Herman Wildenvey

Herman Wildenvey
Portåsen - the childhood home of Herman Wildenvey

Herman Wildenvey (20 July 1885 27 September 1959), born Herman Theodor Portaas, was one of the most prominent Norwegian poets of the twentieth century. During his lifetime he published 44 books of his own poetry, in addition to translations of William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, and Heinrich Heine.


Wildenvey was born in Mjøndalen, near the city of Drammen. His childhood home, from which he got his birthname, was called Portåsen. In 1912, he married Jonette Kramer Andreassen (18951985), who took the name Gisken (Wildenvey) upon the wedding.

On 28 June 1904 the SS Norge ran aground on Hasselwood Rock, close to Rockall, on Helen's Reef. According to Sebak's comprehensive account, the final death toll was 635, among them 225 Norwegians. The 160 survivors spent up to eight days in open lifeboats before rescue. Several more people died in the days that followed rescue as a result of their exposure to the elements and drinking the salt water. Herman Wildenvey was among the survivors.[1]

After living some years in Oslo and Copenhagen, the couple settled in the small coastal town of Stavern in 1923, where they built their home Hergisheim in 1927 ("Herman og Giskens Heim"; "Herman and Gisken's Home"). The couple lived there for the rest of their lives.

In 1955, four years before he died, Herman Wildenvey was honoured with title of Commander of the Royal Order of St. Olav in merit of his writing. He died in his home town of Stavern.

Partial bibliography

Original works

Direct translations of Norwegian titles shown in parentheses.




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