Comparative Analysis of Knut Hamsun's "Pan" and Mikheil Javakhishvili's "White Collar"

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Giorgi Beridze


Scandinavia and the Caucasus are culturally distant, just as geographically. On the other hand, in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries socio-political situation in Georgia and Norway has fueled national identity in the literature of both countries. This contradictory situation creates an affluent area of study for comparative literature, Which has already been realized in K. Loria's articles about Christian Krog and Egnate Ninoshvili, Henrik Ibsen, and Vazha-Pshavela, and what is especially interesting for us about Norwegian neo-romanticism and Georgian modernism. Knut Hamsun's "Pan" and Mikheil Javakhishvili's "White Collar" are remarkable examples of Norwegian neo-romanticism and Georgian modernism.

"Pan" and "White Collar" belong to the same era and combine their themes and similarities between the characters. The main character of both novels is a young man faced with a choice between two lives. On one side is rural, primitive life; on the other is the bohemian life of modern society. The lives in "Pan" and "White Collar" are represented by female characters, so it is promising to compare the works from a gender perspective. However, the perspectives are even more diverse. For example, both novels depict naturalism and scientific-technological themes.

The "White Collar" was published in 1926, 32 years later Hamsun "Pan." Due to the similarities, it is impossible to avoid the issue of possible influence, especially since Javakhishvili himself was an avid reader and intellectual. He spoke several foreign languages, and by that time, "Pan" had already been translated into those languages. In addition, Javakhishvili was well acquainted with the work of the great Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen, about which in 1906 he published a fascinating article in the newspaper "Iveria." Given these circumstances, it is likely that Javakhishvili is familiar with and even considers this novel by Hamsun. We will try to take a deeper look at this issue in our article.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Global South and Global North