Arnulf Øverland
Ole Peter Arnulf Øverland (27 April 1889 - 25 March 1968) was a Norwegian author born in Kristiansund
Kristiansund is a city and municipality on the western coast of Norway, in the Nordmøre district of Møre og Romsdal county. It was officially awarded township status in 1742, and it is still the major town for the region. The administrative center of the municipality is the city of Kristiansund...

 and raised in Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

. His works include Berget det blå (1927) and Hustavler (1929).


Øverland was a communist from the early 1920s, but changed his stand in 1937, partly as an expression of dissent against the ongoing Moscow Trials
Moscow Trials
The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials conducted in the Soviet Union and orchestrated by Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge of the 1930s. The victims included most of the surviving Old Bolsheviks, as well as the leadership of the Soviet secret police...

. He was an avid opponent of Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and in 1936 he wrote the poem "Du må ikke sove" ("Dare not to sleep!"
Dare not to sleep
"Dare not to sleep" is a poem written by Arnulf Øverland. The poem was first published in the magazine Samtiden in 1936, and included in the poetry collection Den Røde Front from 1937....

 printed in the journal Samtiden
Samtiden is a Norwegian political and literary magazine. It was founded by Jørgen Brunchorst and Gerhard Gran in 1890. The magazine's first publisher was John Griegs forlag , and from 1900 Aschehoug . Gran was the magazine's editor from 1892 to 1925. Cathrine Sandnes has been editor-in-chief from...

. It ends with "Jeg tenkte: Nu er det noget som hender. Vår tid er forbi - Europa brenner" ("I weighed: Something is imminent - and it’s dire
Our era is over — Europe’s on fire!"). The probably most famous line of the poem is "Du må ikke tåle så inderlig vel den urett som ikke rammer deg selv!" ("You cannot permit it! You dare not, at all. Accepting that outrage on all else may fall!")

In 1933, Øverland was tried for blasphemy
Blasphemy is irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things. Some countries have laws to punish blasphemy, while others have laws to give recourse to those who are offended by blasphemy...

 after giving a speech named Kristendommen - den tiende landeplage ("Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 - the tenth plague"), but was acquitted.

During the German occupation of Norway from 1940 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, he wrote a series of poems which were clandestinely distributed, leading to the arrest of him and his wife Margrete Aamot Øverland
Margrete Aamot Øverland
Margrete Aamot Øverland was a Norwegian resistance member during the Second World War, and later editor of the Riksmål newspaper Frisprog....

. Arnulf Øverland was held first in the prison camp of Grini before being transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May, 1945. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the structure was used as an NKVD...

 in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


The poems were later collected in Vi overlever alt ("We survive everything") (1945).

After the war, Øverland became a noted supporter for the conservative written form of Norwegian called Riksmål, he was president of Riksmålsforbundet
Riksmålsforbundet is the main organisation for Riksmål, one of the written standard of the Norwegian language ....

(an organization in support of Riksmål) from 1947 to 1956, playing an important role in the Norwegian language struggle
Norwegian language struggle
The Norwegian language struggle is an ongoing controversy within Norwegian culture and politics related to spoken and written Norwegian. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Danish was the standard written language of Norway due to Danish rule...

 in the post-war era.

In addition, Øverland adhered to the traditionalist style of writing, criticising modernist poetry
Modernist poetry
Modernist poetry refers to poetry written between 1890 and 1950 in the tradition of modernist literature in the English language, but the dates of the term depend upon a number of factors, including the nation of origin, the particular school in question, and the biases of the critic setting the...

 on several occasions. His speech Tungetale fra parnasset, published in Arbeiderbladet in 1954, initiated the so-called Glossolalia debate
Glossolalia debate
The Glossolalia debate was a literary debate on modernist poetry in Norway in the 1950s. The debate started with Arnulf Øverland's nationwide touring with the speech Tungetale fra Parnasset in 1953, characterizing modernist literature as babble and nonsense. His talk was published in...



(not a complete list)
  • Den røde front (1937)
  • Vi overlever alt (1945)
  • Sverdet bak døren (1956)
  • Livets minutter (1965)


(not a complete list)
  • Gyldendal's Endowment
    Gyldendal's Endowment
    Gyldendal's Endowment was a literature prize which was awarded in the period 1934–1995 by the Norwegian publisher Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. The prize was awarded to significant authors, regardless of which publisher the author was associated with...

     for 1935
  • Dobloug Prize
    Dobloug Prize
    The Dobloug Prize is a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction. The prize is named after Norwegian businessman and philanthropist Birger Dobloug pursuant to his bequest. The prize sum is . The Dobloug Prize is awarded annually by the Swedish Academy.-Prize winners:...

     for 1951
  • Mads Wiel Nygaards legat
    Mads Wiel Nygaards Endowment
    Mads Wiel Nygaard's Endowment is an annually awarded literary prize from the publishing house Aschehoug. The prize is a recognition of superior literary work. The publisher's editorial management makes the award based on their collective judgement of merit. Applications are not accepted.The...

    for 1961

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