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Catching Up


Well, 2020 was an *interesting* year. (What is that blessing/curse about living in "interesting times"?) I hope 2021 is better, or if not better, at least no worse that the year preceding. I mean, it couldn't get any worse... right? No, of course not!


I particularly want to greet my subscribers who hit the like button or equivalent, and then didn't hear anything from me. Virginia, Pietro, Burnsdae, Jeff, Gabrithe, Ctina, Llibre, Lillopsahl, Kelli and Ronald: Happy New Year!


It's a bit funny, actually. When I began this blog, I didn't expect anyone to sign up that I didn't actually know. It turns out there's more interest in Sigrid Undset than I realised, and it seems to be increasing. I've just learned of two esteeméd academics planning on writing books on the great woman.


In the meantime, in spite of the optics, I haven't been entirely idle. I've been using these last months to focus on improving my Norwegian. Weekly lessons with a native speaker - over Zoom, of course! I've been translating a few articles of Sigrid, but it's not an easy task. "They" say that a couple of thousand words is enough to be fluent in a language. What "they" didn't mention was you need many more words to be able to translate a wordsmith such as Undset. While I'm enjoying the linguistic challenge, I don't want to leave you in the lurch...


Progress report on PhD: I submitted my initial research proposal regarding the influence of St Thomas Aquinas/Thomism/Scholasticism on Sigrid to the university. They loved it, approved it, invited me to the programme. Then I suddenly realised that the thesis statement was at least unprovable and possibly completely false. Rickemrackemfrickemfrackem! (That's Norwegian for "Rats!") Back to the drawing board! Now I'm looking at shifting the focus to Sigrid Undset as apologist of the Catholic Church. She knew her stuff and didn't mince her words. Strident, gutsy, didn't give a damn about what anyone thought of her. Her letters and articles defending the Church are absolute gold, and I think the key to really understanding the rest of her writings.

Some of these are available in English in the book On Saints and Sinners (Ignatius Press). But I count about a hundred other pertinent articles that have never been translated. That will be part of my job. By the way, if you happen to be a Norwegian Undset fan, or you know one, I could always do with proofreaders!

Right! I pledge to write more often and will aim for something at least once a week. That's good for me, and good (I hope) for you. By the way, if you came to this through the Facebook page, you won't find it any more. It was taken down, as apparently I was impersonating a famous person. I'm not sure if they know that she's been dead for over seventy years, but never mind. Given that there have been several hundred views of this hitherto dud blog, I don't think I'll bother with another Facebook account.


I'll write a post shortly about how I came to know about Sigrid Undset and why exactly I want to make her the subject of the doctorate. It's an interesting tale in itself, so stay tuned!



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