A Saloonkeeper's Daughter (The Longfellow Series of American Languages and Literatures)

A Saloonkeeper's Daughter (The Longfellow Series of American Languages and Literatures)

Johns Hopkins University Press
9780801868818
0801868815
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Book Description

"An authentic story of life in Minneapolis in the late nineteenth century. That ring of authenticity comes clearly from the mind and craft of an artist at work. For the contemporary reader, the novel provides a glimpse of an immigrant society, a culture in exile, and the immigrants' responses to the social scene... Drawing on the realistic and naturalistic trends in Europe and in America, Janson has written an American novel that anticipates the works of such writers as Theodore Dreiser, Stephen Crane, and Sarah Orne Jewett."―from the Preface by Gerald Thorson

First published in Norwegian by a Minneapolis firm in 1887, Drude Krog Janson's A Saloonkeeper's Daughter has been sadly neglected in the history of American literature, despite its unusually forward-looking portrayal of a self-reliant, career-minded woman and its importance within America's regional and urban literary traditions. Janson's lyrical coming-of-age novel tells the story of the pensive, beautiful Astrid Holm, forced by her family's bankruptcy to abandon a comfortable, middle-class life in Norway for a harsh, new existence in Minneapolis living in an apartment above her father's saloon. She attempts to escape this hardship through art (as an actress) and love (entering into an unhappy relationship with a brutish lawyer) until she finds her true calling as a Unitarian minister and fulfills her longing for meaningful companionship with Helene Nielsen, a selfless doctor to poor immigrants. With this edition of A Saloonkeeper's Daughter, an important and prescient work of American fiction is finally available in English.