Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oslo, 3-4 August, 2009

Monday, Tuesday August 3-4, 2009
Heyman reporting

Our entry to Oslo, through the magic of airport scooters and Moomins in Helsinki airport, was smooth. We found ourselves in a large hostel/hotel on the northwest side of town, surrounded by all of the embassies and posh establishments of Sense. It was a perfect bunker from which to launch our usual assault. One of our greatest stumbling blocks had to be this location (pictured below), something so deviously sensical that we had to walk Plumpudding Flea’s spitting distance around it in order not to be ill.

The next morning, we arose from our cell, scrubbed and buffed our tonsures, said our nonsense matins (that is, ὄρθρος or oўтреня or oygeŵąlt), and headed down to the Norse Barnebokinstitutt, which translates not to the Norgegian Institutute on Books about Barns, but rather, the Norwegian Children’s Literature Institute. When Kevin had initially written emails to various scholars in Norway, he received an overwhelming and enthusiastic response, and since our time was limited, we arranged one larger meeting with seven souls, a nonsense gathering of Nordic proportions. The building which houses the Institute and children’s book library is also the university library and is a grand place with a large indoor courtyard café on the ground floor . When we found our way up to the children’s library section, we met Kirsten Ørjasæter, the Director, who took us on a short tour of the library. It is an impressive space, with ample collections, scholarly works, and beautiful spaces to work surrounded by stacks of Norwegian children’s books. We were given a short lesson on typical Norwegian children’s books from days of yore—adventure stories of solitary survival in the wilderness (think Jack London meets Robinson Crusoe, but with polar bears).

Our meeting was held in a conference room, and was attended by the following group of friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful souls. The following, in order from left to right:

Harald Bashe-Wiig, Lina Undrum Mañussen, Åse Marie Ommundsen, Anne Kristin Lande, Anna Beate Storm-Larsen,
Kirsten Ørjasæter, Asfrid Svensen

After we presented the basics of the Anthology, we had a quick-fire discussion where nonsense was being flung like squid. Kevin and I played squid-catcher as best we could, bagging many suggestions and taking furious notes. Our formal discussion broke up, but we continued to talk to individuals for some time, as they each had much to offer.

We came back to the Institute the next morning, to make copies of their many suggestions and gather bibliographical information. We were treated like gentlemen scholars, ensconced in the reading room with coffee and tea, and proceeded to reap the rewards. Here are a few shots of our workspace and some of the books we were looking at.

Note that some of these books are illustrated by Paul René Gauguin, the son of the Gauguin. We came away with much material and new nonsense friends. Many thanks to them!

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