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July 23, 1921

Growth of the Soil.

JAMA. 1921;77(4):305-306. doi:10.1001/jama.1921.02630300063034

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Knut Hamsum, winer of the Nobel prize for literature in 1920, is the author of numerous novels, dramas, essays and poems depicting Norwegian life. In "Growth of the Soil" he presents an epic, the chief plea of which is the call to go back to the land and the simple life. The story concerns a simple peasant who goes into the wilds, builds himself a farm, marries, raises his family, and through his success attracts to the uncultivated forests more and more people until he establishes a farming community. Incidental to the story there are many medical aspects, for Hamsun is a realist and knows that few human lives are untouched by the problems of medicine. Thus Inger, wife of Isak, chief character of the story, is afflicted with a harelip. The great fear of her life is that one of her children will be similarly afflicted. At the coming