Rudolf Nilsen

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Rudolf William Nilsen (28 February 1901 – 23 March 1929) was a Norwegian poet and journalist.

Early life[edit]

He was born in the district of Vålerenga in Kristiania (present-day Oslo), on 28 February 1901,[1] and was raised at the nearby neighborhood of Tøyen/Grønland in the same city.[1]

Political life and writing[edit]

A child of the working class, Nilsen became part of the left-wing revolutionary movement and joined the organisation Norges Socialdemokratiske Ungdomsforbund (Social Democratic Youth League of Norway), the youth league of the Norwegian Labour Party. When the Norwegian Labour Party split up in 1923, due to an ideological schism, Nilsen decided to join the Communist Party of Norway, and their youth league Young Communist League of Norway.

In 1921, he was arrested and stood trial for smuggling illegal revolutionary literature into Norway. With the help of defence lawyer (and later Secretary-General of the United Nations) Trygve Lie, he avoided sentencing, and was eventually found not guilty and released.

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1924, he married Ella Quist Kristoffersen, later Ella Hval. Rudolf Nilsen's first published work was the collection of poetry På stengrunn (1925), which was followed by På gjensyn (1926). Many of his poems were of political nature, while others were romantic or about the contemporary life in Oslo.

Nilsen died shortly after contracting tuberculosis in Paris on 23 March 1929. His poem, Hverdagen was published posthumously the same year. His collected poems were published in 1935. New collections of his works were published in the 1970s. Outside his childhood address of Heimdalsgata nr 26, was a public square named after him in 1952, and a bronze statue of him was erected on that site in 1954.

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