Melancholy (novel)

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Author Jon Fosse
Original title Melancholia I
Translator Grethe Kvernes
Damion Searls
Country Norway
Language Norwegian (Nynorsk)
Publisher Det Norske Samlaget
Publication date
Published in English
1 November 2006
Pages 275
ISBN 9788252145618

Melancholy, original title Melancholia I, is a 1995 novel by the Norwegian writer Jon Fosse. It is about the Norwegian painter Lars Hertervig (1830–1902) and his time as a young student in Düsseldorf, where he, agonised by unrequited love and doubt in his art, is driven toward a mental breakdown.

The book was awarded the Melsom Prize and the Sunnmøre Prize.[1] It was followed by a 1996 sequel, Melancholy II, which is set on the day of Hertervig's death. The first part of Melancholy I was the basis for Georg Friedrich Haas' 2008 opera Melancholia.[2]


Publishers Weekly wrote in 2006: "In this wild stream-of-consciousness narrative, Fosse delves into Hertervig's mind as the events of one day precipitate his mental breakdown. ... Fosse's prose, which often affects a childlike quality, might put off some readers, but many gorgeous passages and Fosse's pursuit of the 'glimmer of the divine' in art make this a powerful book."[3]


  1. ^ "Jon Fosse" (in Norwegian). Bergen Public Library. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  2. ^ Veire, Ragnhild (2008-09-12). "Forutsigbart og stillestående" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  3. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Melancholy by Jon Fosse". Publishers Weekly. 2006-08-11. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 

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