Björnstjerne Björnson, one of the greatest Scandinavian writers, was born at Kvikne, in the wild region of the Dovre Mountains, Norway, Dec. 8, 1832. His father was the village pastor.
Six years later the family removed to Naesset, on the west coast of Norway. From the grammar school at Molde young Björnson went to the University of Christiania, and it was then that he began to write verses and newspaper articles. At Upsala, in 1856, he understood that he had a definite call to literature, and at Copenhagen the following year he wrote his first masterpiece “Synnove Solbakken.” This was followed, in 1858, by “Arne,” a story which not only brought him into the front rank of contemporary writers, but also marked a new era in Norwegian literature. From that time there has been a succession of novels, short stories, and plays (Björnson on two occasions has been the director of a theatre) from his pen. A drama, “The King,” produced in 1877, had an after effect of immense political importance. It was undoubtedly an attack on the ruler of Norway and Sweden, and every Norwegian who wished his country to become an independent nation welcomed Björnson as the leader of this new movement–with what success there is now no need to relate, since it has become a matter of history. Björnson died April 25, 1910.