The Four Greats (Norwegian writers)

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The Four Greats. Clockwise from top left: Kielland, Lie, Ibsen, and Bjørnson.

The Four Greats (Danish and Norwegian de fire store) is a term used for four of the most influential Norwegian writers of the late 19th century.[1]

The Four Greats were:

  • Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) playwright, theatre director, and poet who introduced Theatrical realism to the Norwegian stage. [2]
  • Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832–1910) novelist, dramatist and playwright who became the first Norwegian Nobel laureate. [3]
  • Jonas Lie (1833–1908) novelist, poet, and playwright focusing largely on the folk life and social spirit of the nation of Norway. [4]
  • Alexander Kielland (1849–1906) novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist most known for his satirical writings and short stories. [5]

Originally a publicity gimmick introduced by their publisher, Gyldendal, the term stuck and is still widely used for these writers. The four authors had in common that they to some extent belonged to the same generation and were influential in Literary realism within Norway during the period 1860–1890. Additionally Bjørnson, Ibsen and Lie all attended the same school in Christiania (now Oslo), Heltberg Latin School (Heltbergs Studentfabrikk). The school had been founded in 1846 by Henrik Heltberg (1806–1873) and Wessel Reehorst (1824–1910) to prepare students for their university matriculation.[6]



  1. ^ Knut Gørvell (September 2015). "Hvem er «De Fire Store» i vår tid?". Cappelen Damm. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  2. ^ Henrik Ibsen (Norsk biografisk leksikon) Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  3. ^ Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (Norsk biografisk leksikon) Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  4. ^ Jonas Lie (Norsk biografisk leksikon) Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  5. ^ Alexander L Kielland (Norsk biografisk leksikon) Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  6. ^ Sigurd Aa. Aarnes. "Henrik Heltberg". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved 15 June 2016.

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