Holinshed For Hamsun


When Mr Ardle visited on Sunday he brought with him a spare, slightly damaged, Penguin paperback copy of Hunger by Knut Hamsun and swapped it for a prinstine Folio Society copy of a selection of Holinshed’s Chronicles.

He had received the damaged goods from The Book Depository and they sent him another copy when he complained.


For my part, I had forgotten that I’d ordered an advance copy of the Chronicles from the FS several months ago and ordered another one earlier this month.  The FS were just as generous in their response to my email. I was told that I could send the redundant copy back to them and they would replace it AND pay the postage.

I was tempted to take them up on the offer, especially as another book I received from them, Greek Science by G. E. R. Lloyd, with illustrations of the Greeks by Adam Simpson, had a slightly skew-whiff fronispiece of Aristotle in it and I was thinking about sending both books back in a single package.


However, since Ardle is an erudite fellow whose horny hands have handled, blotted and besmirched, a first edition of Holinshed, I thought he might enjoy refamiliarizing himself with his old undergrad hunting ground and in a moment of imprudent generosity gave it to him as an early birthday present.

I was very pleased to receive a copy of Hunger, not that it will make for a highly enjoyable read, but because it was mentioned by another writer in a context that I found significant and so I made a mental note a couple of months ago that it was a book that I wanted to read. The trouble is that I can no longer remember for the life of me what the import of the reference to Hamsun‘s novel was, or where I read it, or by whom it was written, although the only likely source on my recent reading list is Zizek or Milbank in The Monstrosity of Christ, but I can find no trace of any reference there to Hamsun. I doubt that reading Hunger will adequetely suffice to resolve the matter either.


  1. Ah, yes, imprudent generosity is a most splendid thing, at least when one is on the receiving end of it. Much obliged, guv, off to eBay I go with the big green tome, there to be quids in since Hollin’s Shed is a hot little number and everyone and its grandmother wants one.

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