Jonas Lie

Jonas Lie books and biography

Jonas Lie

This page is about Jonas Lie the novelist. For the NS minister, see Jonas Lie (government minister); for the artist, see Jonas Lie (painter)

Jonas Lauritz Idemil Lie (November 6, 1833 – July 5, 1908) was a Norwegian novelist, considered to be one of the Four Greats of 19th century Norwegian literature.



Jonas Lie was born in Hokksund in Eiker, Buskerud county in southern Norway. Five years after his son's birth, Lie's father was appointed sheriff of Tromsø, which lies within the Arctic Circle, and young Jonas Lauritz Edemil Lie, spent six of the most impressionable years of his life at that remote port.

He was sent to the naval school at Fredriksværn; but his defective eyesight caused him to give up a life at sea.

He transferred to the Latin School at Bergen, and in 1851 entered the University of Christiania, where he made the acquaintance of Ibsen and Bjørnson. He graduated in law in 1857, and shortly afterwards began to practice at Kongsvinger, a town in located between the lake Mjøsa and Sweden.

Clients were not numerous at Konsvinger and Lie found time to write for the newspapers and became a frequent contributor to some of the Christiania journals. His first work was a volume of poems which appeared in 1866 and was not successful. During the four following years he devoted himself almost exclusively to journalism, working hard and without much reward, but acquiring the pen of a ready writer and obtaining command of a style which has proved serviceable in his subsequent career. In 1870 he published Den Fremsynte ("The Visionary or Pictures From Nordland"), a powerful tale of the sea and northern superstitions. In the following year he revisited Nordland and traveled into Finnmark.

Having obtained a small traveling pension from the Government, immediately after his journey to Nordland, he sought the greatest contrast he could find in Europe to the scenes of his childhood and started for Rome. For a time he lived in North Germany, then he migrated to Bavaria, spending his winters in Paris. In 1882 he visited Norway for a time, but returned to the continent of Europe. His voluntary exile from his native land ended in the spring of 1893, when he settled at Holskogen, near Kristiansund. His works were numerous after that.

Jonas Lie died in Stavern on July 5, 1908.


Among Lies finest works must be considered Familien paa Gilje (The Gilje family), which with its subtitle an interior from the 40s was a stiking document of the life of an officers family, and the few options given to the daughters of these families. One might consider it a Norwegian equivalent of British authors such as Austen and Brontë.

His two colletions of short stories called Trold (Trolls actually), are thrilling examples of the superstitions of the fishermen and coast commoners of northern Norway. One of these Trolls were selected by Roald Dahl to his book of the 14 finest ghost stories of the world.


  • Digte 1867
  • Den Fremsynte 1870
  • Tremasteren Fremtiden 1872
  • Fortællinger og Skildringer 1872
  • Lodsen og hans Hustru 1874
  • Faustina Strozzi 1875
  • Thomas Ross 1878
  • Adam Schrader 1879
  • Rutland 1880
  • Grabows Kat 1880
  • Gaa paa! 1882
  • Livsslaven 1883
  • Familjen paa Gilje 1883
  • En Malstrøm 1884
  • Otte Fortællinger 1885
  • Kommandørens Døtre 1886
  • Et Samliv 1887
  • Maisa Jons 1888
  • Digte 1889
  • Onde Magter 1890
  • Trold I-II 1891-92
  • Niobe 1893
  • Lystige Koner 1894
  • Naar Sol gaar ned 1895
  • Dyre Rein 1896
  • Lindelin 1897
  • Wulffie & Co 1897
  • Faste Forland 1899
  • Naar Jerntæppet falder 1901
  • Ulfvungerne 1903
  • Østenfor Sol, vestenfor Maane og bagom Babylons Taarn! 1905
  • Eventyr 1908
  • Jonas Lie og hans samtidige 1915


The Visionary or Pictures From Nordland By Jonas Lie; Translated from the Norwegian by Jessie Muir; Hodder Brothers; London; 1894

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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