Georg Johannesen

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Georg Johannesen.

Georg Johannesen (22 February 1931 – 24 December 2005) was a Norwegian author and professor of rhetoric.

He was born in Bergen. His dissertation was on the spring motif in the poetry of Olaf Bull. He drowned while on vacation in Egypt.

Georg Johannesen also had a brief career as a lecturer in Scandinavian literature at the University of Bergen from 1978 to 1987.[1]

Writing career[edit]

Georg Johannesen's entered the literary scene with a novel, Autumn in March(1957). It was a tender love story with a tragic end. The novel was about a love story that ends badly due to bourgeois prejudice. The novel was followed by three anthologies of poems. The first of these, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-Nine (1959), like the title suggests deals with temporal subjects. The second poetry collection, Seven Deadly Ways (1965), is a strictly composed set of poems. The last, New Poems (1966) is more politically-driven. It is also regarded as one of the numerous poetry collections produced during what is widely regarded the best phase in Norwegian poetry.[1]

Johannesen stirred controversy in 1967 with his play Kassandra. The play was attacked for its blasphemous content. It caused an uproar when it was listed at the ABC Theatre. The play shows Johannesen's genius of creating a socially critical work. The play established Johannesen as one of the country's all-time greats of literature.[1]

Johannesen's love for paradox and delivering political messages in his work continued in Second Kings (1978), John's Book (1978) and Simon's Book (1980). These works were laden with paradox and irony, the literary devices Johannesen most played with. These works were allegorical, shedding light on some of contemporary Norway's problems. The Norwegian drive for oil was presented in a satirical manner in the novel Mongstad (1989), which Johannesen published under the pseudonym Kathy Johns.[1]

All his writing shows an interest in the power language has to enshroud true meaning. The language we use, forces upon us a sentimentality which clouds over real political insight and action, and Johannesen's most important task is to unveil language. Both his plays and his poems bear obvious inspiration from Bertolt Brecht. His essays show a certain fondness for paradox.


  1. ^ a b c d "Georg Johannesen". Norwegian Encyclopedia AS. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
Preceded by
not awarded
Recipient of the Cappelen Prize
Succeeded by
Gro Dahle