My Struggle. Karl Ove Knausgaard

This week you’ll be learning about contemporary Norwegian writer Karl Ove
Knausgaard. Knausgaard has become a literary sensation this past decade largely due to his
novel My Struggle. Knausgaard’s My Struggle is in six volumes and is an autobiographical
account of his life and the people in it. The novel is renowned for its extremely honest,
unfiltered, and unsparing revelation of Knausgaard’s experiences and his perceptions of
himself, his life, and the people in it. This mission of honesty led him, for instance, to use the
real names of everyone who appears in the book, prompting his father to try to block the
book’s publication, citing the novel as full of “insinuations, untruths, false personal
characteristics and disclosures”. He has been criticized on moral grounds for his naked
exposure of everyone significant in his life, and has alienated some friends and family. The title
My Struggle in Norwegian is Min Kampf, and is a purposeful translation of Hitler’s
autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf, also My Struggle. The reasons for this connection are
explored in one of the readings, and it addresses an important dimension of Knausgaard’s
artistic outlook and mission.
First, tell me what you believe Knausgaard’s intentions for this book are and what its important
characteristics are. What is he trying to accomplish in his novel? What are some of the
characteristics of his writing and how he recounts events and people? What about it is daring,
remarkable, unique, moral, immoral, etc? Second, please write about your response to the
excerpt from Book 4. Connect your thoughts to what you read in the Atlantic article.

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