Mårbacka Selma Lagerlöf


Published: 1944


327 pages


Mårbacka  by  Selma Lagerlöf

Mårbacka by Selma Lagerlöf
1944 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 327 pages | ISBN: | 6.51 Mb

A few years ago I came across Gösta Berlings Saga by Selma Lagerlof on a list of classic books. When I came across it in a bookstore I bought it. It has been awhile since I read it so I dont remember a lot about it, but because of that book I now knew the author. Lagerlof was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She won the Nobel Prize in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings. So when a few months ago I saw another book by Lagerlof in a used bookstore I brought it home.

That book was Mårbacka. I knew nothing about the book before I began reading it. The poor book is so worn and old I was afraid it would fall apart before I finished reading it (it didnt).The $40,000 Nobel Prize money Lagerlof had won made it possible for her to purchase back Marbacka, the estate near East Amtervik in Varmland, where she was born. It had been sold after her fathers death. And it was here, with the scene always before her, that she wrote Marbacka in 1922.

The book is about Lagerlofs own family and life on the family farm during her fathers time.Lagerlöf divided Mårbacka into five sections, each of which represents a different subject. The first section, “The Strömstad Journey,” is the closest to ordinary autobiography. She recalls in this section how, as a girl of three, she had wakened from a nap one summer morning to find her legs paralyzed. For a year after that the nurse, Back-Kaisa carried her around. Lagerlof tells us that when this nurse first comes to them the children are all afraid of her:She had a large-featured, swarthy, stern-looking face, her hands were hard and full of cracksm, in which the childrens hair would catch when she combed it, and she was heavy and mournful.....But when one day little three year old Selma wakes up unable to move her legs Back-Kaisa lifts her up and tells her not to cry, that she is going to carry Selma.

And that is what she does. After that Selma is no longer afraid of Back-Kaisa and she is glad to have such a good strong friend like Back-Kaisa.A year after she becomes paralyzed her family takes her to the West Coast in the hope that the sea air and the baths might effect a cure. She returned able to walk again, but she always believed that it was not the baths or the air, but a beautiful bird of paradise which had cured her.The second and third sections of the book- The Old Housekeepers Tales and Old Houses and Old People are filled with family stories and legends.

These were my favorite parts of the book. Each chapter is like a separate story and I found some of them fascinating. Then, in the fourth section- “The New Mårbacka,” Lagerlöf sympathetically describes Lieutenant Lagerlöf’s vain attempts to fulfill his grand dreams for the estate.

The final section, “Workdays and Fête Days,” recalls games and pranks, daily rituals and family celebrations, including the annual observation of the Lieutenant’s birthday, which is both amazingly elaborate and very touching. Miss Lagerlofs father must have been an amazing man.One of the things about the book I found both surprising and enjoyable was how superstitious the people were. In the story The Neckan a young 17 year old girl on her way home in the evening from visiting at the cottages in her neighborhood, she sees a large-beautiful stallion grazing by the shore of a bay.

When the stallion sees the girl it gallops across the meadow and into the bay disappearing into a cloud of foam. Realizing what she has seen she continues home and tells the serving-folk that she had seen the Neckan and that they should all be careful, or before very long one among them would surely be drowned. Everyone simply believes this story without question even though there is no lake nearby and the river is dry in the heat of the summer. Im not telling whether anyone drowns or not.In another story this same girl, Lisa Maja, decides it is time for her to marry, having just turned seventeen- so she wisely makes......a dream-pancake.

A dream pancake is three spoonfuls of water, three spoonfuls of meal, and three spoonfuls of salt.You must eat this pancake then go right to bed. Also, you cant drink anything after eating the pancake before morning or it will break the spell. If you do all this correctly you should dream of the man who will be your husband. If you want to know if this works either read the story or try it for yourself.In the story, The Bridal-Crown Mamselle Lovisa is the one who dresses the brides. The daughters of the best peasant families come to Mamselle Lovisa to dress them for their wedding day.

The most important thing she makes for them is the bridal-crown. The crown had to be made of myrtle, but it was difficult to procure fresh myrtle and Lovisa had tried to raise some for herself but it would never grow for her. Then comes one wedding and the day before the wedding Lovisa cannot find enough myrtle to make the crown, she sends her maids to the neighboring farms, but all the myrtle is sick and black that year. She wishes she could use whortleberry which is very like myrtle, but that would be a terrible disgrace, no bride would be properly married if she didnt wear a myrtle crown.

The day of the wedding comes and there is a beautiful bridal-crown for the bride, somehow Lovisa managed to make it. Everyone is happy. Only later does the rumor get out that the crown wasnt made from myrtle and because it wasnt myrtle Lovisa will never marry. Poor Lovisa should have been making my bridal crown, I would neither know the difference between myrtle and whortleberry, but I certainly wouldnt care.Whether Lovisa spends the rest of her life alone or marries and has a houseful of children is up to you to find out.I have to mention the story of The Lemmings in which the wicked step-mother of the before mentioned Lisa Maja is on her way home to Marbacka after dark and she is thinking of how she will worry and torment her poor stepdaughter in order to get her to marry the man she has picked for her.

All at once the horse shied with a jerk that nearly upset the chaise, dashed off the road and down a field, when the driver finally gets him under control and stopped the horse is trembling. The driver and the step mother start getting out of the chaise to lead the horse back to the road when the stepmother screams and jumps back in, the ground is moving. It seems to them that the entire earth is running toward the lake. At last they see what it is, hordes of little animals, the field is alive with them, they must be supernatural. Finally the horse starts moving again crunching the little animals under his feet.

The stepmother is terrified and keeps screaming theyre in the chaise, theyre pulling at my skirt- theyll drag me to the lake.Now without giving away the ending I will tell you that I looked up lemmings just to see what they were and it appears that they are, well....rodents.

Yes heres what they are:Lemmings are small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic, in tundra biomes. They are subniveal animals, and together with voles and muskrats, they make up the subfamily Arvicolinae (also known as Microtinae), which forms part of the largest mammal radiation by far, the superfamily Muroidea, which also includes rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils.Just great, they are related to my arch enemy, the mouse.

The only real difference and the thing that makes the story make sense appears to be:Lemmings have become the subject of a widely popular misconception that they commit mass suicide when they migrate. It is not a mass suicide, but the result of their migratory behavior. Driven by strong biological urges, some species of lemmings may migrate in large groups when population density becomes too great.

Lemmings can swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. In such cases, many may drown if the body of water is so wide as to stretch their physical capability to the limit.Im now wondering if I could get all the mice/moles/voles in my neighborhood to commit mass suicide by jumping into the Susquehanna river, which is the closest large body of water to my house.

Ill even give them a ride there in the back of our truck if theyre willing.The book ends with a postscript in which Selma Lagerlöf expresses the sense of loss she feels not only because so many people she loved are no longer living, but also because their way of life is gone forever.I stepped out and went over to the churchyard to place the wreath. My sad heart wept over my loved ones who lay sleeping there. Father and Mother, Grandmother, Aunt Lovisa, and the old housekeeper-I had seen them all laid away.I longed for them, I wished they might come back and dwell in that Marbacka which their labours had built up.But still, silent, inaccessible, they slept on.

They seemed not to hear me. Yet perhaps they did. Perhaps these recollections, which have hovered round me the last few years, were sent forth by them. I do not know, but I love to think so.I loved the book. Ill read it again. If it doesnt fall apart first that is.

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