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Knut Hamsun

On 25 November, the All-Russian Museum of Decorative Folk Art, on Ulitsa Delegatskya (Metro Mayakovskaya), opened an exhibition of figurines based on Norwegian folk tales, in honour of the 150th anniversary of Knut Hamsun’s birth. Hamsun is an ambiguous figure, having won the Nobel Prize for Literature and been a Nazi supporter during the Second World War. His most famous novel, The Growth of the Soil was published in 1917 and was an anti-democratic paean to the virtues of what was later to become, in Germany, the Blood and Soil movement. Hamsun also loved Russia, having visited it in 1899 when he fell in love with the Russian tradition of fairy-stories. The exhibition is small but the figurines are beautiful and whimsical. Also very beautiful is the Museum generally, and the building it occupies, which is the Osterman house, is one of the most elegant but under-publicised eighteenth century mansions in Moscow. The exhibition runs until 22 December. See

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