Hamsun’s smooth spaces

I often take Henry Miller to be the quintessential urban nomad, drawing smooth spaces through his wanderings, but I am finally making my way through the first of one of his favorite author’s books, Hunger, and seeing a striking resonance. Hamsun writes:

“Both excited and drunk, I walked along the street, ready to do great deeds. My joy over being able to come pure and honorable to my meeting with Ylayali, and look her straight in the face, ran away with me, being half drunk anyway. I had no more pains, my head was clear and empty, it felt like a head of pure light which balanced there shining on my shoulders. I felt an urge to pull off practical jokes, to do astounding things, turn the town upside down, and roar.”

(pg 148-9 of the Bly translation)

This passage goes on and is, of course, a counterpoint to many others marked by starvation-induced pain and madness…

Some more on Hamsun (with a quick reference to Miller calling him “the Dickens of my generation”) here.

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