Karakterer. Etter La Bruyère is loosely based on the French classic Les Caractères by Jean de La Bruyère (1645–1696), which was in itself a continuation of Teofrast's (around 371–287 BC) Characters. In Thomas Lundbo's version, the future is used to reflect our time as a kind of reversed science fiction. It contains a few direct translations from La Bruyère's texts, and also develops some ideas discussed in La Bruyère's book.
However, this collection for the most part comprises original texts. Karakterer. Etter La Bruyère contains portraits of different 'characters' or types of people, small short story-like tales, aphoristic reflections on the historic development and characteristics of our time, reflections on morality, society and modern life in general.
‘Karakterer. Etter La Bruyère is a non-traditional work. Bold as regards the choice of an old form, but linguistically readable and very clever. The texts allow room for reflection and contemplation, and are ideal for reading in chunks.’
5 out of 5
‘A playful, self-ironic and invigorating text about how and how quickly we “recreate” ourselves. The masks and fashions change so quickly that a “bohemian” becomes an “amateur” and then more or less “passé” in the space of nine lines. And we get the point. Well done, Lundbo.’
‘I’m having trouble thinking of another Norwegian publication in recent years that might be more aptly described as a “cornucopia”. While reading I sometimes wondered whether it was the qualities of the original that made it seem so fresh or whether Lundbo’s style was simply coming into its own in this form – but it doesn’t really matter. Put simply, we are all compositions or products of our own time, but also of times gone by. Lundbo dresses up in the finery of old, but not without an eye for what is new. Character literature in full regalia.’
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