The second half of the 1800s was an important period for Norwegian literature. At that time Arne Garborg (1851-1924) was one of the most important author philosophers in Norway, writing novels, poetry, essays and prose. He was also an active participant in public debates. Several of his books are considered the best within their genres. Garborg was also an avid advocate for “nynorsk”, a version of the Norwegian language based on old dialects in the countryside, as opposed to “bokmål”, the official version of Norwegian based strongly on the Danish language. Garborg often used nynorsk in his published works and he is the man behind its artistic breakthrough. Nynorsk eventually became an official version of Norwegian, side by side with bokmål.
Today the poetic masterpiece The Mountain Maid (“Haugtussa”) and the novel Peace (“Fred”) are the most read works by Arne Garborg. The Mountain Maid has also been immortalized through composer Edvard Grieg’s music (Op. 67). Other important novels were The Making of Daniel Braut (“Bondestudentar”), (“Mannfolk”), (“Hjå ho mor”), Weary Men (“Trette men”) and The Lost Father (“Den bortkomne faderen”). Arne Garborg did his most renowned writing in the 1880s and 1890s but he continued to be a prominent intellectual figure in Norway throughout the rest of his life.