Click below to download an extract from a new edition of Camilla Collett’s The District Governor’s Daughters, first translated for Norvik Press in 1992 by Kirsten Seaver.
DistrictGovernorsDaughters_extract [pdf, 1.5 MB]
Jacobine Camilla Collett (1813-1895) published this, her only novel, in two parts in 1854-55 as Amtmandens Døttre. An intricate study of relationships, this novel portrays a bourgeois society in which marriage is a woman’s only salvation, and follows sympathetically the struggles of one intelligent young woman to break out of the mould. There are echoes of Collett’s own experience in the novel: the younger sister of Norwegian writer Henrik Wergeland, she had a love affair with Wegeland’s rival Johan Sebastian Welhaven before entering into a happy marriage with the politician Peter Jonas Collett, who died young, leaving her in debt and with four children. An early exponent of political feminism and literary realism, Camilla Collett continued to write diaries, letters, memoirs and opinion pieces all her life, travelling widely, and becoming increasingly radical in her commentary on women’s rights and on the representation of women in literature.