e s c r i b e d range from the o l d e s t t r a d i t i o n a l forms, the chopping block and t o r t u r e s a s s o c i a t e d with the I n q u i s i t i o n , hanging, the g u i l l o t i n e , the f i r i n g squad, and f i n a l l y the American e l e c t r i c c h a i r . The focus of the l e c t u r e , more than anything e l s e , i s on the changing nature of k i l l i n g by the s t a t e , and i t s e f f e c t on those "men i n p o s s e s s i o n of s p e c i a l q u a l i t i e s " who c a r r y i t out. Once again, Bj^rneboe observes some of the same trends as h i s contemporary F o u c a u l t i n S u r v e i l l e r et p u n i r . They both note t h a t the n o t i o n of the s a n c t i t y of the body l e d to the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of p u b l i c t o r t u r e , to a demonstration of atonement "without s u f f e r i n g , " c a r r i e d out c o l d l y with supposedly s c i e n t i f i c and p a i n l e s s methods, i n secluded spaces which shroud the event i n an a i r of mystery f o r the modern p u b l i c . Whereas Fo u c a u l t seems to acknowledge a c e r t a i n i n c r e a s i n g humaneness—coupled, p a r a d o x i c a l l y , with growing a u t h o r i t a r i a n i s m - - i n d i s c i p l i n i n g and p u n i s h i n g , 110 Bjp'rneboe' s sta n d p o i n t i s t h a t t h i s i s only a myth which the new methods of c a r r y i n g out and s t a g i n g executions are designed t o promote.2 4 From the p o i n t of view of the e x e c u t i o n e r / l e c t u r e r , the e x e c u t i o n e r has always been an a r t i s t observed by a p u b l i c of h y p o c r i t e s . "To take the l i f e of another human being without p a i n and b r u t a l i t y , i s he not an a r t i s t ? " But my c o l l e a g u e s are u n f o r t u n a t e l y f a r from a r t i s t s of t h i s dimension. S e n t i m e n t a l i t y and weak nerves are incomp a t i b l e with the e x e c u t i o n e r ' s work, as with t h a t of a great v i o l i n i s t . Or the performance of a gre a t p i a n i s t . Not to mention the p r o f e s s i o n of the authors and poets: here everything, i s c o o l n e s s , awareness and p r e c i s i o n . (137) A change i n p u b l i c t a s t e a t the end of the. 1700s made the work of an exe c u t i o n e r dangerous, and "a p i a n i s t who l o s e s h i s nerve and s e l f c o n t r o l , w i l l h a r d l y be trampled to death by the mob, such as happened many a time i n the era of p u b l i c e x e c u t i o n s " (137). I t was the p u b l i c nature of the s p e c t a c l e which caused the l o s s of nerve, the h a l f s u c c e s s f u l f i r s t attempts by e x e c u t i o n e r s i n the procedures> the frequent d i s a s t e r s . The great "houses" or d y n a s t i e s of European e x e c u t i o n e r s — t h e Langs, the D e i b l e r s , the F l u r a t s , the D e u s s e r s — a r e here g i v e n the chance to have t h e i r s t o r y t o l d . Society, had f o r c e d the burden upon them. There seemed to be no escape from the h e r e d i t a r y nature of the work, nor from the o s t r a c i s m of the community which r e q u i r e d t h a t i t be done. In t h e i r saga, the s o c i e t y they serve i s i n f a c t t h e i r nemesis. The I l l henchmen become v i c t i m s , d i o n y s i a n performers i n a g r e a t r e p e a t i n g r i t u a l , the sacred m i s s i o n of which p r e s c r i b e s t h a t they must c a r r y the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of s o c i e t y ' s need to k i l l on t h e i r s h o u l d e r s . They are f i g u r e s a t the same time sacred and accursed. A c u r i o u s aspect of Bj^rneboe's t h i n k i n g here i s t h a t i t i s the e x e c u t i o n e r s who become the s i m u l t a n e o u s l y h o l y and accursed f i g u r e s , the sacred o u t c a s t s — t h e p harmakos—that i n a n t i q u i t y had u s u a l l y r e f e r r e d to the v i c t i m s of the ax themselves . ^ 5 I t i s i n 1793 d u r i n g the Great R e v o l u t i o n — w h e n the doors to the Age of Reason and to i n c r e a s e d humanitarianism should have been thrown open by the p h i l o s o p h i e s of humanism--that the g u i l l o t i n e i s i n t r o d u c e d as a s e r i o u s i n n o v a t i o n : "The quick, p a i n l e s s and one hundred percent e f f e c t i v e e x e c u t i o n " (145). Other methods were i n t r o d u c e d with the same ideas i n mind, and i n t h i s way Europe entered the age of the mass e x e c u t i o n . These passages exemplify the way Bj^rneboe i s c o n s t a n t l y on the lookout f o r ways i n which s o c i a l i n n o v a t i o n s can demarcate new "ages" i n h i s t o r y . Thus, the chapters of t h i s volume, such as t h i s one devoted to L a c r o i x ' s l e c t u r e , use the calendar of the French r e v o l u t i o n : L a c r o i x ' s l e c t u r e i s dated 24. p r a i r i a l , year 176. The l e c t u r e r now puts f o r t h b o u n t i f u l evidence to counter the claims of the exponents of these t e c h n o l o g i c a l i n n o v a t i o n s . S c i e n t i f i c i n v e s t i g a t i o n s and long experience i n v a l i d a t e the claims of the p e r i o d . The evidence: l i f e i s 112 observed i n amputated heads by r e p u t a b l e s c i e n t i f i c a u t h o r i t i e s ; the frequent need to repeat the prolonged shock or "burning" i n the American e l e c t r i c c h a i r , and the t r u t h about why a u t o p s i e s are h e l d immediately a f t e r the procedure; the remarkable r e c o r d of f a l l i b i l i t y with f i r i n g squads. A l l of t h i s i s e x p l o r e d with a c o o l d i r e c t n e s s , which l a c k s the i r o n y and humor of "The Witches' R e v o l u t i o n . " R o l l i n g o f f a l i s t of names of e x e c u t i o n e r s who ended on the s c a f f o l d themselves, the l e c t u r e r t u r n s to the modern myth of the s o c i a l f u n c t i o n of executions (148). Remarking t h a t "no one knew b e t t e r than these men, what k i n d of h o r r o r i s i n v o l v e d i n an e x e c u t i o n , " he addresses the theory of the g e n e r a l p r e v e n t a t i v e e f f e c t of c a p i t a l punishment. For who should f e a r the s c a f f o l d more than men who have c a r r i e d out thousands of executions? "What d e t e r r i n g e f f e c t has i t had? None, l a d i e s and gentlemen. None!" He c o n t i n u e s : "The amputated bodies of executed e x e c u t i o n e r s are the best h i s t o r i c a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l evidence a g a i n s t the punishment's g e n e r a l - p r e v e n t a t i v e e f f e c t " (148). On the other s i d e of the c o i n are the accounts of e x e c u t i o n e r s who have passed s e n t e n c e — a n d c a r r i e d i t o u t — a g a i n s t themselves, i n Germany, England and America. F i n i s h i n g h i s long c o m p i l a t i o n of accounts, the l e c t u r e r asks a q u e s t i o n on b e h a l f of the e x e c u t i o n e r s : "Who has turned us i n t o s u i c i d e s , l a d i e s and gentlemen?" (175). L a c r o i x ' s long l e c t u r e i s a segment which c o u l d w e l l be the most potent 113 l i t e r a r y case to be made a g a i n s t c a p i t a l punishment i n any language, and t h i s might be s a i d to apply as w e l l to The  Powder House as a whole. The f i n a l l e c t u r e i s giv e n by Doctor L e f e v r e h i m s e l f : "The H e r e t i c - B u r n i n g C u l t u r e " ("Kjetterbalenes k u l t u r " [203]). I t i s he who poses the c u l m i n a t i n g q u e s t i o n s r a i s e d by the l e c t u r e s e r i e s . "Why do we t r e a t each other the way we do on t h i s microcosmic c r u s t , t h i s l a y e r of mould and or g a n i c l i f e , p u t r e f a c t i o n , consciousness and c r u e l t y ? " He has no hope of an answer, f o r "where the answers begin, there begins b e s t i a l i t y " (205). But the concept of heresy and the h e r e t i c p r o v i d e s a key. The l e c t u r e r t r a c e s the genesis of our modern h e r e t i c s and " t r a i t o r s " to the p e r s e c u t i o n s of the e a r l y g n o s t i c s — o f the A l b i g e n s e s and C a t h a r i s t s . These were people who were k i l l e d by the thousands, who c o u l d have saved themselves from t h e i r f a t e "only by changing t h e i r minds" (209). The Church bathed i n the blood not of the martyrs i t l o s t , but of the martyrs i t made (209-10). The " h e r e t i c " i s the t h i n g which i s to be c o n s i d e r e d the m i r a c l e . Those who have maintained the b e l i e f t h a t they are r i g h t , through t o r t u r e and d e a t h — a t the hands of the C a l v i n s , the Luther s , the H i t l e r s , the S t a l i n s — t h e y are proof of the s t r e n g t h of cons c i o u s n e s s . The l e c t u r e r concludes by c i t i n g the a n a r c h i s t v i c t i m s of the Haymarket executions i n Chicago, whose l a s t words of d e f i a n c e were "words t h a t should g i v e the American people something to l i v e f o r . " 114 Then Hebrew mythology i s c i t e d : "so long as t h e r e are s t i l l 37 j u s t men i n the world, so long can the world continue to be" (214). T h i s i s a new f a c e t of the Jewish myth of the Laamed vov t z a d i k (not mentioned by name by Bj^rneboe) which i s u n s e t t l i n g i n the s i g n i f i c a n c e the myth holds f o r humankind today. Bj^rneboe's search f o r meaning and r e v e l a t i o n i n myth, when c o n f r o n t e d with the i n s o l u b l e dilemmas and r i d d l e s of h i s t o r y and e x i s t e n c e , i s the heart of h i s approach. 10. The l e c t u r e s are q u i t e r e l e n t l e s s , c o n s i d e r i n g t h e i r s u b j e c t matter, the f i r s t two i n t e r r u p t e d only by mentions of "breaks" f o r c o f f e e and cake. In.between, however, they are c o n t r a s t e d with s o f t e r , o f t e n l y r i c a l e p i s o d e s — n e i t h e r p e d a n t i c nor l i n e a r , but broken, p a r t i a l , d e s c r i p t i v e . They i n c l u d e d e s c r i p t i o n s of landscape; memories of c h i l d r e n i n d e p r i v e d areas of the world (a r e c u r r i n g motif i s how these c h i l d r e n look when they are d r i n k i n g ) ; the n a r r a t o r ' s m e d i t a t i o n s on the hedgehog which comes s n i f f i n g around h i s house l o o k i n g f o r something to d r i n k ; and h i s i n t i m a c y with the French nurse C h r i s t i n e , a l s o a f i g u r e i n t i m a t e l y bound up with the French landscape. The sexual d e p i c t i o n s c o n t r a s t with the untextured moments of sexual a c t i o n i n Without A S t i t c h : these are s t i l l s . A c t i o n i s not important. On the c o n t r a r y , i t i s the attempt to 115 p r e s e r v e the image which matters. T h i s i s done, not so much i n order to f o s s i l i z e a moment of e c s t a s y , but i n s t e a d to c r e a t e an e t e r n a l moment, a moment of a r t , an a l t e r n a t i v e to the e t e r n a l and b r u t a l i z i n g world of human a c t i o n . Yet even i n l o v e , i n the " s t i l l " moments, there are always the reminders of the t h i n g t h a t nags. C h r i s t i n e sees a p i c t u r e above the the n a r r a t o r ' s desk. I t shows a p a r t i s a n , about to be hanged, both arms r a i s e d i n d e f i a n c e as he i s surrounded by o f f i c e r s and h i s c a p t o r s . C h r i s t i n e asks him why he has i t hanging over h i s desk: "I have i t there so t h a t e v e r y t h i n g I copy i n the p r o t o c o l s would bear being read by him," I answered. "You l e t him read i t f i r s t ? " "Yes. I want i t to be t r u e , whatever I w r i t e down. So he reads i t f i r s t . " "How long have you had i t hanging t h e r e ? " "At l e a s t a year here. But I had i t up i n the p l a c e where I l i v e d before too. And i t ' s hanging on the other w a l l — o v e r t h e r e . " She turned and caught s i g h t of the same p i c t u r e on the oppo s i t e w a l l . "Doesn't i t d r i v e you mad?" "Yes," I s a i d . (108) Thus, even the i n t e r n a l and e t e r n a l moments of love e x i s t between w a l l s t h a t r e f l e c t the very p i c t u r e of human c r u e l t y and heroism back at each o t h e r . The Powder House, again, i s s t r u c t u r e d as an a n t i - n o v e l . On the f i r s t page i t i s d e s c r i b e d as " p o e t i c n a t u r a l i s m " and sources are c i t e d . But a l y r i c t e x t i s juxtaposed t o the t e x t which pur p o r t s t o be e m p i r i c a l and 116 h i s t o r i c a l . The boundaries which d e f i n e our c o n c e p t i o n of what a novel i s are f o r c e d to expand or even d i s s o l v e under the p r e s s u r e of t e x t s such as t h i s one, i n which so many c o n f l i c t s i n s t y l e , form and content are h e l d between two c o v e r s . The t h i n p l o t concerning the murder of Dr Barthory a c t u a l l y presages the main t h r u s t of the next novel i n the t r i l o g y . A l Assadun ("Lion" i n A r a b i c , another of Dante's a l l e g o r i c a l beasts a t the gateway to H e l l ) c e l e b r a t e s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y the b i r t h of h i s i n f a n t son and Dr Barthory's death. But only " A l l a h — a n d y e t one more—know who c a r r i e d out the e x e c u t i o n , " says a l Assadun. T h i s scene, with i t s c o n t r a d i c t o r y c e l e b r a t i o n of death and b i r t h , r e c a l l s the p a r a d o x i c a l dream of the " b e a u t i f u l day" i n the f i r s t book, i n which the new freedom of the escaped p r i s o n e r s i s u n i t e d with murder. Now t h e r e comes a h i n t , i n t h i s small scene, of the r e a l i t y behind the dream. 11. In The S i l e n c e ( S t i l l h e t e n , 1 9 7 3 ) — s u b t i t l e d "An a n t i - n o v e l , and a b s o l u t e l y f i n a l p r o t o c o l " — t h e c o n t r a d i c t o r y dream of l i b e r a t i o n and the f e a r i n s p i r i n g moment of freedom, f i n d t h e i r c o r r e l a t i v e s i n the r e a l world. The n a r r a t o r l i v e s now i n a c i t y i n a North A f r i c a n s t a t e , one of those r e c e n t l y r e l e a s e d from the p o l i t i c a l bondage of c o l o n i a l i s m . "The c i t y " of which he has a b i r d ' s - e y e view from h i s window i s a c i t y of man which i s 117 imbued with a Dante-esque s i g n i f i c a n c e . "Outside of the French windows, beyond the balcony, the gre a t c i t y l i e s beneath me" (SH 6). The e f f e c t s of past e x p l o i t a t i o n and economic dependency are s t i l l to be seen i n the r o v i n g f l o c k s of hungry c h i l d r e n which roam the s t r e e t s . They corner a l l westerners who emerge from bars and r e s t a u r a n t s , s c a t t e r i n g only when bread or money are thrown over t h e i r heads. They o f f e r sexual f a v o r s to white v i s i t o r s — a n d they are capable of any t h i n g . I t i s i n t h i s d e p r i v e d , p o s t - c o l o n i a l t h i r d world c a p i t a l t h a t the n a r r a t o r , r e f e r r e d to as "Jean" when r e f e r r e d to a t a l l , spends h i s days wandering the s t r e e t s and meeting i n caf e s with h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n p a r t n e r A l i — a European educated r e v o l u t i o n a r y who i s h i d i n g from the s e c u r i t y f o r c e s of h i s own country. Somewhere i n A f r i c a , A l i ' s comrades are moving i n darkness i n the f o r e s t , p r e p a r i n g f o r the f u t u r e . The mood conveyed by the n a r r a t i v e from the f i r s t pages i s one of apprehension. The i n e v i t a b l e w i l l come. T h i s time i t w i l l happen. But f o r the moment a l l I hear i s the s i l e n c e . There i s nothing but s i l e n c e l e f t . Nothing i s happening. E v e r y t h i n g i s w a i t i n g . For something which has never been b e f o r e , and no one knows the nature o f . We haven't a c l u e what w i l l happen—we know only t h a t i t i s coming. A f t e r the s i l e n c e comes the g r e a t t r a n s f o r m a t i o n . (6) Between the l u s t y and i r o n i c p o l i t i c a l d i a l o g u e s with A l i , the n a r r a t o r stumbles upon as u n l i k e l y a crew of i n t e r l o c u t o r s as can be imagined. F i r s t , t h e r e are the 118 i n h a b i t a n t s o f t h e c i t y i t s e l f i n t h e h e r e a n d now. B e s i d e s A l i , t h e r e i s a l s o t h e " n i c e A m e r i c a n " who w e n t t o l i v e w i t h h i s own c o u n t r y ' s e n e m i e s d u r i n g t h e V i e t n a m war: he h a s come t o t h i s p o o r c o u n t r y i n d e p e n d e n t l y , t o make a g i f t o f h i s w e s t e r n know-how i n d e v e l o p i n g t h e i r o i l r e s o u r c e s . He i s c o n s t a n t l y i n e b r i a t e d , a n d t h r o w s t o o much money o u t t o t h e s t a r v i n g f l o c k s o f c h i l d r e n , due t o some k i n d o f d e e p s e a t e d shame he f e e l s . Then t h e r e i s t h e y o u n g A r a b g i r l who f o l l o w s t h e n a r r a t o r i n t h e s t r e e t t o o f f e r t h e " m o n s i e u r " s e x u a l f a v o r s : s h e i s d i s a p p o i n t e d when she g e t s money f o r n o t h i n g — f o r a s J e a n r e a l i z e s l a t e r , s h e i s h o p i n g f o r a p l a c e o f f t h e s t r e e t s t o s l e e p . _ B e s i d e s t h e s e i n h a b i t a n t s o f t h e h e r e - a n d - n o w , t h e r e a r e o t h e r c o n v e r s a t i o n p a r t n e r s i n h a b i t i n g t h i s " c i t y " i n t h e " h e r e w h i c h i s a l l p l a c e s a n d t h e now w h i c h i s a l l t i m e s . " One o f them i s a m o r o s e a n d d e e p l y d e p r e s s e d C h r i s t o p h e r C o l u m b u s , who i s o b s e s s e d a b o u t t h e P a n d o r a ' s box he o p e n e d i n human h i s t o r y . -He s h a l l l e a r n , i n h i s d i a l o g u e s w i t h t h e n a r r a t o r , t h a t t h e New W o r l d - - w h i c h h a d no r o v i n g b a n d s o f s t a r v i n g c h i l d r e n u p o n h i s a r r i v a l — i s now o v e r r u n w i t h t hem, and s h a l l c o n c l u d e : "Mea maxima c u l p a . " Y e t a n o t h e r c o n v e r s a t i o n p a r t n e r i s an a c q u a i n t a n c e f r o m Rome: God. The n a r r a t o r r e c a l l s h i s d i n n e r w i t h God i n t h a t o t h e r c i t y o f man. I t t o o k p l a c e one d a y when he h a d b e e n m u l l i n g o v e r t h e q u e s t i o n o f h i s own s o u n d n e s s o f m i n d : "Was i t t h a t I a p p r e h e n d e d t h e e n c o u n t e r w i t h t h e w o r l d w i t h b l o o d i e r n e r v e s t h a n most p e o p l e ? I s i t s i c k n e s s o r 119 h e a l t h ? " He decides i t i s a s i g n of h e a l t h . " I t i s I who am h e a l t h y , the others are s i c k " (85-86). But he begins to doubt t h a t h i s p r o t o c o l w i l l ever be f i n i s h e d "because i t has no beginning and no end...." Before God j o i n s him f o r d i n n e r , he has reached the f o l l o w i n g c o n c l u s i o n : " I t i s i n t h i s the i l l n e s s l i e s : We cannot, a t a l l , imagine a world  without b e s t i a l i t y as the f i n a l argument of those who r u l e 1 We cannot imagine a s o c i e t y t h a t i s not b u i l t upon raw f o r c e " (86). God's a r r i v a l breaks i n t o h i s brooding. Of course God i s i n a manner of speaking the u l t i m a t e double, and the n a r r a t o r mentions having spoken " r a t h e r o f t e n " with him on these s u b j e c t s , although God and the n a r r a t o r have very d i f f e r e n t ideas of j u s t what i s a t the source of t h i s d e s t r u c t i v e s i c k n e s s which human beings have brought with them i n t o the world. The r o l e of t h i s "God" as a double i s underscored here by the d e s c r i p t i o n of him as an i t i n e r a n t beggar, which endows Him with q u a l i t i e s t y p i c a l of other Bj^rneboe doubles. The n a r r a t o r has to l e n d him money so t h a t they can dine t o g e t h e r . In t h i s p a r t i c u l a r d i s c u s s i o n God begins to express concern f o r h i s host. God: Can't you f i n i s h with the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y ? That's the t h i n g which i s d e s t r o y i n g your a p p e t i t e and your stomach. I f you're going to s i t around t h i n k i n g about f r e s h l y carved up c h i l d r e n every time you eat a c r a y f i s h t a i l , t h a t can't be to any good. F i n i s h with t h a t wretched s t u f f . The response: I s h a l l never f i n i s h . . . . You're not going to get o f f the hook so e a s i l y I (88) 120 God promises him t h a t h i s d i g e s t i o n and a p p e t i t e w i l l be ret u r n e d to normal i f he st o p s . "The world s h a l l be yours," he promises. He pursues the p o i n t by o f f e r i n g him wealth, h e a l t h , and a s a l a r i e d p o s i t i o n i n UNESCO—if only he w i l l f a l l on h i s knees " i n worship," adding, " I t doesn't matter--thorn you kneel t o , whom you w o r s h i p — i t can be i n east or west, i t can be i n north or south. But f a l l down  on thy knees and w o r s h i p — a n d t h i s world s h a l l be t h i n e ! " I t i s here t h a t God's host n o t i c e s h i s guest's t a i l f o r the f i r s t time. L a t e r , he w i l l meet "God" nearby the A f r i c a n c i t y i n the d e s e r t . T h i s time, speaking to him from a " f i g - c a c t u s " ( s i c ) , he w i l l o f f e r the n a r r a t o r the u l t i m a t e temptation: "Worship, and you s h a l l be worshipped I" (88-89). T h i s i s perhaps the c l e a r e s t p o s s i b l e example of age-old advocacy of h i e r a r c h y through t h e o l o g i c a l r e a s o n i n g . In the f i n a l s e c t i o n of t h i s volume, "La Rue du grand peur" a f u r t h e r c o n v e r s a t i o n p a r t n e r i s i n t r o d u c e d . I t i s dominated by an extended d i a l o g u e with M a x i m i l i e n R o b e s p i e r r e — t h e contents of which appear t o be gleaned from Max G a l l o ' s p o l i t i c a l biography of Robespierre. ^ 6 j n the d i a l o g u e , the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s and changes i n Robespierre's p o s i t i o n s i n h i s f i e r c e and i d e a l i s t i c p o l i t i c a l c a r e e r are o u t l i n e d . The i m p l i c i t p a r a l l e l i s drawn with the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s f a c e d by a l l those who attempt r e v o l u t i o n or s o c i a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n (173-89). In a cafe dialogue M a x i m i l i e n i s informed of the success of 121 t h e man named L e n i n , whose p o l i c i e s — d e s p i t e h i s m a r k e d s i m i l a r i t i e s t o R o b e s p i e r r e t h e " i n c o r r u p t i b l e " — M a x i m i l i e n a s s e s s e s w i t h s k e p t i c i s m . I n t h i s d i a l o g u e , f r e e d o m o f t h e p r e s s , t h e a b o l i t i o n o f s l a v e r y , a b o l i t i o n o f t h e d e a t h p e n a l t y , a b s o l u t e human r i g h t s , a n d e q u a l i t y — t r a d i t i o n a l r e v o l u t i o n a r y demands, a l l o f w h i c h h a d t h e i r g r e a t e s t a d v o c a t e i n t h e f i g u r e o f R o b e s p i e r r e — a r e p i t t e d a g a i n s t n e c e s s i t y : t h e n e e d t o i m p r o v e l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s q u i c k l y , t o w i p e o u t c o r r u p t i o n w h e r e v e r i t a r i s e s i n o f f i c i a l q u a r t e r s , a n d t o h a l t t h e a t t a c k s o f i n t e r n a l a n d e x t e r n a l e n e m i e s . T h i s i s the' p r o b l e m o f f r e e d o m v e r s u s t e r r o r . A l t h o u g h h i s t o r y r e c a l l s w hat p o s i t i o n s R o b e s p i e r r e t o o k i n t h e e n d on many o f t h e s e q u e s t i o n s , i t i s B j ^ r n e b o e ' s i n t e n t i o n h e r e t o make a r e a d e r t h i n k t w i c e . He h a s R o b e s p i e r r e d e f e n d i n g t h e M a r q u i s de S a d e , who e a r l y on s u p p o r t e d R o b e s p i e r r e ' s c a m p a i g n a g a i n s t t h e d e a t h p e n a l t y , and t h e r i g h t s o f t h e b l a c k p o p u l a t i o n s i n t h e c o l o n i e s . B jjzfrneboe' s R o b e s p i e r r e i n s i s t s i t was Sade who s p o k e w i t h t h e v o i c e o f "common s e n s e , " w h i c h h a s f r o m t i m e t o t i m e b e e n a t r a i t o f t r u e r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s : "You l e t a man d i e , my h o n o r e d c o l l e a g u e s , b e c a u s e he h a s k i l l e d a n o t h e r . T h a t ' s two d e a d men i n s t e a d o f one" ( 1 8 4 ) . B j ^ r n e b o e ' s R o b e s p i e r r e d e f e n d s Sade f r o m h i s r e p u t a t i o n . He was a d u t i f u l , e n g a g e d c i t i z e n t o t h e e n d , and a s a p r i s o n e r o f f e u d a l r u l e r s , he was p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h t h e v i c e s o f t h e a r i s t o c r a c y a n d t h e m i g h t y , o f a d y i n g a g e . He p o r t r a y e d , t o u s e h i s own w o r d s , "a c o r r u p t e d c e n t u r y " ( 1 8 5 ) . 122 Much as the B e l l r i n g e r and the Sexton, the c o n v e r s a t i o n p a r t n e r s i n Moment of Freedom, speak a language which f i t s more c l o s e l y t h a t of the n a r r a t o r than themselves, M a x i m i l i e n ' s d i s c o u r s e on Sade veers toward e d i t o r i a l i z i n g , and a l l sense of agons or debate vanishes from the d i a l o g u e as the v o i c e s merge. T h i s i s evidence t h a t the d i a l o g u e i s not dramatic, but d i d a c t i c . From Bj^rneboe's pen, these h i s t o r i c a l c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s are f a r d i f f e r e n t from the c a r e f u l l y i n d i v i d u a l i z e d , untampered-with c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s i n , say, The Dream and  the Wheel. I t i s one of those openings where the presence of the author s u r f a c e s through the n a r r a t i v e . 12. Emerging i n The S i l e n c e i s an apparent o v e r r i d i n g concern with r e v o l u t i o n s and t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i n a modern age, but a l o n g s i d e of t h i s , the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y c o n t i n u e s . The p r o t o c o l s t h i s time i n c l u d e a condensed c h r o n i c l e of Cort e s ' s conquest of Mexico. The n a r r a t o r has posed the q u e s t i o n : "What was Europe's meeting with the r e s t of the world?" He suggests t h a t t h e r e i s a p a r a l l e l t o be drawn with the i n d i v i d u a l mind's meeting with r e a l i t y . "In a way, one must go o u t s i d e of o n e s e l f to meet o n e s e l f , and perhaps one has to go o u t s i d e of Europe to achieve g r e a t e r c l a r i t y i n our p i c t u r e of the i l l n e s s of t h a t p a r t of the world" (14). As 123 one mind encounters a r e a l i t y made by o t h e r s , so does one c u l t u r e encounter other c u l t u r e s . In the second s e c t i o n of The S i l e n c e , "On the A r t of making the World U n i n h a b i t a b l e , " the h i s t o r y of the conquest of Mexico i s t o l d i n a compact 23 p a g e s — a n economy which g i v e s the h i s t o r y an i c y c l a r i t y which might elude a reader of Dfaz or De Las Casas (56-79). I f one d e f i n e s "myth" as t h a t form of n a r r a t i v e which serves to make the v a s t and incomprehensible i n t o something t h a t can be grasped, t h i s s h o r t s t o r y v e r s i o n of h i s t o r y , h i s t o r y i n i t s b a r e s t o u t l i n e s and i n i t s essence, might q u a l i f y as myth: t h a t i s , not because i t i s f a l s e , f o r i t i s t r u e , but because of i t s f u n c t i o n . H i s t o r y i s turned i n t o myth which, i n t u r n , can be used to i n t e r p r e t h i s t o r y . Bj^rneboe h i g h l i g h t s moments of h i s t o r y , then explodes them f o r a d i s c h a r g e of meaning: C o r t e s 1 s d e c i s i o n to burn h i s own s h i p s behind him; the amputation of the hands of Montezuma's messengers of peace; the mass s l a u g h t e r of the i n v i t e d Indian n o b i l i t y at the f e s t i v i t i e s hosted by the Spanish i n the e n c l o s e d palace of C h o l u l a ; the s t o n i n g of Montezuma the compromiser by h i s own people; the s y s t e m a t i c l e v e l i n g of the v a s t Aztec c a p i t a l stone by stone. The r e c o r d e r of the p r o t o c o l s has not simply recorded, but r a t h e r t r a n s l a t e d h i s t o r y i n t o myth. Walter Benjamin once p o s i t e d t h a t there are "moments" i n human h i s t o r y which become the d i s c h a r g e p o i n t s f o r the processes and c o n t r a d i c t i o n s which have been g a t h e r i n g , and i t i s they which g i v e " h i s t o r y " i t s meaning 124 i n retrospect.27; T h i s i d e a i s important f o r understanding the approach Bjjzfrrneboe a p p l i e s here. He has l i n k e d h i s t o r i c a l moments which have s t o r e d i n them enormous p o t e n t i a l f o r a d i s c h a r g e of meaning, and the r e s u l t i n g c h a i n of s i g n i f y i n g episodes produces an a r t i f a c t with the aura of h i s t o r y — a n epos most c l o s e l y resembling myth. Cortes becomes an Agamemnon or a dark Odysseus. Mexico becomes a Troy as i f from V i r g i l ' s p o i n t of view. The quest of modern Europe and i t s c h r i s t i a n i z i n g m i s s i o n takes on a c l e a r o u t l i n e , l i k e the m i s s i o n of the a n c i e n t Greeks. Images of growing s i c k n e s s are threaded through the n a r r a t i o n . Once again , s y p h i l i s stands as the metaphor f o r the spread of the c u l t u r e of the "tradesmen": the di s e a s e s of the Europeans spread e a s i l y among people who had no immunity to them. And t h i s p a r t i c u l a r d i s e a s e r e t u r n e d to Europe from the New World with immediate and deadly e f f e c t . T h i s i s as i f to say, the oppressor damages not only the oppressed, but h i m s e l f . Cortes ends h i s l i f e i n Spain wishing he c o u l d be back i n Mexico i n order to s e t t l e h i s accounts with God. The b i l l i s lo n g . "So he d i e d a C h r i s t i a n s y p h i l i t i c ' s death i n God's name. His work was done: the p a r a d i s e was a d e s e r t . In t h i r t y years n i n e t e e n m i l l i o n were s l a u g h t e r e d . I t ' s not every man who i s vouchsafed the ta s k of d e s t r o y i n g a c u l t u r e " (78) . J u s t as i n the meeting with the world a s o u l can be c r u s h e d — a s was Hertug Hans i n Bj^rneboe's y o u t h f u l 125 n o v e l — s o i s i t p o s s i b l e t h a t the modern mind, p a r t i c u l a r l y a f t e r the age of gunpowder, can attempt to d e s t r o y the world i n a f u t i l e attempt to make i t over i n i t s own image, as with Cortes or the I n q u i s i t i o n . There i s an obvious p a r a l l e l i n t h i s f o r those who l i v e i n the next age: the age of the atom. In the meeting between mind and world, i n our times, the necessary balance can be upset by s i c k n e s s i n the mind or s i c k n e s s i n the world. But the s i c k mind i s not t h a t which d i s t a n c e s i t s e l f from the world's s i c k n e s s . I t i s not the mind t h a t cannot d e a l with the world. I t i s the mind which, too much, has been i n f e c t e d . 13. Despite the n a r r a t o r ' s ongoing concern with h i s c h r o n i c l e s or l e d g e r s , he i s i n c r e a s i n g l y preoccupied with the g r e a t changes which are to be expected. The problem of e v i l i s g i v i n g way to the problem of r e v o l u t i o n . T h i s has been made c l e a r from the opening l i n e s of The Powder House: I t i s not a q u e s t i o n of whether we l i k e them or want them.... They w i l l not ask us what we t h i n k of them before they come. They w i l l not concern themselves with common cour t e s y , but j u s t come, one r e v o l u t i o n a f t e r the other, they which t o g e t h e r w i l l c a r r y out The R e v o l u t i o n , the great t i d a l wave which w i l l a r i s e and plough over us, a wave of hate and f i r e and blood. The only t h i n g we c o u l d have done, would have been to do the r e v o l u t i o n ' s work of our f r e e w i l l , to do i t o u r s e l v e s . . . . But we weren't capable of doing the work of our own f r e e w i l l . . . . (5) 126 The r e v o l u t i o n has i t s m a t e r i a l causes, to be sure, but i t becomes c l e a r t h a t r e v o l u t i o n i s a term here imbued with metaphysical meaning. The Servant of J u s t i c e , i n the end, w i l l be back i n the courtroom where he belongs, together with the m i s t r e a t e d , the powerless, the oppressed and the h e l p l e s s (198). T h i s time, though, he w i l l be th e r e to l i s t e n to them, not to f u l f i l l the d u t i e s of h i s o f f i c e as d e s c r i b e d i n Moment of Freedom. He w i l l now c l a i m t o understand the "higher meaning" of the t r i a l : t h a t wrong can be turned to r i g h t when the hour of judgment a r r i v e s . I t should be noted t h a t the Norwegian term Bj^rneboe uses h e r e — " o m v e l t n i n g " , meaning r e v o l u t i o n or u p h e a v a l — h a s an a p o c a l y p t i c resonance which the loan-word " r e v o l u s j o n " does not. The v o i c e of the n a r r a t o r here, i t can j u s t i f i a b l y be a s s e r t e d , has r e t u r n e d to t h a t of the Servant of J u s t i c e , though he "serves" i n a d i s t i n c t l y new c a p a c i t y : For what i s the r e v o l u t i o n i f not the ab s o l u t e t r i a l ? The r e v o l u t i o n i s the l a s t and h i g h e s t and most t e r r i b l e form of s e t t l i n g the accounts.--The hangmen s i t now as the a c c u s e d — t h e oppressed, the h u m i l i a t e d and the wretched s i t as p r o s e c u t o r s , judge and j u r y i n the case. T h i s w i l l not prevent the p o s s i b i l i t y of new i n j u s t i c e , but t h i s time the i n j u s t i c e i s on the other s i d e . That i s : Even i f the r e v o l u t i o n bears i t s own g u i l t too, t h a t g u i l t i s p a r t of the j u s t i c e . I r e c a l l a k i n g who s a i d : A f t e r us the deluge w i l l come. Indeed, i t came ... j u s t i c e i s f r i g h t e n i n g — b u t holy are they who have a hunger and a t h i r s t f o r j u s t i c e . Although the best would be i f God forgave us our debts, as we f o r g i v e our de b t o r s . (199) I t i s c e r t a i n l y not immediately apparent what form t h i s " j u s t i c e " w i l l take, from what q u a r t e r s i t w i l l a r i s e , 127 and who w i l l d e f i n e i t . Is i t simply the i m p o s i t i o n of someone e l s e ' s moral v i s i o n on the world, which the keeper of the p r o t o c o l s has so amply demonstrated o f t e n t u r n s j u s t i c e i n t o i t s opposite? Some of the answers can be found i n one of the d i a l o g u e s with A l i . A l i d e s c r i b e s the source of the d r i v e toward j u s t i c e as an unconscious " I " or " s e l f " , "along the l i n e s of t h a t which Jung c a l l s c o l l e c t i v e unconscious, but I t h i n k i t has to do with an i n d i v i d u a l unconscious.... A s e l f t h a t we don't know, but which i s s t r o n g e r and more d e c i s i v e than the awake and conscious s e l f we know about" (136). Can these two " s e l v e s " come i n c o n t a c t with each other? Of course; i t ' s t h i s which we c a l l s o r c e r y or magic, i f you w i l l . For you Europeans the whole t h i n g i s j u s t b l a c k s u p e r s t i t i o n and madness. For us the s u p e r n a t u r a l i s j u s t as n a t u r a l as p l a n t s and t r e e s , as animals and people. That which we d a i l y n o t i c e of t h i s unconscious and i n n e r " I " i s our conscience and sense of j u s t i c e . Through the c h a r a c t e r of A l i a metaphysics of r e v o l u t i o n i s emerging. I t suggests a s o c i a l consciousness based upon attunement with one's s e l f . I t i s f a r from the s e l f - i s h n e s s or egotism of bourgeois or P r o t e s t a n t - e t h i c i n d i v i d u a l i s m . I t i s an i n d i v i d u a l i s m which i m p l i e s self-knowledge.. 2 8' At a c e r t a i n depth, the s e l f i s i n t i m a t e l y bound up with the c o l l e c t i v e , humanity, the world. There e x i s t s a g r e a t e r s e l f , and perhaps i t i s t h i s t h a t i s the source of the numerous doubles which people Bjcfrneboe's t r i l o g y : the shadows, the Iwans, the Giovannis, 128 the man i n the m i r r o r , the v i s i t of death i n the h o t e l r o om—the long sequence of Bj^rneboe doubles which a c t u a l l y begin with the young monk i n which Hertug Hans sees h i m s e l f , and begs the Czar to spare. Corn-passion (med-l i d e n h e t ) and common humanity or s o l i d a r i t y (med-menneskelighet) s p r i n g from an i n n e r source a f t e r a l l . Human beings have only to f i n d t h e i r way back to t h a t source. T h i s i s humanity's meeting with i t s e l f . C oncluding t h a t he does not know i f human beings are good or e v i l , and t h a t i t i s up to human beings themselves to choose which s i d e of themselves they want to n u r t u r e , the n a r r a t o r comes t o the r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t he has l e f t something important out of the proceedings: On a p l a n e t where human beings have chosen to l e t themselves be burned a l i v e f o r the sake of the t r u t h , the good must have g r e a t p o s s i b i l i t i e s . The c o u r t was convened, the a c c u s a t i o n s read out, the witnesses heard, the evidence s e t out, humanity was found g u i l t y . I kept the c o u r t p r o t o c o l s . But I am m i s s i n g one v o i c e i n the courtroom, the Defense. (200) 14. The c u l m i n a t i n g words of the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y support F r e d r i k Wandrup's assessment i n h i s biography t h a t Bj/^rneboe was becoming more concerned with what he c o u l d f i n d by way of hope f o r the many young people who were becoming h i s devoted readers i n the s e v e n t i e s . 2 9 Seeds of h i s planned " H i s t o r y of Freedom" can be seen s p r o u t i n g i n 1 2 9 the dark s o i l of the l a s t book i n the t r i l o g y . I t would never be completed--barely begun, i n f a c t . Even so, the movement of ideas i n the t r i l o g y , and the c u l m i n a t i o n of those ideas i n The Sharks (Haiene, 1 9 7 3 ) — a f o u r t h book which i s f r e q u e n t l y connected with the t r i l o g y — m i g h t supply enough p r o v o c a t i o n to send a reader o f f on h i s own quest f o r s i g n s of freedom i n h i s t o r y and d a i l y l i f e , as S t e i n e r Lem has suggested i n h i s book on Moment of Freedom .30 As has been seen, the moment of freedom i s not a moment i n l i n e a r time. I t surrounds. I t i s an ongoing process i n the "now t h a t i s a l l times." The t r i l o g y stands as a c h a l l e n g e , an e l e c t r i c charge, which i s meant to a c t i v a t e the seed R i l k e r e f e r s to i n "Buddha i n der G l o r i e " with the words "Mit t e a l l e r M i t t e n , Kern der Kerne" and i n which both an i n d i v i d u a l s e l f and a g r e a t e r s e l f are addressed: "Doch i n d i r i s t schon begonnen / Was d i e Sonnen u b e r s t e h t . " As with any t r i l o g y , the simple c o n f i g u r a t i o n of three books almost immediately conjures a s s o c i a t i o n s with Dante's Commedia. In t h i s case, the l i n k s are c o n s c i o u s l y and e l a b o r a t e l y woven i n . The use of Tuscany as the source of Western c u l t u r e , and the frequent use of F l o r e n c e as an emblematic " c i t y " which connotes a g r e a t e r community or s o c i e t y of man, r e i n f o r c e s s u s p i c i o n s t h a t some of Dante's s t r u c t u r i n g p r i n c i p l e s might be p r e s e n t as w e l l . The leopard, as was mentioned above, i s the animal which the Servant of J u s t i c e encounters, as Dante encountered i t at 130 the edge of the dark wood. For Dante, though, the le o p a r d was not an emblem f o r b e s t i a l i t y , but of i n c o n t i n e n c e and the s i n s of s e l f - i n d u l g e n c e . 3 ' 1 . In Bjj/rneboe, the le o p a r d i s present as a harbinger of d e p r e s s i o n , the deep, r e c u r r i n g s i c k n e s s with which the n a r r a t o r must b a t t l e , and i t s other m a n i f e s t a t i o n : a l c o h o l . Bjjzfrneboe w r i t e s i n Moment of Freedom t h a t anyone who has not experienced a f u l l and extended d e p r e s s i o n i s l i k e a c h i l d , and d e s c r i b e s the c o n d i t i o n as t h a t of "meeting something e x t e r n a l , a beast of prey, a w i l d beast which t e a r s the f l e s h o f f your bones." He adds, "Dante's i m a g e — t h e l e o p a r d — i s e n t i r e l y p r e c i s e and t r u e ; I suspect he met i t here i n F l o r e n c e , a c i t y which i s a b s o l u t e l y s u p e r b l y s u i t e d to extended d e p r e s s i o n s " (FO 114-15). The wolf i s Dante's emblem f o r fr a u d , usury, and e x p l o i t a t i o n of a l l k i n d s . In the second volume of the t r i l o g y i t i s the wolf i n the form of "Homo Lupus" which comes to prominence. The l i o n i s Dante's r e p r e s e n t a t i v e f o r those c i r c l e s of H e l l r e s e r v e d f o r the s i n s of heresy and b e s t i a l i t y . ? 2 \ The name a l Assadun, assigned to a c h a r a c t e r i n The Powder House, a l s o appears i n an episode from The S i l e n c e concerning the vanished Jew L o e v i , who i s d i s c o v e r e d to have converted to Islam before being b u r i e d f a c i n g Mecca under the name " a l Assadun"—which means l i o n (as does t h i s p a r t i c u l a r s p e l l i n g of the Jewish name). How the p a r a l l e l s h o l d up with the b e s t i a r y of Dante i s not c l e a r here. Are these f i g u r e s who take the p a r t of oppressed peoples or regions 131 of the world meant to be c o m p l i c i t i n b e s t i a l i t y ? Perhaps the p a r a l l e l s should not be pushed too hard. Or perhaps these are p o r t r a i t s of f i g u r e s who have "embraced the beast" t o c o n f r o n t i t , as we might a l s o say t h a t Bj^rneboe h i m s e l f has attempted to grapple with the l i t t l e bears or "smabj£frn": "Bj^rneboe" would t r a n s l a t e roughly to "bear d w e l l i n g , " or the p l a c e where the bear l i v e s . The t r i l o g y does not move on an upward i n c l i n e , as does Dante's Commedia. I t s motion i s l a t e r a l , i t moves over the s u r f a c e of the e a r t h g e o g r a p h i c a l l y . Even so, i t moves towards enlightenment. In t h i s way, i t bears a resemblance to t h a t other g r e a t t r i l o g y of a p i l g r i m a g e towards enlightenment i n which the p r o t a g o n i s t i s a w r i t e r o f t e n confused with h i s author: S t r i n d b e r g ' s To Damascus  ( T i l l Damaskus). If the a l p i n e town of H e i l i g e n b e r g i s taken to be the journeyer's H e l l i n volume one, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t h i s course i s downward and southward from t h e r e . The second volume i s s e t i n s o u t h - c e n t r a l France, and the t h i r d i s on the f l a t l a n d of the d e s e r t south of the Mediterranean. L i k e Dante's inmates of H e l l , who can see the p a s t and f u t u r e , but not the pr e s e n t , the n a r r a t o r i s obsessed with h i s past , and claims v i s i o n a r y powers ("A man l i k e me can p r o p h e s y " ) — b u t he f i n d s i t hard t o make sense of the prese n t and the immediate pa s t , saying he has wandered i n "the Land of Chaos." The Powder House f i n d s the n a r r a t o r l i v i n g i n a mental h o s p i t a l , i n a k i n d of 132 convalesence: S t r i n d b e r g , too, p l a c e s a madhouse s c e n e — s e t i n a c l o i s t e r where "the Stranger" i s c o n v a l e s c i n g — p r e c i s e l y i n the middle of To Damascus, Part I. Bj^rneboe's n a r r a t o r i n the asylum i s s t r o n g e r , l e s s dominated by d e p r e s s i o n and s p e c t e r s of death. I t i s both sanatorium and purgatory. The f i n a l book i s fundamentally an a p o c a l y p t i c v i s i o n . In f a c t , a l l a n a r c h i s t p o l i t i c a l i d e o l o g y must i n the end be s e t to the s i d e t o make way f o r t h i s book of r e v e l a t i o n s . The anagogic t h r u s t of the book i s r a i s e d a f i n a l notch i n the f i n a l N i etzschean p a r a b l e (190-98). I t t e l l s of a young r e l i g i o u s d i s c i p l e who wanders i n the d e s e r t to see f o r h i m s e l f the whole world's p a i n . No sooner does he f i n d an answer to a dilemma, than the new answer g i v e s r i s e to a new problem, and renewed h o r r o r a t the world. A f t e r many years, a f t e r a l l h i s preconceptions are overthrown, a f t e r h i s experiences amidst the a p p a r e n t l y s e n s e l e s s s u f f e r i n g of a l l l i f e have f o r c e d him to l e a r n only to u n - l e a r n and r e - l e a r n a g a i n — h e comes home and i s again able to smile l i k e a c h i l d . 133 Denn wovon l e b t der Mensch? Indem er s t i i n d l i c h Den Menschen p e i n i g t , a u s z i e h t , a n f a l l t , abwurgt und f r i s s t . Nur dadurch l e b t der Mensch, dass er so g r i i n d l i c h Vergessen kann, dass er e i n Mensch doch i s t . B e r t o l t Brecht Die Dreigroschenoper FOUR / ILLUSION UNMASKED: BJ0RNEBOE AND THE THEATER 1. Theater i s the most s o c i a l of the a r t s . Having been born out of r i t u a l and dance, i t i s always a shared experience, and l i k e a l l r i t u a l i s a "here and now" experience of "there and then" events. 1 . Tragedy, i f we are to g i v e N i e t z s c h e ' s view the c r e d i t i t s t i l l deserves, emerged from r i t u a l . I t was a r e s u r r e c t i o n of g r e a t d i o n y s i a n f i g u r e s , who c a r r i e d the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r s o c i e t i e s of man on t h e i r s h o u l d e r s . The T r a g i c f i g u r e looked deeply i n t o the abyss of meaninglessness, of chaos, which s o c i e t y supresses from day to day l i f e . With t h e i r r i t u a l death d i e d the t h r e a t of chaos i n t o which communities, i t was f e a r e d , might tumble. 2 Comedy, on the other hand, i s not an experience where s p e c t a t o r s merge with the c e n t r a l f i g u r e i n t h a t k i n d of r i t u a l . Comedy d i d , however, a l s o emerge from dance and r i t u a l — b u t i t i s the c r i t i c a l mode. Comedy 134 i s always s o c i a l i n the sense t h a t i t has a r o l e to p l a y i n improving s o c i e t y through the prod of i t s c r i t i q u e . I t has always, a c c o r d i n g to Bergson, had the f u n c t i o n of demonstrating how s o c i e t y tends to make human beings un-human. 3 Whether human beings are shown as being "automatized," as Bergson says, or are turned i n t o v u l g a r i z e d f i g u r e s resembling lower forms of animal l i f e — l i k e the Greek s a t y r s , or the t r a d i t i o n a l clowns known as buffoons—Comedy has always been about s i t u a t i o n s t h a t are dehumanizing. I t has always i m p l i e d t h a t t h e r e e x i s t s a p o s s i b l e c o r r e c t i o n to the dehumanized s i t u a t i o n i t p o r t r a y s . In accordance with the n o t i o n t h a t Comedy emerged from r i t u a l s a s s o c i a t e d with s p r i n g , the romantic form of Comedy concluded with the dehumanized l o s i n g out to the humanized: youth triumphs over age, l i b e r a t i o n triumphs-over r e p r e s s i o n , s t i f f e n e d s o c i a l mores g i v e way to f l e x i b l e ones, the inhumane becomes humane. Yet Comedy o f t e n outdoes Tragedy i n i t s grimness, i n i t s p o r t r a y a l of the dark f o r c e s a t work on human beings. And sometimes, i t appears to do t h i s with s i g n i f i c a n t l y l e s s compassion. Northrop Frye, who a s s o c i a t e s the d i f f e r e n t modes of the drama with d i f f e r e n t p o i n t s i n the c y c l e of seasons, sees the s a t i r i c phase of Comedy as corresponding with w i n t e r . 4 In i t s c o o l detachment, which tends to disengage the emotions of an audience to b e t t e r s t i m u l a t e t h e i r i n t e l l e c t , i t i s capable of d i s p l a y s of the most extreme c r u e l t y . In the c l a s s i c comedies we f i n d c a l c u l a t e d , s a d i s t i c revenge, as when M o l i e r e ' s Scapin savagely beats h i s master while he i s t i e d up i n s i d e a bag; c y n i c a l e x p l o i t a t i o n , as when, i n Le Malade i m a g i n a i r e , the p h y s i c i a n s plague and torment t h e i r w i l l i n g v i c t i m with t h e i r treatments; m a l i c i o u s c r u e l t y f o r i t s own sake, l i k e t h a t of the young hero i n M a c h i a v e l l i 1 s Mandragola—whose p l e a s u r e l i e s not o n l y i n c u c k o l d i n g the bourgeois, but by f o o l i n g h i s r i v a l i n t o p l o t t i n g murder and then exposing him. The dehumanizing rack i n which C h a p l i n ' s a s s e m b l y - l i n e worker i s p l a c e d i n the f i l m Modern Times a l s o comes to mind. But i n almost every case, the winter leads back to s p r i n g : a b e t t e r world, new hope. T h i s i s t r u e even i n t h a t savage sub-genre s a t i r e — a l h o u g h i t s happy endings are o f t e n a l s o i r o n i c , or purposely c o n t r i v e d — a s i s the ending of the Beggar's Opera. Black comedy comes c u r i o u s l y c l o s e to Tragedy on some p o i n t s — j u s t as i t can be s a i d t h a t autumn and winter o v e r l a p . They both o f t e n have to do with dark f o r c e s at work i n human s o c i e t y . They both demonstrate how something has gone t e r r i b l y wrong. The d i f f e r e n c e i s , t h a t i n Tragedy, i t ij3 f a t e d to be t h a t way. Jens Bj^zfrneboe can be s a i d to be the Scandinavian d r a m a t i s t most i n f l u e n c e d by B e r t o l t Brecht, the d r a m a t i s t of d i s t a n c e , of "Verfremdung." His o u t r i g h t r e j e c t i o n of h i s own countryman, Ibsen, l e d him n a t u r a l l y i n Brecht's d i r e c t i o n . Brecht's view of Tragedy was t h a t i t was the r e s u l t of a flawed p r e m i s e — t h a t Man cannot improve.; 5 136 Brecht f e l t t h i s c o u l d be s e t s t r a i g h t by g e t t i n g r i d of a flawed s o c i e t y . Bj^rneboe would be much more l i k e l y to adopt the t r a g i c premise. Brecht's a t t i t u d e was not simply the p e r s p e c t i v e of a ma r x i s t , but t h a t of a comedian, as has been seen a l r e a d y . When Bj^'rneboe turned to w r i t i n g p l a y s , he would adopt an e s s e n t i a l l y comic, e p i s o d i c , s t y l i z e d form, resembling B r e c h t ' s , but with an undercurrent of the t r a g i c . The c o o l , hard form does not always hide the compassion i n the i n t e n t . Even i f Bj^rneboe holds a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d of s o c i e t y to blame f o r the f a u l t s he f i n d s , t here i s r a r e l y a sense t h a t there i s any one way t h a t the s i t u a t i o n can be f i x e d . I t i s not t h a t f a t e r u l e s a l l . I t i s simply t h a t man i s f a t e d t o an ongoing f i g h t with h i m s e l f - - a n d i f he has the courage, much good can be done. So f a r , t h i s has not been the case. Bjp'rneboe s e t out to stage h i s l i t e r a r y a s s a u l t on h i e r a r c h i c a l s o c i e t y with an e x t r o v e r t e d form of t h e a t e r . He was most i n t e r e s t e d i n i l l u m i n a t i n g the guardian-type, or "formyndermennesket," the word which he helped to make common usage i n Norwegian, and which he d e s c r i b e d i n v a r i o u s essays. 5. These guardian-people are a u t h o r i t a r i a n by nature, but need not be a u t h o r i t i e s t h e m s e l v e s — t h o u g h i t h e l p s . They look upon themselves as good people, who take i t upon themselves to ensure t h a t others are j u s t as moral as they, and t h a t everyone w i l l f i t i n t o s o c i e t y . The guardian-people are only secure i f they have the sense t h a t they are being k i c k e d from above, while they have 137 someone to k i c k below. But i n the end i t i s f o r everybody's b e s t . To get h i s c r i t i q u e a c r o s s , the d r a m a t i s t Bj^rneboe would employ a s t y l e which seems to be e n t i r e l y i n c o n t r a d i c t i o n to the method he employed i n h i s novel t r i l o g y , the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y — w h i c h i s n a r r a t e d by the i s o l a t i v e , a l i e n a t e d f i g u r e r e f e r r e d to as The Servant of J u s t i c e , the keeper of the p r o t o c o l s . The l o n e l y world of p e r c e p t i o n t h a t p r e v a i l s i n much of h i s f i c t i o n i s gone. S t i l l , t h e r e i s a s t y l i s t i c s i m i l a r i t y between h i s works of drama and f i c t i o n : a c o n s i s t e n t and very d e c e p t i v e s i m p l i c i t y and d i r e c t n e s s of language. Bj^rneboe had come a long way from the S t e i n e r i s m , metaphysics and R i l k e a n e s t h e t i c s t h a t dominated h i s t h i n k i n g i n the f i f t i e s . The e x t r o v e r t e d s t y l e of h i s p l a y s i n the s i x t i e s and s e v e n t i e s was developed every step of the way with an eye toward the performance-as-event. His p l a y Amputation (Amputasjon),• with a l l i t s a c r o b a t i c s u r r e a l i s m , had to wait f o r a p r o d u c t i o n from 1966 u n t i l 1970, when i t was f i r s t produced by F i r i t e a t e r n i n Stockholm. I t had to wait f o r a s t y l e of performance t h a t was " a c r o b a t i c / p h y s i c a l enough" (SS 239). I t i s c l e a r then, t h a t Bj^zSrneboe had to break with the Ibsen t r a d i t i o n w h i c h — w i t h the very notable e x c e p t i o n of Nordahl G r i e g before the second world w a r — h a d completely dominated Norwegian t h e a t e r . "Ibsen" he w r i t e s , "has become a burden, an unshakeable tombstone which preserves t h a t form of t h e a t e r over which Ibsen r u l e d and 138 t h e r e f o r e s h a l l remain unchanged" (BOM 193). Of course, t h i s c o u l d a l s o be s a i d of Ibsen's i n f l u e n c e i n much of Western t h e a t e r t o d a y — p a r t i c u l a r l y t h a t of North America. Bj^rneboe's source and resource i n h i s break with the r e a l i s t i c i l l u s i o n - t h e a t e r was Brecht, and t h i s i s more than a simple case of i n f l u e n c e . S t i l l , as with a l l h i s i n f l u e n c e s from the a r t s and l i t e r a t u r e , h i s a t t i t u d e toward Brecht would t u r n out to be anything but simple. N e v e r t h e l e s s many c r i t i c s would j u s t i f i a b l y continue to make the comparison with Brecht w e l l a f t e r BjjzSrneboe's death. 2. In the notes to h i s p l a y Many Happy Returns ( T i l lykke med  dagen, 1965), which was h i s f i r s t s u c c e s s f u l attempt at p u t t i n g one of h i s p l a y s on a major Norwegian stage, Bjjefrneboe p o i n t s up the emergence of a new dramaturgy: he suggests t h a t many of the assumed ground r u l e s i n modern dramaturgy were j u s t as a n t i q u a t e d as the a n c i e n t s ' r u l e s about the need f o r the u n i t i e s of time and p l a c e . He w r i t e s , "For example, t h e . t r a d i t i o n a l , n a t u r a l i s t i c r e t r o - t e c h n i q u e i n the form of c o n v e r s a t i o n , which i s i n h e r i t e d from the Greeks and brought to i t s h i g h - p o i n t with S c r i b e and Ibsen ( ' S i t down and w e ' l l say i t a l l o u t ! ' ) , i s a t y p i c a l r e f l e c t i o n of t h e a t e r c o n d i t i o n s which no longer hem us i n today, other than i n the form of 139 conventions and dogmas." The change i s "not only owing to Brecht's e p i c dramaturgy" but a number of other i n f l u e n c e s as w e l l . The laws which govern the stage are " f a r fewer than we tend to b e l i e v e " (SS 77). For Bj^rneboe, who employs a form of music-theater i n Many Happy Returns and The B i r d Lovers ( F u g l e e l s k e r n e , 1966), songs should c o n s t i t u t e a " t o t a l break with i l l u s i o n i s t i c n a t u r a l i s m . " The songs, t h e r e f o r e , are almost always used as a c o n t r a s t to the dramatic s i t u a t i o n s they are s e t i n . "They don't l e a d the a c t i o n forward, but c a s t a s i d e l i g h t over i t - - f r o m a p o i n t of view d i s t a n t from or even c o n t r a r y t o the events on stage. By a p p l y i n g t h i s c o n t r a s t method both i n the scene sequences and the use of songs, i t has been attempted to i n t e n s i f y the statement and 'content' of the changing phases of the p l o t (-.' f a b e l ' ) upon which the p l a y b u i l d s " (77). These statements make i t f a i r l y c l e a r t h a t Bj^rneboe's dramaturgy i n f a c t owes a gr e a t d e a l to Brecht. Furthermore, i t was the encounter with Brecht's B e r l i n e r Ensemble i n 1959 which l e d Bj^rneboe, h e r e t o f o r e a d i s i l l u s i o n e d d r a m a t i s t , back to the t h e a t e r . The reason he had turned away from i t i n the f i r s t place, was p a r t l y due t o a c o n s i s t e n t r e j e c t i o n of h i s e a r l y s c r i p t s , which i n number r i v a l e d the r e j e c t i o n s of h i s f i r s t n o v e l , Duke  H a n s — a book t h a t he a s s e r t e d was turned down by every p u b l i s h e r i n Norway. I t was i n f a c t a f t e r the t o t a l r e j e c t i o n of Duke Hans t h a t he had f i r s t turned to 140 p l a y w r i t i n g . His debut novel of 1952, Before the Cock  Crows (F0r hanen g a l e r ) about Nazi medical experiments on human beings, was w r i t t e n f i r s t as a p l a y . Tone Bj^rneboe, i n her i n t r o d u c t i o n to h i s c o l l e c t i o n of essays, On Theater  (Om T e a t e r , 1978) quotes from one t h e a t e r ' s l e t t e r of r e j e c t i o n i n 1950: "[E]ven though the theme may be c u r r e n t — t i m e l e s s i n f a c t — w e would not be able to take i t i n i t s present form, simply because the p u b l i c runs away from t h i s k i n d of m a t e r i a l " (OT 7). L a t e r he wrote a " r e a l i s t i c " comedy with S t r i n d b e r g i a n overtones which, though i t was to be produced i n F i n l a n d , he decided to a b o r t . The w r i t e r had made h i s mark, but the d r a m a t i s t was not ready to debut. His stay a t the B e r l i n e r Ensemble i n 1959 a t the h e i g h t of i t s r e p u t a t i o n p r o v i d e d the impetus he needed. He watched the r e h e a r s a l process and came i n t o c l o s e c o n t a c t with the members of the company. T h i s c l o s e c o n t a c t with the B r e c h t i a n s would l e a d to r e l a t i o n s h i p s with Wolf K a i s e r , composer Hans D i e t e r H o s a l l a (who would l a t e r compose a score to The B i r d L o v e r s ) , Manfred Wekwerth, and C a r l Weber, who would e v e n t u a l l y d i r e c t The  B i r d Lovers a t the N a t i o n a l Theater i n Oslo.7 3. Bj^rneboe's book On Brecht (Om Brecht, 1977), p u b l i s h e d posthumously, c e r t a i n l y would seem to stand as a t r i b u t e to the master. He would a l s o c l e a r l y have agreed with Peter 141 Brook's remark to the e f f e c t t h a t a l l modern work i n the t h e a t e r can i n some way be t r a c e d back to Brecht. Although t h e a t e r h i s t o r y n e i t h e r begins nor ends with Brecht, Bj^rneboe i n s i s t s t h a t " i t s l i n e of development goes through him." Theater work today t h a t does not b u i l d upon, among other t h i n g s , a thorough knowledge of Brecht's theory and p r a c t i c e w i l l s u f f e r l o p s i d e d n e s s . Even so, "Nothing would be a more f a l s e understanding and use of Brecht's works than dogmatic l o y a l t y . Brecht worked undogmatically and e x p e r i m e n t a l l y . . . . " He was w i l l i n g to depart from h i s own t h e o r i e s — e v e n to do the o p p o s i t e of what he espoused (OB 14). These were the a s s e r t i o n s Bjp'rneboe made i n a p e r i o d when he was e s s e n t i a l l y a l o y a l Brecht e n t h u s i a s t . Bj^rneboe's t r a n s l a t i o n of Die Dreigroschenoper i s e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y f a i t h f u l . F i d e l i t y , too, has i t s p l a c e . The depth and p r e c i s i o n of the work at the B e r l i n e r Ensemble, the sense of the importance of minute d e t a i l , the commitment to work a l l g e s t u r e s , a c t i o n s and moments through e x p e r i m e n t a l l y to t h e i r f i n a l c o n s e quences—as i f i n a l a b o r a t o r y — t h i s had the t a s t e of t r u t h . The impressions of t h i s high l e v e l of p r a c t i c a l t h e a t e r work would leave t h e i r mark on the f u t u r e d r a m a t i s t . " S o c i a l g e s t , " " a l i e n a t i o n " — t h e techniques of b r a c k e t i n g o f f moments when c h a r a c t e r s / p e r f o r m e r s can demonstrate how they make a f r e e c h o i c e — a l l these d e v i c e s are to be found would u t i l i z e these B r e c h t i a n techniques so u s e f u l t o a And although Bj^rneboe 142 f i g h t e r i n the s o c i a l a r e n a — t h i s i s so obvious t h a t c a u t i o n should be used not to a s c r i b e h i s i n t e r e s t s i n Brecht s o l e l y t o the p o l i t i c a l angle of B r e c h t i a n t h e a t e r . His i n t e r e s t s were c l e a r l y e s t h e t i c as w e l l . The poet Bj/irneboe, who c o u l d t u r n sonnets to p e r f e c t i o n , was h i g h l y attuned to the beauty of gesture and movement, the power of the f a c i a l mask. He a p p l i e s t h i s power of o b s e r v a t i o n i n h i s essays on v a r i o u s European performers. In a p i e c e on Klaus K i n s k i , the impact seems to come mostly from the f a c e : "I have never seen a face so imbued with p a i n , and i t i s s u r e l y here l i e s the key to understanding the q u a l i t y of the unfathomable, which i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of h i s a r t " (OT 191). The impression made by Marcel Marceau, and t h a t of mime i n g e n e r a l , i s e v i d e n t i n Bj^rneboe's w r i t i n g about and f o r the stage. U n l i k e Brecht, Bj^rneboe i s capable of w r i t i n g long d e t a i l e d — b u t h a r d l y g r a t u i t o u s — s t a g e d i r e c t i o n s f o r movement, gest and gesture i n h i s p l a y s . In Semmelweis (1968), the g r e a t e r p a r t of Semmelweis's scenes of experimental d i s c o v e r y a r e , i n the t e x t , a d e - s c r i p t i o n of g e s t u r e . Attempting to d i s c o v e r a n t i s e p t i c techniques, Semmelweis d i g s deeply with h i s bare arms i n t o a bucket c o n t a i n i n g excrement and the c a r c a s s of a r o t t i n g c a t . He attempts v a r i o u s washing techniques, then s n i f f s the a i r , s n i f f s h i m s e l f , and s n i f f s the bucket to determine i f there i s a change. When he f i n a l l y makes the d i s c o v e r y t h a t the t o i l e t - c l e a n e r s ' c h l o r i d e - o f - l i m e e l i m i n a t e s the s m e l l a s s o c i a t e d with the death epidemic i n the h o s p i t a l s — t h e 143 d i s c o v e r y i s made i n s i l e n c e . A l l the more t e r r i b l e i t i s — f o r i t underscores the s o l i t u d e of d i s c o v e r y . For Bj^rneboe, t r u t h i s something t h a t one always d i s c o v e r s alone, even i n t h a t most s o c i a l of genres, the drama. Semmelweis, i n s i l e n c e , goes from doubt, to r e a l i z a t i o n , to joy, to w i l d d e s p e r a t i o n . The entrance of another c h a r a c t e r i n t o the room punctures the i n c r e d i b l e t e n s i o n of t h i s s i l e n c e . So, although Bj^rneboe's i n t e r e s t s i n t h e a t e r and performance are wide and v a r i e d , Brecht's i n i t i a l i n s p i r a t i o n i s undeniably v i t a l . In h i s essay "Ernest Hemingway and B e r t o l t Brecht" he assesses the works of both w r i t e r s as "healthy, i n v i g o r a t i n g " , something t h a t strengthens "the morale of the t r o o p s " (OB 130). But above a l l he p r a i s e s them f o r f i g h t i n g "conventions, t r a d i t i o n s and our i n c l i n a t i o n t o overlook the t r u t h , " the l a t t e r b eing "among the c o n d i t i o n s which have brought us to the b r i n k of c a t a s t r o p h e . " He comes to a somewhat s t a r t l i n g l y c o n c i s e c o n c l u s i o n : " I t i s becoming a moral crime to maintain an i l l u s i o n " (131). The a n t i - i l l u s i o n i s t t h e a t e r form i s t h e r e f o r e c o n s i s t e n t with the message of a r t i s t s concerned to whatever degree with s o c i a l awareness. N e v e r t h e l e s s , Brecht w i l l i n the end c a l l up a c e r t a i n ambivalence. In the essay "The Defeat" (OB 132-36) Bj^rneboe> comes c l o s e to a c c u s i n g Brecht of t h e f t i n having claimed to have w r i t t e n Die Tage der Commune (The  Days of the Commune), when i t was i n f a c t a not very 144 e x t e n s i v e r e w r i t e of the pl a y Nederlaget (The Defeat) by the Norwegian poet and d r a m a t i s t Nordahl G r i e g , "one of the most s i g n i f i c a n t i n European drama." 8 And though he f i n d s Brecht's d r a m a t i z a t i o n of the P a r i s Commune i s more b e a u t i f u l , G r i e g ' s i s t r u e r (OB 134). In a " D i a l e c t i c a l P o s t s c r i p t " which has been i n c l u d e d by the e d i t o r s i n On  B r e c h t — a c t u a l l y a hand-written note l e f t by B j ^ r n e b o e — h e s t a t e s t h a t Brecht's oeuvre i s , so f a r as thought and content go, and even h i s form, u n o r i g i n a l : A l l the thought we f i n d i n Brecht i s unindependant and u n o r i g i n a l . I t i s , i n the worst sense of the word, v u l g a r m a r x i s t , but s p i c e d up with a l i t t l e L e n i n i s t c y n i c i s m here and t h e r e , when the whole t h i n g t h r e a t e n s t o get b o r i n g . One can go through Brecht's c o l l e c t e d w o r k s — f r o m the f i r s t to the l a s t a c c e s s i b l e l i n e — a n d one f i n d s not one s i n g l e thought which i s not borrowed, not taken from o t h e r s . . . . Worst: Brecht l a c k e d to a p a t h o l o g i c a l degree simple humanity i n e v e r y t h i n g t h a t he wrote. (OB 122) T h i s r e a c t i o n can be u n s e t t l i n g , not only because i t i s w r i t t e n by a man who c o n s i d e r e d Brecht o r i g i n a l l y to be h i s s p i r i t u a l " b rother," but a l s o because he was t r a n s l a t o r of much Brecht poetr y such as "The I n f a n t i c i d e Marie F a r r a r " ("Von der Kindesmorderin Marie F a r r a r " ) , and "To Those Who Are Born A f t e r Us" ("An d i e Nachgeborenen")—powerful poems t h a t must be c o n s i d e r e d among the most s i g n i f i c a n t l i t e r a r y appeals f o r compassion from the f i r s t h a l f of t h i s century, however bleak they may be. I t cannot be a pure and simple l a c k of humanity i n Brecht .which accounts f o r B ^ r n e b o e ' s ambivalence. I t i s c l e a r , however, t h a t Brecht's apparent 145 b e l i e f t h a t one c o u l d n e g o t i a t e h i s h u m a n i t y away t e m p o r a r i l y f o r c e r t a i n human c a u s e s w o u l d n o t s i t w e l l w i t h B j ^ r n e b o e . B r e c h t m i g h t on o c c a s i o n p e r c e i v e a n e e d t o "embrace t h e b u t c h e r " t o c h a n g e a w o r l d d e s p e r a t e l y i n n e e d o f c h a n g i n g , b u t t h i s a t t i t u d e w o u l d h a v e e l i c i t e d an i r o n i c l a m b a s t i n g f r o m Bjp'rneboe' s k e e p e r o f t h e p r o t o c o l s i n t h e H i s t o r y o f B e s t i a l i t y . " C o m p a s s i o n " w r i t e s Bj0rneboe, " i s t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t q u a l i t y i n a w r i t e r — n o t a s e n t i m e n t a l c o m p a s s i o n — b u t an o b j e c t i v e , e x a c t a n d p r e c i s e s u f f e r i n g - w i t h ( ' m e d - l i d e l s e 1 ) . T h i s c o m p a s s i o n r e p r e s e n t s t h e p o e t ' s a b i l i t y t o be a s e e r , h i s p r o p h e t i c p o w e r . " 9 T h i s b r i n g s B j j ^ r n e b o e ' s t h i n k i n g c l o s e t o t h a t o f o t h e r c o n t e m p o r a r y d r a m a t i s t s , s u c h a s E d w a r d B o n d — w h o makes a c a s e i n L e a r f o r what he c a l l s human " p i t y , " p a r t i c u l a r l y among t h o s e f i g h t i n g t o c h a n g e a s o c i e t y — a n d T e n n e s s e e W i l l i a m s as w e l l . I n t h e c a s e o f W i l l i a m s , t h e a f f i n i t y t u r n s o u t t o be q u i t e a c o n s c i o u s o n e , h o w e v e r much W i l l i a m s ' s A m e r i c a n d r a m a t u r g y was a n t i t h e t i c a l t o t h a t o f t h e u l t r a - E u r o p e a n B j ^ r n e b o e . T h e r e i s e v i d e n c e , t h o u g h , o f y e t a n o t h e r s t r o n g i n f l u e n c e on B j ^ r n e b o e ' s t h e o r e t i c a l p o s i t i o n s on drama a n d t h e a t e r w h i c h i s much c l o s e r t o home. F o r a N o r w e g i a n d r a m a t i s t who, i n l o o k i n g f o r s o l u t i o n s t o t h e c r i s i s o f modern drama r e j e c t e d I b s e n , t h e p r e s s i n g q u e s t i o n i s , " I f n o t I b s e n , who t h e n ? " The f i r s t a nd most o b v i o u s a n s w e r was B r e c h t . B u t when B r e c h t ' s m e t hod o r v a l u e s a r e c a l l e d i n t o q u e s t i o n , t h e d i l e m m a 146 becomes: " I f not Brecht, who now?" For Bj^rneboe, only August S t r i n d b e r g ' s i n s i g h t s i n t o modern t h e a t e r c o u l d compete with B r e c h t ' s . He was aware t h a t S t r i n d b e r g ' s i n s i g h t s , and h i s methods f o r t r a n s f o r m i n g modern t h e a t e r , were f a r more clear-headed and p r e c i s e than h i s r e p u t a t i o n would l e a d us to b e l i e v e . 1 0 4. For Bj^rneboe, the o p e r e t t a was the f i r s t modern, decadent t h e a t e r form, i n the sense t h a t i t was commercial, empty, and i n i t s time c a t e r e d to the lowest common denominator i n p u b l i c t a s t e . There are m u l t i p l e modern p a r a l l e l s . I t i s s o - c a l l e d "pure entertainment." He c i t e s Brecht's hatred f o r the form as w e l l . But he adds to the l i s t of the condemned other forms of "entertainment" such as American v a r i e t y shows, l i g h t comedies and t h e i r descendants on t e l e v i s i o n . T h i s might seem at f i r s t t o c o n t r a d i c t h i s c a l l i n "Theater Tomorrow" ("Teater imorgen") f o r an e n t e r t a i n i n g t h e a t e r t h a t has " c i r c u s - l i k e p h y s i c a l i t y " (OT 154). What concerns him i s the e v o l u t i o n of a harmless t h e a t e r which l a c k s a r t , yet i s smug enough to p r o c l a i m i t s e l f as an a r t form. In "Theater Tomorrow," probably h i s most c e n t r a l t h e o r e t i c a l f o r m u l a t i o n on the a r t of t h e a t e r and performance, he condemns the tendency of mainstream t h e a t e r to compete with t e l e v i s i o n and f i l m , which by way of t h e i r t e c h n i c a l progress "have brought n a t u r a l i s m to i t s 147 p i n n a c l e . " Theater's attempt to outdo these media by i m i t a t i n g them i s a t r e n d which he co n s i d e r e d a t t h a t time no t h i n g s h o r t of r e a c t i o n a r y . To r e i n f o r c e t h i s argument, he turns to S t r i n d b e r g . In the essay " S t r i n d b e r g , Ekman and Grundgens" (OT 127-33), he comments on S t r i n d b e r g ' s a d m i r a t i o n f o r f i l m i n the f i r s t decade of t h i s century. I t was, i n i t s essence, a democratic a r t form: "low t i c k e t p r i c e s , no coatcheck f e e s , equal s e a t i n g , and so on. S t r i n d b e r g , the s p i r i t u a l a r i s t o c r a t , was a democrat i n s o c i a l and economic ques t i o n s to the l a s t " (131). He saw no enemy to t h e a t e r i n f i l m , but a separate a r t form. There was no need f o r t h e a t e r t o compete. Bj^rneboe suggests t h a t S t r i n d b e r g saw t h e a t e r ' s main enemy emerging from t h e a t e r i t s e l f . He quotes an essay by S t r i n d b e r g , which he r e f e r s to as "The Star A c t o r , " i n which the Swedish d r a m a t i s t ' s p o s i t i o n i s remarkably c l o s e to Brecht's f o r t y years l a t e r : "The t h e a t e r ' s most dangerous enemy i s and w i l l be the o p e r e t t a . I grew up d u r i n g the op e r e t t a ' s day of g l o r y , when the arch-demon Offenbach was d r i v i n g humanity mad ..." (132). T h i s contemptible genre i s accused of being the hatchery of t h a t e q u a l l y contemptible and dangerous c r e a t u r e , the " s t a r . " Bj^rneboe shares, too, S t r i n d b e r g ' s contempt f o r stage t r i c k s , e s p e c i a l l y a f t e r h i s own experiences a t the B e r l i n e r Ensemble ( S t r i n d b e r g : "The hands t o r e the handkerchief i n p i e c e s , while the face was s m i l i n g . Today we c a l l t h a t a t r i c k . . . . s p h i n x - l i k e s m i l e s , a r t f u l pauses, 148 f a l s e e x i t s , arm movements, f l i r t i n g with the p u b l i c " ) . 1 1 The p o i n t i s t h a t l e a r n i n g o f t e n means f o r g e t t i n g o l d methods and o l d e f f e c t s . And because something succeeds with a p u b l i c does not at a l l imply t h a t a r t i s p r e s e n t . The " s t a r " uses the winning t r i c k s over and over. And when the p u b l i c becomes so taken i n by a l l t h i s t r i c k e r y , t h a t through the years i t cannot even see such performers a g i n g — t h i s i s a phenomenon t h a t S t r i n d b e r g d e s c r i b e s as " w i t c h c r a f t " (133). S t r i n d b e r g , too, was concerned with the negative value of s u s t a i n i n g p e t t y i l l u s i o n s f o r a t h e a t e r p u b l i c . I f Bj^rneboe took p l e a s u r e and comfort from S t r i n d b e r g ' s contempt f o r s t a r s , as w e l l as h i s advocacy of committed and c o l l e c t i v e work i n the t h e a t e r — h e a l s o p a i d t r i b u t e to h i s moral f i b e r . In "Theater Tomorrow" he c r i t i c i z e s the A b s u r d i s t s f o r having missed t h e i r chance at r e t r i e v i n g v i t a l modern ideas which they "cou l d only have found with Brecht," but h i s primary c r i t i c i s m i s t h i s : t h a t though t h e i r g e n e r a t i o n had seen the e v i l , and the shadow the world l i v e s under i n the age a f t e r Hiroshima and Auschwitz, they l a c k a d r i v e f o r j u s t i c e "which i s necessary t o g i v e a p l a y l a s t i n g v a l u e . " He somewhat b l u n t l y t r a c e s the e n t i r e s c h o o l of the Absurd t o S t r i n d b e r g ' s mummy i n the c l o s e t , the scene i n which a human being emerges on stage t o speak and a c t l i k e a p a r r o t i n The Ghost Sonata (Spoksonaten). Even i f a red l i n e can be found running from the A b s u r d i s t s back to S t r i n d b e r g ' s 149 i n k w e l l , the A b s u r d i s t s have a l s o chosen to overlook h i s r e l i g i o u s temperament—an unconventional r e l i g i o u s temperament: "he b e l i e v e d i n God as Brecht d i d i n Lenin. They both b e l i e v e d i n j u s t i c e — h e r e or beyond" (OT 157). Because the Theater of the Absurd l a c k e d the d r i v e toward j u s t i c e , because i t was not prepared to "break i l l u s i o n s " — t h e s c h o o l of the Absurd i s v i r t u a l l y d i s m i s s e d by Bj^rneboe. The ' A b s u r d i s t s are r a r e l y mentioned by name i n h i s w r i t i n g s on t h e a t e r . Only Durrenmatt w i l l m e r i t high p r a i s e , as a d r a m a t i s t who can t r a n s f o r m pure i n t e l l e c t i n t o "pure p h y s i c a l i t y . " Other comparisons might be drawn between S t r i n d b e r g and Bj^rneboe, as the l a t t e r i s o f t e n a s t r o n g "presence" i n h i s own work, not only i n h i s f i c t i o n but i n the p l a y s as w e l l . In Bj#rneboe's novel t r i l o g y , the H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y , the n a r r a t o r seems to meld together with the author Bj^Trneboe, and i n f a c t , a number of Norwegian c r i t i c s have f a l l e n i n t o the snare of completely i d e n t i f y i n g the two. And even the p l a y Semmelweis i s dominated by a c h a r a c t e r who a t times appears to l i v e a l i f e with so many p a r a l l e l s to Bj^zfrneboe' s own t h a t many of the l i n e s would f i t w e l l i n both the mouths of the p l a y w r i g h t and h i s h i s t o r i c a l c h a r a c t e r . The same has o f t e n been s a i d of many of the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r s i n S t r i n d b e r g ' s novels and p l a y s — t h e s o - c a l l e d a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l o n e s — i n which the v a r i o u s p r o t a g o n i s t s going under the names Johann, A x e l , S t r i n d b e r g , or the 150 Stranger are c o n s i d e r e d t r a n s p a r e n t masks f o r the author h i m s e l f . Yet i n any work of f i c t i o n t h e r e i s a p u r p o s e f u l d i s t a n c e between the r e a l author and the i m p l i e d a u t h o r — a n d both of these w r i t e r s manipulate both t h a t c l o s e n e s s and t h a t d i s t a n c e to g r e a t e f f e c t i n t h e i r n o v e l s . That i s t h e i r a r t . T h i s goes a l l the more f o r dramatic c h a r a c t e r s : For example i n the case of S t r i n d b e r g ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s i n The Father (Fadren), or i n E r i k XIV, or i n To Damascus ( T i l l Damaskus) ,, or i n Bj^rneboe's Semmelweis. I f these c h a r a c t e r s are not g i v e n the autonomy from t h e i r authors they deserve, they cannot be f u l l y c r e a t e d on the stage. A s t r i k i n g s i m i l a r i t y between S t r i n d b e r g and Bj^rneboe i s apparent when one examines the way the s p i r i t u a l systems they adopted a f f e c t e d t h e i r work. T h e i r works, h i g h l y engaged with t h e i r own times i n s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l q u e s t i o n s , are a t the same time deeply steeped i n myth, C h r i s t i a n and pagan mythology, Greek mythology, and Jewish and Old Testament mythology and p a r a b l e s , so t h a t the time-bound s e t t i n g s of t h e i r works seem to become s p e c i a l backdrops f o r t i m e l e s s c o n f l i c t s . S t r i n d b e r g ' s s p i r i t u a l " system"—comprised of elements of Theosophy, Swedenborg, Buddhism and mystic C h r i s t i a n i t y — h e found to be a l o g i c a l e x t e n s i o n of h i s p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l views. S o c i a l i s m as a d o c t r i n e was an e x p r e s s i o n of the s p i r i t of C h r i s t i a n i t y , whether the s o c i a l i s t s had come to admit i t yet or n o t . 1 2 Bj^rneboe's Anthroposophy, h i s profound grasp of the Old 151 Testament and h i s understanding of the G n o s t i c s , were submerged somewhat i n h i s years of i n c r e a s i n g engagement, but they remain only j u s t beneath the s u r f a c e i n e v e r y t h i n g t h a t he wrote. They pr o v i d e an i n t e l l e c t u a l and s p i r i t u a l f o u n d a t i o n f o r him d u r i n g the years i n which he i s s e a r c h i n g f o r an i d e o l o g y capable of responding to the urgent q u e s t i o n s r a i s e d by the f a i l u r e s of the p r e v a i l i n g i d e o l o g i e s of the West: C h r i s t i a n i t y , free-market c a p i t a l i s m , l i b e r a l i s m , communism. In the s i x t i e s and s e v e n t i e s , Bj^rneboe w i l l attempt to breathe new l i f e i n t o anarchism. His methods i n p u t t i n g i t i n t o p r a c t i c e r e c a l l the great " S t r i n d b e r g feud." That event, which occupied n e a r l y a l l of the Swede's powers d u r i n g the l a s t t h r e e years of h i s l i f e , was a European c u l t u r a l and p o l i t i c a l b a t t l e of the h i g h e s t o r d e r . During the "feud," S t r i n d b e r g plunged once again i n t o the s o c i a l arena to a t t a c k the c l a s s system, the emerging m i l i t a r i s m and a n t i - R u s s i a n chauvinism i n Sweden, the p r e s s — w h i c h was engaging i n hero-worship of a r t i s t s who, i n h i s view, had reduced themselves to f l a t t e r e r s of the p o w e r f u l — a n d the h y p o c r i s y of h i s o l d l i b e r a l a l l i e s i n the face of a l l t h i s . B j/z>rneboe' s polemics a g a i n s t p e r c e i v e d i m p e r i a l i s t i c c o l d war p o l i c i e s of the super powers, as w e l l as h i s b a t t l e s with the a u t h o r i t i e s of both the e d u c a t i o n and c r i m i n a l j u s t i c e e s t a b l i s h m e n t s i n h i s own country, bear the stamp of t h i s k i n d of c u l t u r e feud. There i s the case of the o b s c e n i t y t r i a l a g a i n s t him, as w e l l as other appearances 152 i n the docket t o answer f o r charges he made p u b l i c l y a g a i n s t the c o u r t s and p r i s o n s or to defend c o l l e a g u e s , and s t i l l f u r t h e r appearances and testimony to defend h i s work a g a i n s t a d e n i g r a t i n g a t t a c k i n P o l i t i k e n . 1 3 There were wide-ranging p u b l i c debates f o l l o w i n g p u b l i c a t i o n of h i s novels Jonas, Under a Harder Heaven and The E v i l Shepherd. A l l these p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l b a t t l e s might be s a i d t o be an i n h e r i t e d l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n i n Sc a n d i n a v i a . One other important predecessor from the l a s t century i s Norway's own Hans Jaeger, a l i t e r a r y p o l e m i c i s t whose From a C h r i s t i a n i a Bohehne (Fra K r i s t i a n i a Boh^men) was c o n f i s c a t e d by the a u t h o r i t i e s , and r e s u l t e d i n h i s imprisonment. But perhaps the g r e a t e s t example of t h i s " c u l t u r e feud" t r a d i t i o n i s t h a t of the S t r i n d b e r g feud. In " S t r i n d b e r g the F e r t i l e " ("Strindberg-den f r u k t b a r e " , 1963) Bj^rneboe begins by c i t i n g the S t r i n d b e r g feud. He w r i t e s of S t r i n d b e r g , "His l a s t o u t b u r s t of rage assured him of the o p p o r t u n i t y t o d i e an unpopular man. He d i d not become a sacred n a t i o n a l t r e a s u r e while he l i v e d " (BOM 190). In t h i s essay, he s e t s S t r i n d b e r g up a g a i n s t Ibsen. I t becomes immediately c l e a r t h a t t h e r e i s no c o n t e s t , i f one i s l o o k i n g f o r a d r a m a t i s t who can s t i l l open new doors of p e r c e p t i o n i n our own c e n t u r y — a g a i n , i f i t i s not Bre c h t . Of Ibsen, he says: Ibsen's p h i l o s o p h i c a l p o i n t of departure c o n s i s t s of i n h e r i t e d moral i d e a l s and no t i o n s about i d e a l s — a n d h i s e n t i r e l i f e he w i l l t h i n k along the same l i n e s : The world i s ordered, moral, l o g i c a l . He won't have i t any other 153 way. In the same way, h i s whole d r a m a t u r g i c a l and t e c h n i c a l p o i n t of departure i s i n h e r i t e d and t r a d i t i o n a l . He got h i s dramatic technique from S c r i b e , among o t h e r s , and he has gotten the fundamental i d e a of the bourgeois drama, the d i n i n g room as the c e n t e r of the world, from Hebbel.... Ibsen concludes and c l o s e s an epoch, a s y s t e m a t i c a l l y ordered a r c h i v e of a cosmos. When he comes to the p o i n t where reason no longer s u f f i c e s , he uses a l o n g - t e s t e d m y s t i f i c a t i o n technique, both s c e n i c a l l y and p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y : He g i v e s a glimpse down i n t o an i r r a t i o n a l and Norwegian abyss, while he p r o f o u n d l y and ambiguously adds t h a t God and m o r a l i t y are i n f a c t down the r e as w e l l ; f o r e v e r y t h i n g has a reasonable meaning, above a l l those t h i n g s we understand nothing about.... Heaven, H e l l and the abyss must be j u s t as w e l l ordered as an o f f i c e i n p o l i c e headquarters i n Skien. The world order i s an a l l embracing a r c h i v e of j u s t i c e . I t i s the bourgeois world which comes to a c l o s e with Ibsen. (BOM 192-93) S t r i n d b e r g , on the other hand, has an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t view of t h i n g s , though h i s i n h e r i t a n c e may be the same as Ibsen's. He examines, observes and d e s c r i b e s . He i s f a r from being as " p e r f e c t " as Ibsen, but i n Bj^rneboe's e s t i m a t i o n , he uses h i s l i t e r a r y i n h e r i t a n c e to begin t h i n g s e n t i r e l y new: He gave f r e e p l a y to h i s i n h e r i t a n c e , he took i t f u r t h e r , he developed i t . His world view i s changing, i t i s i n t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , he c o n t r a d i c t s h i m s e l f , he changes both h i s content and h i s dramatic form; he was the f i r s t to i n t r o d u c e the most b r u t a l n a t u r a l i s m , and he was the f i r s t to break with n a t u r a l i s m a g a i n . U n t i l s h o r t l y before h i s death he was occupied with p r a c t i c a l t h e a t e r , with t r a n s f o r m i n g t h e a t e r , with e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n . In terms of pure t h e a t r i c a l i t y , S t r i n d b e r g has been an i n s p i r a t i o n , whereas Ibsen has been a burden.... (193) Here, c l e a r l y , i s a common denominator f o r S t r i n d b e r g , B r e c h t — a n d Bj/Jrneboe. Even i f i t i s t r u e t h a t a l l the t h e a t r i c a l r u l e s and i n h e r i t e d t h e o r i e s f o r w r i t i n g p l a y s 154 and performing on stage can be broken, t h e r e i s only one r u l e which cannot be ign o r e d : i n words, i n a c t i o n s , between c h a r a c t e r s , between performers, between performers and p u b l i c — e v e r y t h i n g must be s t r u g g l e . Theater i s not only the most s o c i a l , but i n t h i s sense a l s o the most a n t i - s o c i a l of the a r t s . I t i s p o t e n t i a l l y the most p o l e m i c a l . Bj^rneboe intended t o embark on a " H i s t o r y of Freedom" as a d i a l e c t i c a l response to h i s own H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y . Much of i t , t h i s time, was to have been i n the form of drama. He co n s i d e r e d Semmelweis h i s f i r s t e f f o r t i n t h a t d i r e c t i o n . 1 4 / A p a r t i a l l y completed p l a y on the l i f e of American a n a r c h i s t Emma Goldman was to have been p i v o t a l : a l a r g e fragment, Red Emma (Rjtide Emma), has been p u b l i s h e d . 1 5 B a r e l y begun, t h i s H i s t o r y of.Freedom was to have been the s t o r y of the c o n t r i b u t i o n of s o c i e t y ' s unrepentant h e r e t i c s , freedom's most uncompromising p a r t i s a n s . But i t c o u l d be s a i d of a l l the p l a y s which Bj/frneboe e v e n t u a l l y came to w r i t e , a f t e r a long s e l f - i m p o s e d a p p r e n t i c e s h i p , i n a la n d comparatively s h o r t of t h e a t r i c a l r e s o u r c e s and not h i s t o r i c a l l y the most f r i e n d l y p l a c e to i t s i n n o v a t o r s , t h a t they are the products of an ongoing s t r u g g l e with s o c i e t y . They demand a response. They are s t u d i e s i n the a r t of c o n t r o v e r s y . They are l i n k s not only i n an extended H i s t o r y of Freedom, but of a polemic of freedom. 155 5. Although Brecht and S t r i n d b e r g s u p p l i e d Bj^rneboe with what he needed by way of new forms, even together they d i d not f u l f i l l a l l t h a t he r e q u i r e d of the drama. In the f i r s t p l a c e , though they were modern, they are by and l a r g e w r i t e r s of the p r e - n u c l e a r age. In the new age, a sense of shared d e s t i n y must take the foreground. The case f o r a renewed, almost e n t i r e l y new i d e a of compassion, must be a r t i c u l a t e d . T h e r e f o r e , i f not Ibsen, and i f not Brecht or S t r i n d b e r g — w h o then? In the essay "The Jungle Behind The Night of the Iguana" ("Skogen bak Iguananatten", 1962) Bj^rneboe assesses the c o n t r i b u t i o n of Tennessee W i l l i a m s (OT 103-10). As i s o f t e n the case, the comments he makes on the f i g u r e he h i m s e l f admires r e f l e c t h i s own s t r u g g l e s and g o a l s . There are p l a c e s i n the essay where the p a r a l l e l comes so c l o s e , t h a t he c o u l d be w r i t i n g about h i m s e l f . When he w r i t e s about W i l l i a m s — u n l i k e h i s works on S t r i n d b e r g and B r e c h t - - a l l q u e s t i o n s of e s t h e t i c s , method and dramaturgy are put to the s i d e . Content becomes the s o l e f o c u s . The a r t i s t ' s statement, the message, i s taken up l i k e a cause. The cause, i n t h i s case, though, i s not only t h a t of the w r i t e r h i m s e l f , i t i s the cause of the o u t s i d e r s : c r i m i n a l s , drug a d d i c t s , m i s f i t s , h e r e t i c s and ou t c a s t s t h a t i n h a b i t the p l a y s of Tennessee W i l l i a m s . 156 Remarking on W i l l i a m s ' e a r l y smashing success i n the United S t a t e s , he notes t h a t a t a c e r t a i n p o i n t i t seemed as i f a l l America turned a g a i n s t him. The a t t a c k s came from a l l s i d e s . In the media W i l l i a m s was a p p r a i s e d as "unhealthy," " n e g a t i v e , " "un-American"—he "rooted around i n the d i r t . " The a t t a c k on h i s view of American l i f e became so acute, w r i t e s Bjvarneboe, t h a t he f i n a l l y appeared to crack, announcing t h a t h i s "negative p e r i o d was past" (103). Despite t h i s , Bj^rneboe judges Night of the Iguana to have been W i l l i a m s ' s r e a l answer to the onslaught. He c o n s i d e r s i t , along with Orpheus Descending and Suddenly  La s t Summer, to be one of the American p l a y w r i g h t ' s "so v e r e i g n masterpieces." W i l l i a m s ' s fundamental theme i s " c r u e l t y i n three v a r i a t i o n s " : the c r u e l t y of humanity, of nature and of God. He senses t h a t Williams's encounter with the world has been one long breakdown—but a breakdown t h a t has i t s good grounds. W i l l i a m s i s a post-Hiroshima and post-Auschwitz w r i t e r . On t h i s p o i n t , Bj/frneboe comes f o r t h with a remark t h a t encapsulates h i s own view of "mental h e a l t h " : "He who goes about today with good nerves, 'healthy' and p o s i t i v e , he s u f f e r s not o n l y of a d u l l e d i n t e l l e c t , but of t h a t which i s worse: a d u l l e d h e a r t " (104). He c i t e s Orpheus Descending, i n which the poet V a l — t h e o u t s i d e r — s u f f e r s a d i a b o l i c a l death a t the hands of the good c i t i z e n s . The p l a y i s s e t up with a g a l l e r y of s u f f e r i n g s o u l s , too, however. For t h e i r s i n s they s u f f e r even more at the hands of the people who have 157 "never broken down, have never been lo c k e d up, have never been out on the s t r e e t , and have never seen the w o r l d — a n d are t h e r e f o r e without compassion" (106). He c i t e s a l s o the young woman i n Suddenly La s t Summer who moves always at the edge of the m a d h o u s e — a f t e r having e s c o r t e d her wealthy poet c o u s i n to the underdeveloped world, which he uses as i n s p i r a t i o n t o w r i t e one poem a year. His Western a t t i t u d e s brought on h i s own death, to which she was s o l e w i t n ess. Bjjzfrneboe l a t c h e s onto the c e n t r a l metaphor of t h i s p l a y i n p a r t i c u l a r . I f i n c r e a s i n g numbers of people l a c k the compassion to stop the r e p e a t i n g p a t t e r n of c r u e l t y and c a t a s t r o p h e , the q u e s t i o n then becomes how to get the message across to so many he a r t s f r o z e n by the Medusa c a l l e d "the normal." Night of the Iguana c o n t a i n s a f i g u r e t h a t might both p r o v i d e an answer, and c r e a t e some apprehension as w e l l . The c e n t r a l f i g u r e here i s a broken man, a p r i e s t — a defrocked p r i e s t to be sure—who i n h i s present occupation as a tour guide takes h i s congr e g a t i o n of decent, middle-aged American l a d i e s to the worst h e l l - h o l e s i n Mexico. As he leads h i s congr e g a t i o n along a path t h a t he intends w i l l b r i n g them to some v i s i o n , he i s i n f a c t a very good p r i e s t . In the end, of course, he pays the p r i c e which the world o f t e n exacts from such people. Bound by f o r c e , t h r e a t e n e d with the mental h o s p i t a l , he i s drawn towards o b l i v i o n i n the shark i n f e s t e d sea. He has, ac c o r d i n g t o Bj^rneboe, t r i e d t o answer the q u e s t i o n s , "How 158 can I overcome the world?" and, "How can I l i v e i n the world?" He has found the answer to n e i t h e r (OT 108). The q u e s t i o n s which Bj^rneboe a t t r i b u t e s to W i l l i a m s ' s d e f r o c k e d p r i e s t are echoed throughout h i s work. The c o u r t o f f i c i a l or "Servant of J u s t i c e , " the n a r r a t o r of Bj^rneboe's novel t r i l o g y , g rapples with these q u e s t i o n s as he moves through the t e r r a i n of Europe, c r e a t i n g as he does a s c r i p t u r e of t r u t h . In the plays,, the f i g u r e of the p r i e s t emerges i n v a r i o u s f a s h i o n s . The p r i s o n c h a p l a i n i n Many Happy Returns, though he f u n c t i o n s as one of Bj^rneboe's well-meaning "guardian-types" to the p o i n t of being f a r c i c a l , i s l i k e w i s e breaking down, and c e a s e l e s s l y consuming t r a n q u i l i z e r s . T h i s i s of course because as a member of two e s s e n t i a l l y a u t h o r i t a r i a n o r g a n i z a t i o n s , the Church and the p r i s o n system, he has to betray h i s c a l l . In the end he asks f o r f o r g i v e n e s s i n the c e l l of the young, hanged p r i s o n e r . Perhaps t h e r e i s a b u i l t - i n c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n being both a m i n i s t e r of the f a i t h , and an imparter of v i s i o n . T h i s p r i e s t would have to be defrocked before he c o u l d become the l a t t e r . In The B i r d Lovers, i t i s i n f a c t a d e f r o c k e d p r i e s t who, though he o r i g i n a l l y i ntends to take p a r t i n the e x e c u t i o n of former war c r i m i n a l s , f i n d s h i m s e l f appointed by h i s f e l l o w p a r t i s a n s as defense c o u n s e l . He i s thereby f o r c e d to launch the " c o u r t " i n t o a c h a l l e n g i n g i n q u i r y on the o r i g i n s of e v i l — f o r those he i s defending are products of an e v i l system, and who c r e a t e d t h a t ? In Semmelweis the doctor 159 h i m s e l f i s a k i n d of "defrocked p r i e s t . " F i r e d as c h i e f p h y s i c i a n , p e rsecuted by the a u t h o r i t i e s , he f i n d s t h a t h i s teachings on a n t i s e p t i c techniques are s c o r n f u l l y r e f e r r e d t o by h i s c o l l e a g u e s as a "new r e l i g i o n , a s a l v a t i o n d o c t r i n e " (SS 228 ) . Taking i n t o account Bj0xneboe's s e l f - d e c l a r e d r o l e as a w r i t e r , i t might be s a i d t h a t these p e c u l i a r p r i e s t s can serve as metaphors f o r the author and h i s t a s k . The poet too must take h i s congregation on the p i l g r i m a g e i n t o e v i l , as V i r g i l l e d Dante, and to consciousness of t h e i r own m o r t a l i t y , so t h a t they w i l l have a chance to see. One . must come f i r s t t o t h a t "moment of t r u t h " and v i s i o n , before he can r e a l l y see the l i g h t of the "moment of freedom." B^errneboe s i n g l e s out a speech by W i l l i a m s ' s p r i e s t / t o u r - g u i d e which, f o r him, sums up the success of Tennessee W i l l i a m s and h i s work. I t i s quoted here a t l e n g t h , s i n c e Bj^frneboe i n d i c a t e s t h a t i t i l l u s t r a t e s an a r t i s t ' s h i g h e s t g o a l s : The whole world ... God's world has been the range of my t r a v e l s . I haven't stuck to the schedules of the brochures and I've always allowed the ones t h a t were w i l l i n g to see, to see 1 — t h e underworlds of a l l p l a c e s , and i f they had h e a r t s to be touched, f e e l i n g s t o f e e l with, I gave them a p r i c e l e s s chance to f e e l and be touched. And none w i l l ever f o r g e t i t , none of them, ever, never! ( W i l l i a m s 83) Once a l l the q u e s t i o n s of method and e s t h e t i c s are put a s i d e , then comes the q u e s t i o n of v a l u e s — w h i c h a r t i t s e l f must always come back t o . B j/frneboe' s m i s s i o n as an a r t i s t 160 i s e ncapsulated i n these l i n e s . 6. Bj^rneboe had matured as a t h e a t e r t h i n k e r and e s s a y i s t somewhat before he reached m a t u r i t y as a p l a y w r i g h t . T h i s f a c t i s i n keeping with the v a s t m a j o r i t y of h i s undertakings, even s t r i c t l y l i t e r a r y ones. A p e r i o d of r e s e a r c h always came f i r s t . He a c t u a l l y made h i s f i r s t attempts q u i t e e a r l y , however, while he was s t i l l a teacher at the S t e i n e r School i n the e a r l y f i f t i e s . The f i r s t completed p l a y s were f o r c h i l d r e n , to be performed and seen by c h i l d r e n . These s h o r t p i e c e s were "Joseph and His B r o t h e r s " ("Joseph og hans brgfdre") and "Raneiro or The Candle's Flame" ("Raneiro, e l l e r L j u s l a g e n " ) . 1,6 He produced these p l a y s with h i s p u p i l s , and they have been produced again by S t e i n e r School students i n l a t e r y ears, but they do not form p a r t of h i s c o l l e c t e d p l a y s . Theater, l i k e myths, was f o r him a t the time a means to reach c h i l d r e n i n a manner t h a t was d i r e c t , spontaneous, a way of making them f e e l p a r t of a continuous c u l t u r a l h e r i t a g e . "Raneiro" i s of s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t , as i t d i s p l a y s many of h i s e a r l y concerns, while i t bears c e r t a i n t r a i t s which w i l l come to bloom d u r i n g h i s l a t e r development as a d r a m a t i s t . I t i s a small e p i c p l a y , s e t p a r t l y i n I t a l y , most n o t a b l y i n the Tuscany which w i l l come to r e p r e s e n t so much i n more mature works, but i t t r a v e r s e s the 161 Mediterranean. I t i s the s t o r y of a former w a r r i o r d u r i n g the crusades, who leaves the wars to c a r r y the flame which burns i n C h r i s t ' s tomb i n Jerusalem a l l the way back to I t a l y . When a troubador asks the repentant f i g h t e r how one who c a r r i e s a l i g h t can keep i t l i t , he responds: "You must have no other concern, no other happiness than the f i r e . Day and n i g h t the f i r e must be your whole l i f e " (UMH 143) . His f i r s t s e r i o u s e f f o r t s were the dramatic v e r s i o n s of h i s novels Before the Cock Crows (F^r hanen g a l e r ) and The E v i l Shepherd (Den Onde hyrden). Both were intended to be r a t h e r n a t u r a l i s t i c i n form, and both were e v e n t u a l l y d i s c a r d e d , a l t h o u g h the l a t t e r would e v e n t u a l l y , a f t e r becoming a s u c c e s s f u l n o v e l , once again supply the m a t e r i a l f o r a p l a y — t h i s time the e p i c - s t y l e Many Happy Returns  ( T i l lykke med dagen). The same f a t e was i n s t o r e f o r a comedy he completed, and which was a p p a r e n t l y o f f e r e d two p r o d u c t i o n s : No One Has Seen Us (Ingen har s e t t oss) ,\7.: His s u c c e s s f u l attempts, by h i s own e s t i m a t i o n , come a f t e r h i s encounter with the B e r l i n e r Ensemble, h i s immersion i n Brecht's work, and h i s own l i t e r a r y i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n t o t h e a t e r i n the e a r l y s i x t i e s . THE PLAYS Many Happy Returns ( T i l lykke med dagen, 1965) was to be 162 Bj/zJrneboe1 s breakthrough on a major Norwegian stage. I t was a complete reworking of the m a t e r i a l from The E v i l Shepherd and a s e r i e s of essays which together comprise h i s "J'accuse" d i r e c t e d a t the p r i s o n and l e g a l systems. They were charged by Bj^rneboe with the d e s t r u c t i o n of young l i v e s t h a t might have otherwise h e l d much p o t e n t i a l . The charges were s e r i o u s , as he s e i z e d upon one s p e c i f i c case, t h a t of a young p r i s o n e r who had hanged h i m s e l f a f t e r the a u t h o r i t i e s had been warned by medical experts t h a t he c o u l d not t o l e r a t e imprisonment. The charges amounted to the a c c u s a t i o n t h a t the a u t h o r i t i e s were k i l l i n g young inmates d i r e c t l y A f t e r the novel was p u b l i s h e d , one of Norway's esteemed p l a y w r i g h t s , Helge Krog, another f i g h t e r i n the s o c i a l arena, met with Bj^rneboe to d i s c u s s a 1 q c o l l a b o r a t i o n t o put The E v i l Shepherd on the stage. Krog was a i l i n g a t the time, and d i e d not long a f t e r w a r d . Only one of Krog's scenes remains i n the f i n i s h e d v e r s i o n . The s t o r y i s t h a t of a young reform-school graduate, Tonnie, who becomes a r e p e a t i n g o f f e n d e r , but n e v e r t h e l e s s cannot t o l e r a t e imprisonment. About the time one of h i s f r i e n d s i n j a i l hangs h i m s e l f , he h i m s e l f i s l e t out on p a r o l e . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , t h i n g s are not easy f o r him a f t e r having been stamped by h i s term i n p r i s o n . He i s r e j e c t e d by h i s g i r l f r i e n d , who has a l s o been taught her l e s s o n by the a u t h o r i t i e s , and who wants nothing more than comfort and r e s p e c t a b i l i t y from l i f e . He i s turned down f o r employment. His mother, who sent him to the reformatory i n 163 the f i r s t p l a c e years before to g i v e h e r s e l f the freedom to c a r r y on a r e l a t i o n s h i p with a man, a l s o w i l l not have him. Tonnie i s taken i n , however, by h i s f r i e n d R,0dtopp ("Red"), a cunning d w e l l e r of the s t r e e t s . Together they p l a n a job, which w i l l a l s o a l l o w Tonnie to take h i s revenge on o l d Padda, the reform s c h o o l teacher who was f i r s t t o p l a c e Tonnie i n i s o l a t i o n . A f t e r the two c o n s p i r a t o r s complete t h e i r "mugging" of Padda i n h i s home—they toy with him c r u e l l y , but the damage i s m i n i m a l — T o n n i e ' s g i r l f r i e n d K a r i p l a y s the r o l e of a well-adapted c i t i z e n and betrays him, p r o f e s s i n g a l l the while to having cared a g r e a t d e a l f o r him. Tonnie, back i n h i s j a i l c e l l , makes the c h o i c e h i s mate took before him, and takes h i s own l i f e — a s the p r i s o n doctor had p r e d i c t e d . One can wonder i f t h e r e i s not a t r a c e here of an o l d t h e a t r i c a l t r a d i t i o n which goes back to E n g l i s h melodramas such as T i c k e t of Leave Man, i n which a branded c r i m i n a l cannot get a second chance. S t i l l , t h e r e i s much new i n i t . I t s form was a t o t a l breakthrough f o r Norwegian t h e a t e r . I t i s a p i e c e of music t h e a t e r , i n which songs are s et up to c o n t r a s t and c o n f l i c t with the a c t i o n . The scene sequence too i s c o n t r i v e d so t h a t the scenes s t r i k e a c o n t r a s t with each other. There i s one scene t h a t i s p o r t r a y e d t w i c e , i n c o n t r a s t i n g moods. In Act I, scene 7, Tonnie f i n d s h i s g i r l K a r i , who i s being kept on a t i g h t l e a s h by the a u t h o r i t i e s . She expresses r e l u c t a n c e t o go 164 back with Tonnie. Yet the scene i s f u l l of hope, stemming from K a r i ' s i n t e n t i o n s t o l i v e a b r i g h t e r l i f e , to be "a decent person, with a house and a home" (SS 25). Here i t i s c a l l e d the "Pink Scene". L a t e r the same scene, word f o r word, i s pla y e d a g a i n , but with a f o r e b o d i n g of K a r i ' s b e t r a y a l — b a s e d upon these same p e r s o n a l goals she has, which f o r m e r l y seemed q u i t e normal and innoc e n t . T h i s time i t i s e v i d e n t t h a t the woman i s broken, and i s more l o y a l to the a u t h o r i t i e s and "the Joneses" than t o her own need f o r l o v e . The d i s t a n c e between them cannot be overcome. Tonnie's f u r y s u r f a c e s . I t i s now Act I, scene 10: "The Green Scene." Suddenly the d i a l o g u e g i v e s up a Munch-like p o r t r a y a l of anguish and i s o l a t i o n . Yet i t i s word f o r word the same as the "Pink Scene." T h i s type of c o u n t e r p o i n t , or contrast-method, i s the t h i n g t h a t prevents Tragedy from seeping i n t o the p l a y . A f t e r K a r i t u r n s Tonnie i n to the a u t h o r i t i e s , she breaks i n t o , "0 yes 0 yes 0 y e s ! ; / I ' l l get a k i t c h e n y e t ! " (58). Many of the songs i n the p l a y are l y r i c a l — t h e y are e l e g i e s of a k i n d . "Flowers f o r Genet" i s one example. There i s a l s o the r i t u a l - l i k e " E l e g i e f o r a Hanged Bugger" ( " E l e g i f o r en hengt s o p e r " ) , sung by K a r i , Tonnie and h i s mephistophelian f r i e n d Red. The scene i s the f u n e r a l of hanged p r i s o n e r 613: We found him and we c a r r y him As h i s mother c a r r i e d him before Pure, u n t a i n t e d as a lamb We found him and we have him here 165 Let him be grass and wind and t r e e s And r o s e h i p thorns and r o a n b e r r i e s He was turned nineteen y e a r s , and t a l l We found him behind a p r i s o n w a l l A l l - n a t u r e , p l e a s e take him i n ! Our youngest b r o t h e r , take care of him. (50) Although the f i g u r e s of the C h a p l a i n , the P r i s o n D i r e c t o r and the other members of o f f i c i a l d o m are d e s c r i b e d i n a c o o l , c l a s s i c a l - c o m i c manner—an approach which Bj^rneboe uses o f t e n , and which r e p r e s e n t s both some of the weakest and s t r o n g e s t p o i n t s i n h i s w o r k — c o n t r a d i c t i o n s show i n t h e i r a t t i t u d e s towards the events which keep them i n t e r e s t i n g the e n t i r e way. T h i s sense of c o n t r a d i c t i o n reaches comic h e i g h t s i n the f i g u r e of the employer, whom the a u t h o r i t i e s are encouraging to g i v e Tonnie work. When the Employer, a tombstone mason, i s t o l d t h a t Tonnie has been g e t t i n g t r a i n i n g and i s "very good with h i s hands," he r e a c t s with astonishment: "With h i s hands!" The employer e x p l a i n s t h a t h i s v o c a t i o n i s f i r s t and foremost t h a t of a poet. I t i s h i s e x p e c t a t i o n t h a t p r i s o n s should produce good poets: "And so many poets have been i n p r i s o n , t h a t a reasonable stay i n p r i s o n a l r e a d y i m p l i e s t h a t a man i s h a l f way to being a poet ... What poets up t i l l now haven't sat behind p r i s o n w a l l s . I need only mention: V i l l o n ! " He goes on to name Oscar Wilde, Genet, K o e s t l e r , Dostoyevsky, Dante, V e r l a i n e , Pound and Behan (31-32). He then s i n g s an e l e g y t o Behan: "At Brendan Behans B i e r " ("Ved Brendan Behans Ba r e " ) . The p o e t i c s t o n e - c u t t e r 166 f i n a l l y c o n f r o n t s the p r i s o n d i r e c t o r with the f a c t t h a t v a r i o u s poets and c h i l d r e n have been destroyed by imprisonment as w e l l , to the d i r e c t o r ' s embarrassment, ending the t i r a d e with h i s remark, "I'm s o r r y gentlemen, I'm s o r r y . But you've done nothing f o r t h i s young man which would have prepared him to be a stone mason" (31-34). Another i n t e r e s t i n g study i n c o n t r a d i c t i o n i s the tense, p i l l - p o p p i n g p r i s o n C h a p l a i n , whose f i n a l long monologue i n Tonnie's c e l l , f o r him, i s a c l o s e scrape with a deep t r u t h : unbeknownst to him, Tonnie, to.whom he i s speaking, i s dead. He begins with the sense t h a t C h r i s t , who d i e d between t h i e v e s , i s c l o s e r to Tonnie than to h i m s e l f . He attempts to o f f e r Tonnie c o n s o l a t i o n f i r s t , then asks f o r Tonnie's understanding of h i s own p o s i t i o n , and f i n a l l y , asks f o r f o r g i v e n e s s . Of course, the C h a p l a i n ' s deeper understanding of the f o r c e s t h a t are p u l l i n g him a p a r t cannot a t t h i s l a t e j u n c t u r e change the shape of events. The p r i e s t here s t i l l has h i s f r o c k on. He has h i s p l a c e i n the h i e r a r c h i c a l apparatus, and f o r a man such as he, t h e r e can be only one outcome i n the choice between conscience and duty. The B i r d Lovers ( F u g l e e l s k e r n e , 1966) i s an i n t e r n a t i o n a l p l a y i n both theme and s e t t i n g , and i n many ways f a l l s s q u a r e l y i n the B r e c h t i a n t r a d i t i o n . The 1966 p r o d u c t i o n a t the N a t i o n a l Theater i n Oslo was p a r t l y the r e s u l t of the work of Brecht c o l l a b o r a t o r s . 2 0 , . The 167 c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n human nature t h a t i t p o r t r a y s — t h e t h i r s t f o r j u s t i c e versus the w i l l i n g n e s s to be bought f o r the r i g h t p r i c e — i s brought to the h i g h e s t p o i n t of t e n s i o n before the a c t i o n of the p l a y comes to a c l o s e . Bj^rrneboe 1 s p o i n t of departure was a p p a r e n t l y a s t o r y he had read i n a l o c a l I t a l i a n newspaper. When an a s s o c i a t i o n of German " b i r d - f r i e n d s " — t h e n a t i o n a l i t y i s i n f a c t never named s p e c i f i c a l l y , but i s somewhat o b v i o u s — d e c i d e s to b r i n g t h e i r t o u r i s t t r a de to a s m a l l I t a l i a n v i l l a g e , they must f i r s t impose a ban on a l l hunting. As hunting fowl turns out to be the only p l e a s u r e and pastime of the poor v i l l a g e r s t h e r e , the p r o s p e c t of having t h i s c o n d i t i o n imposed causes c o n f l i c t among the l o c a l s . Are they w i l l i n g t o change t h e i r l i f e s t y l e q u a l i t a t i v e l y , so t h a t the v i l l a g e can g a i n q u a n t i t a t i v e l y i n i t s income? Next, i t i s d i s c o v e r e d t h a t the l e a d e r of the F r i e n d s of the B i r d s A s s o c i a t i o n , G r e i f e n k l a u , and h i s a s s i s t a n t Johannes, had been i n charge of the occupying power's " j u s t i c e " apparatus d u r i n g the war. G r e i f e n k l a u was h i m s e l f judge. G r e i f e n k l a u and h i s henchman Johannes had once punished the l o c a l s f o r having t r i e d to help a suspect Pole to evade t o r t u r e and death. A mechanic named Caruso and h i s b r o t h e r - i n - l a w were executed together with the P o l e — a f t e r the l a t t e r had had h i s eyes put out i n the i n t e r r o g a t i o n s . Rosa, Caruso's w i f e , was sentenced to twenty years i n p r i s o n . Caruso, however, had s u r v i v e d h i s own e x e c u t i o n — a n d h i s l i v i n g body was rescued from the 168 corpses at the w a l l by the v i l l a g e p r i e s t P i c c o l i n o . That i s the s t o r y from the o c c u p a t i o n y e a r s . And now, i n the "present" of the drama, the r e s u r r e c t e d Caruso and h i s o l d p a r t i s a n group are once again m o b i l i z e d , t h i s time to b r i n g the war c r i m i n a l s to j u s t i c e . G r e i f e n k l a u , meanwhile, has become a defender of w i l d l i f e , and Johannes, the i n t e r r o g a t o r , teaches music ( i . e . , he teaches people to " s i n g " ) . The two humanists are kidnapped by the p a r t i s a n group and put on t r i a l . T h i s p l a y a l s o has i t s p r i e s t . He w i l l be the one to b r i n g about a r e v e r s a l i n the d i r e c t i o n events are t a k i n g . A p p r o p r i a t e l y , i n the "Preface" or "Prologue," i n which C a v a l l i i n t r o d u c e s the v i l l a g e and the former p a r t i s a n s i n Torre Rosse, i t i s r e v e a l e d t h a t Michaelangelo P i c c o l i n o i s both a former p a r t i s a n and a defrocked p r i e s t : That F r a n c - t i r e u r and hunter t h e r e Is our p r i e s t Michaelangelo (He's been c a s t out of the c l e r g y And c l o s e d out of the s a c r i s t y But a p r i e s t ' s a p r i e s t as we a l l know From now unto E t e r n i t y ) . (SS 88) So i t i s the p r i e s t , whose having been defrocked can be assumed to mean t h a t he has been t r u e to h i s i d e a l s , who w i l l be c a l l e d upon to defend the accused, over h i s own p r o t e s t , d u r i n g the "people's t r i a l . " P i c c o l i n o ' s r e t i c e n c e i s t h a t he knows what w i l l happen when he switches from h i s r o l e as p a r t i s a n to the r o l e of defender. For ah audience, the scene i s s e t f o r an e x e c u t i o n , 169 not simply by the presence of a gallows, but because as e a r l y as scene 4, the v i l l a g e r s have reenacted t h e i r memory of the t r i a l d u r i n g the o c c u p a t i o n . In t h i s scene from the p a s t — " b r a c k e t e d " o f f i n the B r e c h t i a n manner, by having the c h a r a c t e r s p l a y a scene from the past as i f i t were happening i n the n o w — i t i s shown t h a t the accused are undeniably g u i l t y . In t h i s scene i n which the v i l l a g e r s perform the event which dominates a l l t h e i r p a s t s , G r e i f e n k l a u and Johannes appear as they were: c a r r y i n g out t h e i r m i l i t a r y d u t i e s , conducting lo n g , demanding " i n t e r r o g a t i o n s " — t h e Pole's eyes have been put out p r i o r to the beginning of the t r i a l . J u s t i c e , as f a r as the co u r t of the occupying power i s concerned, has been c a r r i e d out by the book, not even e x c l u d i n g a j u r y . Johannes i s give n the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to d e a l out lashes to Caruso f o r contempt of c o u r t : "A pantomime-like p r o c e s s , " say the stage d i r e c t i o n s , although "the blows can be c l e a r l y heard" (93). The whipping i s juxtaposed with the judge's e v a l u a t i o n of the l o c a l b i r d s o n g : JUDGE: I have never heard the n i g h t i n g a l e sound so marvelous, so b e a u t i f u l , as here. (Whipcrack) JOHANNES ( l a s h i n g ) : Y e s s i r , your Honor. JUDGE: I t ' s l i k e when I was a c h i l d and heard i t f o r the f i r s t time. (Whipcrack) These g r e a t , heavenly f l u t e melodies. (Whipcrack) JOHANNES ( l a s h i n g ) : Y e s s i r , your Honor. JUDGE: My God, i t i s a sacrament of beauty! (94) 170 The f o l l o w i n g scene, which b r i n g s the a c t i o n back to the p r e s e n t , echoes t h i s j u x t a p o s i t i o n of c r u e l t y and e s t h e t i c s e n s i b i l i t y , t h i s time among the I t a l i a n v i l l a g e r s . While some of them are d i s c u s s i n g which forms of executions are worst, others are e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y d e s c r i b i n g the ways they l i k e t h e i r fowl prepared: FIDELE: They jump and sprawl i n the c h a i r f o r s e v e r a l minutes, and the whole room smells of burnt f l e s h . PICCOLINO: Do you r o a s t them on a s p i t , Rosa? CAVALLI: When the power i s turned on, i f they don't s m e l l i t themselves! CARUSO: They are f i n e i n the pan as w e l l . Both with o i l and b u t t e r , and sage, and a l i t t l e r e d wine to top i t o f f . CAVALLI: But i n the gas chamber, t h e r e they s m e l l i t . To s i t i n the chamber, and s m e l l the gas coming ... (95) A p a r a l l e l between the two groups has been suggested i n these back-to-back scenes. Although G r e i f e n k l a u makes a reasonable case t h a t Caruso's p o s i t i o n as judge renders j u s t i c e i m p o s s i b l e ("The p r e s i d e n t of the c o u r t h i m s e l f has been sentenced to the law's supreme punishment"), Caruso's response uses an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t s p e c i e s of l o g i c . "I am the most q u a l i f i e d judge i n the world," he says. "Only a man who has h i m s e l f been condemned to death and shot, knows what t h a t means. O b j e c t i o n o v e r r u l e d " (132). C l e a r l y , the v i l l a g e r s are not to be compared with t h e i r former oppressors i n t h e i r p u r s u i t of j u s t i c e . But when P i c c o l i n o the p r i e s t i s compelled to a c t as defense 171 c o u n s e l , t h i s would-be ex e c u t i o n e r takes h i s change of r o l e s i n deadly e a r n e s t : "I make i t c l e a r t h a t I w i l l f u l f i l l my d u t i e s as defense c o u n s e l to the utmost. Now I have s h i f t e d p l a c e s , changed t a s k s . U n t i l now, defendant number one was the murderer of my nephew and many o t h e r s . From t h i s moment on he i s a human being s t a n d i n g alone before death" (133). He proceeds to a c t a c c o r d i n g to t h i s assessment. He begins by showing both of the accused to be products of a h i e r a r c h i c a l s o c i e t y t h a t has r o o t s b e f o r e and beyond f a s c i s m . "Defendant number one," he asks, "Where have you l e a r n e d t h a t a s o l d i e r ' s h i g h e s t duty i s to obey o r d e r s ? " (135). He shows t h a t d u r i n g war, the c i v i l i a n p o p u l a t i o n i s always wrong, as they do not have power, and the governments are always r i g h t — o n both s i d e s . P r e v i o u s l y , the two Germans rep r e s e n t e d the power of the s t a t e , but now they are c i v i l i a n s — a n d as the p a r t i s a n s here r e p r e s e n t armed power, the p o s i t i o n s have been r e v e r s e d . Despite P i c c o l i n o ' s arguments, the group i s undaunted i n t h e i r o b j e c t i v e of f i n d i n g the p a i r g u i l t y . But the p r i e s t i s convinced by h i s own arguments: "The g u i l t y are not these men before us, but t h e i r f a t h e r s , u n c l e s , grandparents, s u p e r i o r s , t h e i r people and governments.... Who was the f i r s t to say t h a t the h i g h e s t duty i s l o y a l t y t o a u t h o r i t y ? When we have found the answer to t h a t , then we're on the t r a c k of the g u i l t y " (138). As the group continues to i n s i s t t h a t some men are 172 e v i l , and some are good, he lead s them back to mankind's very beginnings with the q u e s t i o n : "How d i d e v i l come i n t o the world?" The answer cannot be L u c i f e r . He h i m s e l f was punished f o r being d i s l o y a l . In t h a t case, who was e v i l — G o d , or L u c i f e r ? F i n a l l y , unable to convince the others as he seems to have convinced h i m s e l f through r e l e n t l e s s l o g i c , P i c c o l i n o r e s o r t s t o s p e c i a l maneuvers. He appeals to the s e l f - i n t e r e s t of the v i l l a g e r s . They are now i n a p o s i t i o n to s i g n a h i g h l y f a v o r a b l e c o n t r a c t with t h e i r p r i s o n e r , the unrepentant G r e i f e n k l a u . P i c c o l i n o i s able to get a m a j o r i t y on h i s s i d e by us i n g the huge b e n e f i t s of a t o u r i s t boom as h i s f i n a l argument. G r e i f e n k l a u w i l l g i v e them the best terms, of course. The d i e i s c a s t when the l a s t hold-out s t a n d i n g by C a r u s o — t h e l a n d l e s s peasant S a n d r o — r e c e i v e s a promise from the others to c o n t r i b u t e to a fund to help him buy l a n d , once the money comes r o l l i n g i n to t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e businesses and t r a d e s . Caruso prepares now to hang h i m s e l f with the rope t h a t had been aw a i t i n g h i s former tormentors. But a t the end there appears a t e r r i b l e r i d d l e : Why does Caruso drop h i s r e s o l v e and choose to l i v e , a s k i n g the f o r g i v e n e s s of h i s oppressors ("You whipped me and shot me.... Can you f o r g i v e me?" [149]). Up u n t i l t h i s p o i n t , h i s choice has appeared t o be e i t h e r t o c a r r y out j u s t i c e or d i e . Suddenly, t h i s t h i r d c h o i c e has presented i t s e l f out of the blue to r e s o l v e h i s c o n f l i c t . The sugg e s t i o n t h a t the 173 v i c t i m should ask f o r g i v e n e s s of h i s e x e c u t i o n e r has the r i n g of a C h r i s t i a n message, but not q u i t e — s i n c e he i s not f o r g i v i n g h i s tormentor, but a s k i n g h i s f o r g i v e n e s s . And both s e t s of p o t e n t i a l v i c t i m s — t h e v i l l a g e r s i n the past and the Germans i n the p r e s e n t — a r e absolved by those who were t h e i r p o t e n t i a l e x e c u t i o n e r s . Is i t perhaps t h a t s o c i e t y has c r e a t e d the need f o r hangmen, and has t h e r e f o r e f o i s t e d i t s own inhumanity a g a i n s t man onto them? Does Caruso see h i s own r o l e i n t h i s — d o e s he speak f o r us a l l ? Even t h i s s o l u t i o n t o the r i d d l e i s undermined by the descent of the o c c u p a t i o n emblem—the b i r d of w a r — a t the very end. Although i t may be the i n t e n t i o n of the defrocked p r i e s t to b r i n g h i s "congregation" to enlightenment, i t must be s a i d t h a t he f a i l s . In the end, he has to buy them o f f t o get them to agree with h i s view a g a i n s t k i l l i n g the c r i m i n a l s . Everyone's arguments are " r i g h t , " but everyone continues to p e r p e t r a t e the e v i l . Yet Bj^rneboe leaves the audience with something e l s e by way of a song. The many song l y r i c s which are s c a t t e r e d through the p l a y — " R o s a ' s Song," "Song of Hiroshima Town," "Mea Maxima Culpa," "The S o l d i e r s ' S o n g " — a r e . r a r e l y of the e l e g i a c type f r e q u e n t l y found i n Many Happy Returns, tending as they do to be s a t i r e s or c o n f r o n t a t i o n s with c o l l e c t i v e g u i l t . The e x c e p t i o n i s the "Song of Death" ("DXdssangen"), the r e p r i s e of which serves as the i t e  missa e s t of the p l a y : 174 When the day has come and the hour has come And you're put to the w a l l where y o u ' l l b l e e d u p r i g h t And those who cared f o r you Long s i n c e have gone from you Then you w i l l see i t i s l o n e l y t o d i e ! For the day w i l l come and the hour w i l l come And y o u ' l l c o l o r the sand you are st a n d i n g on red And when they come f o r you Remember I t o l d you My b r o t h e r ! I t ' s strange how i t ' s l o n e l y t o d i e ! (148) The concepts of "the moment of freedom" and "the moment of t r u t h " from Bj^rneboe's novel t r i l o g y might c a s t some l i g h t on the e l u s i v e outcome of The B i r d Lovers. In B j^zfrneboe' s thought, the moment of t r u t h , the i n d i v i d u a l ' s glimpse i n t o h i s own m o r t a l i t y , must come before the "moment of freedom" i f freedom i s not to be turned i n t o a g h a s t l y parody of i t s e l f . For the v i l l a g e r s , however, the moment of freedom, i n t h i s case t h e i r economic freedom, has come before the moment of t r u t h . Only Caruso has death-awareness: he has d i e d and r i s e n from the dead. I t has not been imparted to the others d e s p i t e the best e f f o r t s of the renegade p r i e s t . So "the Holy G h o s t " — a g a i n to use a term from the t r i l o g y — h a s not found i t s way i n t o t h e i r consciousness or s p i r i t s . And t h i s i s the c o n t r a d i c t i o n . Though P i c c o l i n o has saved human l i v e s , the terms on which he has done i t only perpetuate i n j u s t i c e . Caruso i s abandoned by h i s comrades. In the end he makes the c h o i c e of a man. who should be f r e e — b u t one who i s faced with a l o n e n e s s — t h e u l t i m a t e most h o r r i f y i n g s o l i t u d e 175 at the moment of death, abandoned by a l l those who shared the b e l i e f s he has l i v e d by. One int e r p r e t a t i o n : he joins the rest of humanity, r e a l i z i n g that i t has cast i t s worst hangmen and butchers i n the roles they must play. A contrary i n t e r p r e t a t i o n : at that impossible and t e r r i f y i n g moment, even the most aware of beings, with the strongest t h i r s t for j u s t i c e , can buy-in to the chicanery. Human f r a i l t y i s i n f i n i t e l y strong. What would the v i l l a g e r s have done i f Piccolino had r e a l l y succeeded i n f i l l i n g them with the "Holy Ghost", and they had acted on the basis of the moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y that "the moment of truth" imparts? They would have acted i n freedom. But i t would have been a very d i f f e r e n t kind of freedom than that which i s promised to them i n t h i s ending. If they are acting i n freedom, they do not act i n truth. The ending i s at the same time t r a d i t i o n a l and subversive. It i s the resolution of Comedy, i n which everything i s resolved on a note of concord, however i r o n i c . I t i s also a contract that s e l l s out a l l human values and notions of j u s t i c e . This i s how the c l a s s i c a l l y comic resolution of concord i s undermined. It i s concord between the characters—which ends on a note which produces a c o n f l i c t between the stage and the audience. 2 1 Semmelweis was written during the tumultuous year of 1968, but was premiered at the Abo Svenska Teater i n Finland i n 1969. The Norwegian premiere took place at the 176 N a t i o n a l Theater i n Oslo l a t e r t h a t year. By t h a t time, the excitement had a l r e a d y begun to make i t s way acr o s s the B a l t i c . The avowedly a n t i - a u t h o r i t a r i a n p l a y was acclaimed by the a u t h o r i t i e s ( i n t h e a t e r , t h a t i s ) almost unanimously. 2 2 The c r i t i c a l responses i n Norway and Denmark to the Oslo p r o d u c t i o n with Joachim Calmeyer i n the gargantuan l e a d r o l e , f o r once, a l s o rang with enthusiasm. The s t o r y of the Hungarian-Austrian p h y s i c i a n , Ignaz Semmelweis, i s one of the most t r a g i c and si m u l t a n e o u s l y r e v e a l i n g episodes from the annals of modern s c i e n c e and medicine. Bjjzfrneboe ' s Semmelweis—much l i k e Brecht's G a l i l e o — i s a s t o r y t h a t shows the p i t f a l l s and even h o r r o r s t h a t await the man of s c i e n c e , who i s genuinely i n search of t r u t h and improvement of the human c o n d i t i o n , i n a s o c i e t y t h a t reveres a u t h o r i t y and i t s world-view above a l l e l s e . Today h a i l e d as the founder of modern a n t i s e p t i c t e c h n i q u e s , Semmelweis was i n h i s time f i r e d from h i s p o s i t i o n a t Vienna General H o s p i t a l , r i d i c u l e d by h i s c o l l e a g u e s , hounded by the a u t h o r i t i e s and the p o l i c e , h i s works and experimental r e s u l t s banned. He was f i n a l l y d r i v e n i n t o e x i l e back t o Hungary. He took p a r t i n the r e v o l t of 1848 a g a i n s t Hapsburg a b s o l u t i s m , which d i d not i n g r a t i a t e him with many of h i s c o l l e a g u e s , and with the p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t i e s even l e s s . The f a c t s p o i n t to a c o l l a b o r a t i o n between the medical a u t h o r i t i e s , themselves a powerful p r o f e s s i o n a l and p o l i t i c a l lobby i n the Hapsburg empire, and the p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t i e s . The c o n s p i r a c y to 177 s i l e n c e Semmelweis was due to h i s d i s c o v e r y and stubborn i n s i s t e n c e t h a t tens of thousands of pregnant women were being k i l l e d throughout Europe each year by the dreaded c h i l d - b e d f e v e r (now known as p u e r p e r a l f e v e r ) because d o c t o r s and students were not washing t h e i r hands. The worst epidemics appeared where medical students went d i r e c t l y from a u t o p s i e s i n the morgue t o the o b s t e t r i c s wards where they examined pregnant mothers. Although Semmelweis had demonstrated t h a t the m o r t a l i t y r a t e c o u l d be e l i m i n a t e d e n t i r e l y by washing with c h l o r i d e - o f - l i m e between procedures, the f a c t t h a t he had gotten the c h l o r i d e method from the Vienna t o i l e t c l e a n e r s only i n c r e a s e d the r i d i c u l e by h i s enemies. Due to the suppr e s s i o n of h i s s t a t i s t i c s and method, h i s e x i l e to Hungary, and the s i l e n c e imposed on him by the growing r e p r e s s i o n of the Austro-Hungarian a u t h o r i t i e s , h i s attempts to get the t r u t h out made him appear i n c r e a s i n g l y mad. Semmelweis, who began as a promising p r o d i g y and a young i d e a l i s t , i n the p l a y becomes a gray, d o t t e r i n g o l d man before our e y e s — b e f o r e he reaches middle age. A f t e r twenty years pass, and he has s t r u g g l e d h o p e l e s s l y while perhaps hundreds of thousands of women have d i e d u n n e c e s s a r i l y , h i s "madness" becomes a f a c t . He hi m s e l f d i e s of the d i s e a s e which he fought, supposedly a " s p e c i f i c a l l y female i l l n e s s , " a f t e r c u t t i n g h i s f i n g e r i n an autopsy. As o f t e n i s the case i n Bj^rneboe's work, d i s e a s e i s 178 a l s o a metaphor f o r the p r e v a i l i n g consciousness of an age. The "doctors are the d i s e a s e " here--and so i s the h i e r a r c h i c a l form of s o c i e t y of which they are a p a r t . Meanwhile, anyone who pursues the t r u t h i s " s i c k , " but i n a much d i f f e r e n t sense. He i s not p a r t of the p r e v a i l i n g d i s e a s e , hence he i s abnormal. T h i s does not mean, though, t h a t the d i s e a s e i n s o c i e t y does not take i t s t o l l on those who are uncompromising i n t h e i r f i g h t a g a i n s t the d i s e a s e . A f t e r Semmelweis reads h i s "Open l e t t e r t o the p h y s i c i a n s of Europe" to h i s wife and h i s companion Markusovszky, he suddenly shows how the i n v i s i b l e enemy, the d i s e a s e of h i e r a r c h y and nepotism, i s indeed t a k i n g i t s t o l l on a man who r e f u s e s to be in f e c t e d : . And t o t h i s the doc t o r s of Europe r e p l y t h a t they l o y a l l y adhere to the g r e a t V i r c h o w — t h e mass murderer! They c o l l e c t i v e l y d i s s o c i a t e themselves from the c h l o r i d e prophet Semmelweis, from the mad prophet of s e p t i c v i r u s . And they go on murdering. They b l i n d l y f o l l o w at the c o a t t a i l s of t h e i r feeble-minded Pope Virchow the Mighty! They murder b l i n d l y and l o y a l l y — f a i t h f u l as b l o o d h o u n d s — f a i t h f u l as the Russian p o l i c e — o n e woman a f t e r the o t h e r — h u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s — i t ' s a l l nothing but blood and pus and sewage and t o x i n s and murder. They k i l l and k i l l ... (He takes h o l d of Marko's arm) ... I see nothing but dead women, Marko ... why don't they l i s t e n to me? I dream of dead women every n i g h t ... and of the s e c r e t p o l i c e . . . . Markusovszky remarks t h a t Semmelweis i s now proceeding i n a way t h a t i s k i l l i n g him, not h i s enemies (230). T h i s s i d e of the s t o r y , the p e r s o n a l tragedy of the romantic who was u n w i l l i n g to compromise with a world which hates innocence and goodness, who r e f u s e d to be a diplomat where the t r u t h 179 was concerned, was emphasized i n Celine's early book on Semmelweis, actually his medical d i s s e r t a t i o n — t h e only l i t e r a r y recounting of Semmelweis's l i f e before B j^rneboe's play .?^3 Semmelweis i s a play that i s , despite a l l of the above, f u l l of l i f e , and spry black humor. The early scene which recreates the conference of the College of Physicians—convened to investigate the mortality rate of the hospital—would almost seem to be the commentary of an Absurdist on s c i e n t i f i c jargon and other forms of professional hocus-pocus. The bordello scenes are lusty, and f u l l of irony i n the way they r e f l e c t on the play as a whole: Semmelweis gets his f i r s t "washing" lesson from the whore Sophie--for whom survival requires cleanliness. Semmelweis's encounter with the Goldoni theater troupe i n Venice i s painted i n garish F e l l i n i - l i k e c o l o r s — w i t h masked actors, drunkenness on the piazza, opera parody, and with the sense of the grotesque pumped up by continuing imagery of disease and decay. One of the ali e n a t i o n e f f e c t s the s c r i p t c a l l s for i s reminiscent of some of Strindberg's witty t h e a t r i c a l devices i n his dream plays. In the "Prologue i n the Auditorium," a rector i s reading a tribut e to Semmelweis, as the public i s supposedly witnessing the unveiling of a new statue to medicine's dead, but great, hero (161). The statue Semmelweis w i l l follow the character Semmelweis from scene to scene, set i n di f f e r e n t periods of his l i f e . Those acquainted with 180 S t r i n d b e r g ' s A Dream Pla y ( E t t Dromspel) f would be q u i c k l y reminded of the mobile door, which appears everywhere d u r i n g Indra's Daughter's quest on p l a n e t e a r t h . I t i s a l s o r e m i n i s c e n t of the screens i n Genet's Les Paravents, o b j e c t s which are so a c t i v e i n t h a t p l a y as to become agents of the dramatic a c t i o n . In the b o r d e l l o scene i n Semmelweis the young Semmelweis hangs up h i s c l o t h e s on h i s own monument. In Venice, he embraces i t i n an e c s t a t i c stupor. I t i s a h i g h l y sensuous p l a y , with much e a t i n g and d r i n k i n g and p l e a s u r e — a s w e l l as pus, b l o o d - s p a t t e r e d smocks and buckets of excrement. Many of the p e c u l i a r f e a t u r e s of the p l a y have to do with the p e r i o d i n which i t came i n t o being. I t was w r i t t e n i n 1968, d u r i n g a time when p o l i t i c a l upheavals were t a k i n g p l a c e across Europe, spreading over i n t e r n a t i o n a l borders, i n both E a s t e r n and Western Europe. From P a r i s to Prague, from L i s b o n to Belgrade, from Poznan t o B e r l i n , young students and o f t e n workers had taken to the s t r e e t s . More o f t e n than not, one of the t h i n g s t h a t provoked them was t h e i r own governments' c o m p l i c i t y with g r e a t powers who were seen to be t r a m p l i n g on the r i g h t s of peoples of l e s s powerful c o u n t r i e s — b e i t Greece or C z e c h o s l o v a k i a or Vietnam. The enemy was seen to be s c l e r o t i c systems, which were becoming more of a menace as hardening was s e t t i n g i n . In the long and s h o r t run, some of these r e v o l t s l e d to changes i n a number of governments, f o r b e t t e r or f o r worse. In many cases, the immediate 181 r e s u l t was an open show of f o r c e by the op p r e s s i v e apparatus of the s t a t e — w h i c h was l a i d bare even i n c o u n t r i e s p r a c t i c i n g d i f f e r e n t degrees of democracy. At the same time, the upheaval took the form of a r e v o l u t i o n i n c u l t u r e , aimed a t debunking i n h e r i t e d c u l t u r a l norms. Theaters i n P a r i s , f o r example, had been occupied i n the name of the "martyr" of the new t h e a t e r , Antonin Artaud. I t i s a g a i n s t t h i s backdrop t h a t Bj^frneboe completed h i s f i r s t major work t h a t can be s a i d , i n d i s p u t a b l y , t o have been w r i t t e n from the p e r s p e c t i v e of h i s anarchism, though i t s i n f l u e n c e may be found, to . v a r y i n g degrees, i n p r i o r works. T h i s a l s o p r o v i d e s the e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the "Prologue i n the Theater" which was not used f o r the Norwegian premiere, but which has been used elsewhere—most n o t a b l y i n the Norwegian T e l e v i s i o n Theater p r o d u c t i o n i n 1983. Bj^rneboe had sent the s c r i p t t o h i s o l d c o l l a b o r a t o r Eugenio Barba, d i r e c t o r of Odin T e a t r e t . I t seems i t was Barba who suggested t h a t a frame be c r e a t e d i n which students or r e b e l s of some s o r t would occupy the th e a t e r i n order to put on the p l a y Semmelweis. B^efrneboe took the a d v i c e , and responded t o Barba with the f o l l o w i n g l e t t e r : Grandissimo e s c a t a l o g e ed A p o c a l y p i t i c u s ! Thank you f o r your l a s t documents. You w i l l laugh, when you see the f i n a l v e r s i o n of Semmelweis: I t makes use of almost a l l of your s u g g e s t i o n s . . . . I have done my utmost now—and h o p e f u l l y I have succeeded i n making the p l a y a b s o l u t e l y unplayable i n every normal bourgeois t h e a t e r . 182 In any case, the p l a y shouldn't be produced. I t was bad enough to have to w r i t e i t , without a l s o having to go through a l l the sorrow, v e x a t i o n and garbage t h a t a premiere b r i n g s with i t . . . . (OT 14) The i d e a was t h a t the performance should begin with an a s s a u l t of disenchanted young people on the stage. They would announce: "Instead of t o n i g h t ' s s t u p i d , i d i o t i c o p e r e t t a , you w i l l be s e e i n g a p l a y about a u t h o r i t y and a n t i - a u t h o r i t y " (SS 161). As Semmelweis was i n f a c t begun, i t s formative d r a f t s i n any case, i n 1967, the year i n which Bj^rneboe was a l s o s t anding t r i a l accused of " o b s c e n i t y " f o r h i s novel Without a S t i t c h (Uten en t r a d ) , i t i s not hard to understand why a good d e a l of Bj^rneboe h i m s e l f might seem to be p r e s e n t i n the p r o v o c a t i v e and unrepentant f i g u r e of Semmelweis. He was becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y convinced a t t h i s time t h a t i t was i m p o s s i b l y d i f f i c u l t f o r those who d i d not hate a u t h o r i t a r i a n i s m to accept t h a t a l l " t r u l y c r e a t i v e people are problem c h i l d r e n " as he wrote i n h i s l e t t e r s to the Swedish a c t o r A l l a n E d w a l l — f o r whom he had modeled the r o l e of Semmelweis—during the t r i a l . Though i t i s t r u e t h a t such "problem c h i l d r e n " are o f t e n regarded as h e r o i c f i g u r e s by p o s t e r i t y , as was the case with Semmelweis, one can a l s o invoke the words of G a l i l e o i n Brecht's p l a y : " P i t y the l a n d t h a t needs heroes." Semmelweis i s a n t i - p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n i t s s t y l e , "Something," he w r i t e s i n the l e t t e r to E d w a l l , " t h a t Nordic t h e a t e r people f i n d i n d e s c r i b a b l y d i f f i c u l t to 183 comprehend." But Bj/zfrneboe takes the a n t i - p s y c h o l o g i c a l here to a p o i n t t h a t goes beyond Brecht, and even most c l a s s i c a l drama, which q u a l i f i e s as n o n - p s y c h o l o g i c a l drama i n the sense t h a t Bj^rneboe means. The c o n f l i c t i n the p l a y i s only r a r e l y between i n d i v i d u a l s . I t i s a d r a m a t u r g i c a l problem c h i l d , inasmuch as i t p l a y s out an ongoing c o n f l i c t between one man and a c l a s s of men. Even Semmelweis's i n d i v i d u a l b a t t l e s with t h a t q u i n t e s s e n t i a l p r o t o - t o t a l i t a r i a n from Austro-Hungarian times, P r o f e s s o r Doktor K l e i n , are imbued with the sense of a c o n f l i c t with a c l a s s , a group, a p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l f o r c e . I t may seem j u s t s h o r t of i m p o s s i b l e t h a t t h i s k i n d of c o n f l i c t can be shown on the stage. Yet to c l a i m t h a t t h i s use of e p i c t h e a t e r i s without precedent would be to exaggerate. I t can be found almost 100 years e a r l i e r i n a p l a y where the l i f e s t o r y of another c h a o t i c and r e b e l l i o u s i n d i v i d u a l i s p o r t r a y e d as ongoing c o n f l i c t with f o r c e s of s o c i e t y and e x i s t e n c e t h a t are g r e a t e r than he: Peer Gynt. And s i m i l a r l y , the r u t h l e s s seeker a f t e r t r u t h can be found i n Brand, Ibsen's only other t r u l y e p i c p l a y . Ibsen's i n f l u e n c e i s apparent here, though unacknowledged, and i t i s q u i t e p l a u s i b l e t h a t t h i s i n f l u e n c e i s e n t i r e l y unconscious. Without l e a v i n g the realm of Scandinavian drama, which Bj^rneboe so s e v e r e l y c h a s t i s e s f o r being i n the t h r a l l of r e a l i s t i c - i l l u s i o n t h e a t e r , another c l e a r precedent can be found. The Stranger i n S t r i n d b e r g ' s e p i c t r i l o g y To Damascus ( T i l l Damaskus) i s a c h a r a c t e r t h a t has 184 been so connected with h i s author t h a t the a c t o r s performing "Den Okanda," the hero of the drama, have o f t e n been d i r e c t e d to p l a y S t r i n d b e r g . And here too, the p r o t a g o n i s t i s up a g a i n s t f o r c e s t h a t cannot be i d e n t i f i e d w ith an i n d i v i d u a l or a few i n d i v i d u a l s . They are f o r c e s . Semmelweis's opponents are n o n r e a l i s t i c , Kafka-esque bureaucrats, whose i n f l u e n c e i s so widespread t h a t h i s e f f o r t s begin to seem as p o i n t l e s s and as endless as those of t h a t other hapless Austro-Hungarian s u b j e c t , J o s e f K. Added to the l i s t might be Camus's Doctor Rieux, whose enemy, the plague, i s v i r t u a l l y an a b s t r a c t i o n . As was the case with Brecht's G a l i l e o , Semmelweis's s c i e n t i f i c e f f o r t s w i l l win out i n the end, but not the man—not before he i s destroyed by the c o n f l i c t between the h i e r a r c h y and h i s own dangerous sense of compassion and unquenchable d e s i r e to b r i n g the t r u t h to l i g h t . Compassion and t r u t h , once again, cannot e x i s t , the one without the o t h e r . In h i s speech to Markusovszky above, i t i s s t r i k i n g j u s t how insane the c o n f l i c t i s — t h i s combat with nameless, f a c e l e s s enemies. T h i s i s the s e c r e t of the dramatic c o n f l i c t sometimes c a l l e d "Kafka-esque": one of the p a r t n e r s i n the c o n f l i c t i s everywhere and nowhere a t once. I t i s a bureaucracy of enemies. I t i s i m p o s s i b l e to f i n d the p o i n t where "the buck s t o p s " — a s i n K's f r u i t l e s s search f o r Klam i n The C a s t l e . During the more than twenty-year span of Semmelweis's s t o r y , he has not only to prove he i s r i g h t . He must tag a face or a name on h i s 185 enemy. Whereas Brecht's G a l i l e o has the w i l y , s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n i n s t i n c t of a l l of Brecht's most c o n v i n c i n g c h a r a c t e r s , Semmelweis l a c k s i t . He i s uncompromising, even from the p e r s p e c t i v e of e n l i g h t e n e d s e l f - i n t e r e s t . Whereas G a l i l e o w i l l r e l e n t a f t e r being shown the implements of t o r t u r e , an a l r e a d y broken, m e n t a l l y tormented Semmelweis i s s t i l l attempting t o p l a s t e r the s t r e e t s with p o s t e r s to get h i s tea c h i n g s out. Both Semmelweis and G a l i l e o were f i g u r e s who managed to get the t r u t h o u t — t r u t h s whose time had come. Yet these two c h a r a c t e r s are the a n t i t h e s e s of each other. G a l i l e o may w e l l be a c h a r a c t e r whose c a u t i o n , s c i e n t i f i c approach, f a s c i n a t i o n with t r u t h , and canny s u r v i v a l i n s t i n c t b r i n g him c l o s e s t of a l l Brecht's c h a r a c t e r s to Brecht h i m s e l f . In the same way, Semmelweis's i n a b i l i t y to put compassion a s i d e , h i s anger, outrage, the n o n - n e g o t i a b i l i t y of h i s humanity, h i s i n a b i l i t y to l i v e with i n j u s t i c e , a l l t h i s b r i n g s him c l o s e s t of a l l the c h a r a c t e r s of h i s p l a y s to Bj^rneboe h i m s e l f . They are both b i o g r a p h i e s w r i t t e n i n l i e u of a u t o b i o g r a p h i e s . C e l i n e , whose b i o g r a p h i c a l treatment of Semmelweis's l i f e i s not s p e c i f i c a l l y acknowledged i n Bj^rneboe's notes or correspondence concerning the p l a y , d e s c r i b e d him as a Romantic, a man without "diplomacy," or the a b i l i t y to accomodate h i m s e l f enough to c o n t r i v e d norms and manners to be ab l e to n e g o t i a t e . C e l i n e ' s Semmelweis i s a man whose do w n f a l l was 186 h i s f a i t h i n the p o t e n t i a l goodness of h i s f e l l o w men, i n a world t h a t i s e s s e n t i a l l y t r e a c h e r o u s . 2 4 B j^rneboe's Semmelweis, as a man who takes upon h i m s e l f the s u f f e r i n g s of many other human beings, i s tormented by t h a t b i b l i c a l q u e s t i o n which Bjjzfrneboe saw Tennessee W i l l i a m ' s defrocked p r i e s t c o n f r o n t i n g : "How can I overcome the world?" (OT 108). Semmelweis i s on h i s way to an answer. The p l a y takes Bj/arneboe i n the d i r e c t i o n he hoped t o go once he completed h i s H i s t o r y of B e s t i a l i t y f i v e years l a t e r i n 1973. Much of h i s planned " H i s t o r y of Freedom" was to have been w r i t t e n i n dramatic form. Semmelweis brought him to the t h r e s h o l d . In a b r i e f foreword t o Amputation (Amputasjon, 1970) Bj^rneboe e x p l a i n s t h a t though the p l a y e x i s t e d i n the form of a d r a f t s i x or seven years p r i o r to i t s f i r s t p r o d u c t i o n , he "hadn't counted, at t h a t time, on f i n d i n g a th e a t e r with a s t y l e of performance which would make p o s s i b l e a p r o d u c t i o n t h a t was a c r o b a t i c / p h y s i c a l enough to match the s t y l e of the p l a y " (SS 241). The r e v o l u t i o n i n performance techniques i n the s i x t i e s — w i t h the convergence of the i n f l u e n c e s of Brecht and Artaud met with t h a t of Grotowsky—made the venture p o s s i b l e . The p r o d u c t i o n by F r i t e a t e r n , then a s s o c i a t e d with the n a t i o n a l t o u r i n g company Svenska R i k s t e a t e r n , under the d i r e c t i o n of Mart