"She was twenty-eight, and she would not deny to herself that she longed to love and to be loved by a man, to nestle in his arms… Her blood was hot and she was yearning..."
Considering its year of publication (1911), Jenny is a very modern novel indeed—a realist novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, Sigrid Undset.
It’s a somber story that delves into the psychology of Jenny, an artist in her late 20s living a bohemian life and not sure why she’s not dreaming of settling down.
Sigrid Undset concentrates on the protagonist's inner development and the way that she copes with her surroundings and her desires. Her use of stream of consciousness is an advanced stylistic device used to show Jenny's inner confusion and conflicts.
Jenny Winge, is a talented Norwegian painter who journeys to Rome to seek inspiration.
She and her friends spend their days pursuing their dreams and their evenings socializing in the city's restaurants.
Jenny, unlike her sexually liberal friend Fransiska, vows to keep her virtue intact—until she falls in love with fellow Norwegian Helge Gramm, another Norwegian prowling Rome.
She allows herself to be captured against her better judgment, and what follows is an exploration of a woman caught between expectation and longing.
Armed with huge artistic talent and a positive outlook on life, Jenny makes one small mistake –a brief moment of love she’s long been thirsting for – and loses all control over her own fate.
When the affair sours, a disillusioned Jenny becomes involved with Helge's father, Gert, destroying both her artistic ambition and herself.
SIGRID UNDSET (1882–1949) Norwegian author won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Her best-known works are Jenny, published in 1911, and Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy about life in Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, as seen through the eyes of a woman from birth until her death. Its three volumes were published between 1920 and 1922.