Short summary - Victoria - Knut Hamsun

Scandinavian literature summaries - 2023

Short summary - Victoria
Knut Hamsun

The action takes place in contemporary Norway writer.

From time to time, when some kind of walk or game is started, the children of the owner of the landowner's estate, which the people called the Castle, Victoria and Ditlef, invite the son of a miller neighbor, Johannes, to keep them company. The boy is drawn to communicate with his peers, but every time he is painfully hurt that the young gentlemen treat him condescendingly, in every possible way emphasizing that he is not equal to them. He is especially annoyed by Otto, the son of a rich chamberlain, who often visits the owners of the estate. Only Victoria is friendly to him, she likes to listen to entertaining stories about trolls and giants, composed by Johannes prone to fiction. A ten-year-old girl, who is four years younger than the indefatigable dreamer, begs him not to marry the princess - no one will love him like she does.

Johannes leaves for the city to study and returns to his native place when he is twenty years old. On the pier, he sees the owner of the Castle, his wife and Victoria, meeting Ditlef, who arrived home for the holidays on the same steamer. Victoria does not recognize the companion of children's games. How she has grown and improved!

Not wanting to admit it to himself, Johannes is looking for a meeting with Victoria. And so they meet in the forest. Both feel awkward, and the conversation does not go well. The young man is discouraged: Victoria seems alien and distant, she coldly addresses him as you. She only pretends to be amiable, but she herself makes fun of him, drops arrogant words, Johannes thinks. But all the poems written by him are dedicated to her alone!

Johannes and Ditlef are going to take a boat to the island. A girl falls into the water from the ship, and Juhannes manages to save the drowning woman, he becomes the hero of the day, everyone praises him and enthusiastically greets him. He is happy that Victoria saw how he did this act, this feat. However, he is constantly confused by the behavior of the girl, both of them are proud and proud, and their relationship is difficult.

The young man again leaves for the city and writes, writes ... His poems begin to be printed, then a collection comes out, he becomes famous as a poet. And his creativity is nourished by love, love for Victoria. This feeling fills his existence with meaning and content. He knows that Victoria is also in the city, but does not meet her, because he does not belong to the circle where she happens to be. Victoria finds him herself. Johannes is shocked to see the ring on her hand. Yeah, she's engaged, so what? Besides, there were special reasons for that. Isn't he engaged to Camille Sayer, whom he once pulled out of the water? Victoria saw her, she grew up and became a pretty girl. They say he visits their house. Johannes confirms that it happens, only he did not have anything like that in his thoughts. Victoria insists that it is time for her to go home (she lives in the family of a chamberlain), but she herself is not in a hurry. They take a long walk in the park, and Johannes finally decides to open his heart to her. His words breathe passion and excitement. Ah, if she had said that he was at least a little dear to her, it would have given him strength, he would have achieved a lot in life, almost unattainable. It turns out that Victoria reciprocates his feelings.

Johannes feels that he is happy, he wants to see Victoria again and again, he is looking for meetings, but her fiancé, Lieutenant Otto, is always next to her. Johannes walks near the house of the chamberlain, and finally, two days later, Victoria goes on a date. What she said is true, the girl confirms, but they are not destined to be together, too much separates them. The father would never have consented to their marriage. And let Juhannes stop following her relentlessly. Johannes is confused and depressed. Having received an invitation to a party with the Seyer spouses and learning that Victoria will be there, he sends a note with a polite refusal: no more meetings with her.

He spends the whole autumn and winter as a recluse, going almost nowhere, and working on a big book. Having finished it, he takes his essay to the publisher and goes abroad. By autumn, his new book, written in a foreign land, will be published. Recognition, fame comes, his name is on everyone's lips.

Once Victoria appears in the miller's house, she wants to know if there is any news from Johannes. But his parents do not know anything about him, he does not write to them. Two days later, a letter arrives that Johannes will arrive in a month, and the miller hurries to the estate with this news. Victoria perceives his message with complete indifference, the miller is discouraged: in vain his wife claimed that she knew what was in the soul of the landowner's daughter.

Johannes is back in his homeland, he goes around the places with which childhood memories are connected. In the forest, he meets Victoria, she picks flowers, guests are waiting in the Castle and the house needs to be decorated. Young people have not seen each other for two years, love attracts them to each other, but both fight with themselves, suppressing this feeling.

Johannes receives an invitation to the owners of the estate for a party. He crosses the threshold of this house for the first time, where he meets a rather warm welcome - after all, now he is a famous writer. As a promised surprise, Victoria brings Camille to him, whom she specially invited to visit, now she is a charming seventeen-year-old girl. Out of the kindness of her soul, she found herself a substitute, Johannes thinks. It turns out that the reception is organized on the occasion of the announcement of the engagement. From the conversation of the guests, Johannes learns that the owner of the estate is on the verge of ruin, and the groom is rich, a profitable party. Yuhannes is offended by Victoria's taunts, her quirks. Only Camilla brightens up his stay there. Victoria's behavior looks generally rather strange, which the groom notices. Sensing something was wrong, Otto, as arrogant and arrogant as in childhood, bullies himself and, as if by chance, hits Juhannes in the face, he immediately leaves the house.

Camilla visits the mill to check on Johannes. They go for a walk in the forest. It seems to Johannes that he knows a way out of the impasse - he proposes to Camilla. The girl admits that she loves him for a long time.

The next day, Johannes comes to the pier to see Camille off and learns from her that Otto has been killed. It turned out that after the incident, he immediately packed up and left with a neighbor-landowner to hunt for woodcocks, where he got hit by a stray bullet. Johannes wants to express condolences to Victoria, but hears hurtful words from her. Later, she apologizes for her antics, explains the situation. The father forced him to marry Otto in order to prevent the ruin of the family. She was against it, saying that it would be better for her parents to insure her life, and then she would drown herself in the bay or at the dam, but she was forced to give in, asking for a three-year delay. Tomorrow he and his mother must move to the city, only the father will remain in the estate. She expects to hear words of love and support from Johannes, but he hesitates, and then embarrassedly admits that he has a fiancee.

The next morning, the miller helps deliver Otto's body to the steamer and, fulfilling the instructions of Victoria and her mother, returns to the estate. There he witnesses how the landowner carefully and deliberately sets fire and dies. When the neighbors run away, nothing can be done, the estate burns to the ground.

Johannes is working on another book when Camilla comes to see him. She enthusiastically talks about the ball at which she happened to be, and about her acquaintance with the Englishman Richmond. By the way, the parents arrange a party, Victoria and her mother are also invited. The poor thing is so skinny. Johannes recalls how long they had not seen each other, for about a year. No, he won't go, he doesn't want this meeting. Appearing next time, Camilla reports that Victoria danced all evening, and then she became ill, she was sent home. The constant subject of her conversations is a new acquaintance, Richmond. She cannot understand the mental turmoil, it seems to her that, by accepting his courtship, she is betraying her fiancé. Johannes guesses that a great real feeling has woken up in her. He is not going to interfere with her happiness with another, but his soul becomes empty and cold.

Juhannes is informed that Victoria has died, she had consumption. He reads her dying letter, full of tenderness and sadness, where she regrets her failed love, failed life.