Bjornstjerne Bjornson

On this date in 1832, Nobel Laureate in Literature Bjornstjerne Bjornson was born in Norway. The son of a Lutheran minister, Bjornson was a journalist, then a playwright and novelist who also directed theatre. Bjornson wrote the first realistic contemporary play, with Ibsen following suit. Bjornson's plays were the first Norwegian works to be performed outside Scandinavia. Standing next to Ibsen in acclaim, Bjornson became what freethought historian Joseph McCabe termed "an aggressive Agnostic" in 1875, after reading Herbert Spencer. He was also influenced by Darwin and J.S. Mill. His story, "Dust" (1882), showed the harm of religious influence. Bjornson wrote Whence Came the Miracles of the New Testament? (1882), translated Ingersoll and was an Honorary Associate of the Rationalist Press Association. For three decades he was a leader of Norwegian republicans. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1903. D. 1910.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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