Kristin Lavransdatter and the real Deal

Sigrid Undset
Sigrid Undset

I just finished Nobel Laureate Sigrid Undset‘s Kristin Lavransdatter recently. So I decided to go back and listen to a couple of old Mars Hill Audio Journal interviews that piqued my interest to read it some day.

So, first, I should clarify that I finished the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, because I hadn’t appreciated that it really was a trilogy, bundled in one Kindle edition. That’s one thing I learned.

A second was that that the prior translation from Norwegian to English was really bad, and I got lucky to get the translation of Tina Nunnaly, who was one of the interview subjects. I might have missed a really good story had I been forced to deal with the earlier version, as did many who gave up after a few chapters.

Third, this wonderful (if massive) trilogy is out of favor, perhaps because Kristin (apart from insisting on marrying her choice rather than her beloved father’s, which arguably was a mistake and certainly was life-changing) is nobody’s idea of a modern feminist.

But then the interest got piqued in a different direction. One interview subject was Deal W. Hudson, far better known as a “conservative” political activist than as a scholar (which he was, and in which capacity he was interviewed). And I recalled that he was involved in some scandal that drove him into obscurity, but I couldn’t remember what it was.

So I Googled “Deal Hudson scandal” and found that, of course, the scandal was sexual (I should have known) and that the top Google hits tended to attack him from the right, not the left. See here and here.

And although he may be toxic to the GOP now, “He remains influential among conservative Catholic voters, an important demographic electoral bloc” (Wikipedia) – despite the scandal being pretty darned ugly predatory exploitation of a co-ed more than young enough to be his daughter, after he got her drunk, and coming 5-10 years after his conversion from Southern Baptist to Roman Catholic. (Suddenly, people also noted his two prior marriages and divorces while a Baptist minister.)

So although the stage may be smaller, he’s not driven into obscurity after all.

What? You’re expecting a moral from that story!?

Okay, here’s a moral of sorts: You can’t indict Democrats for hypocrisy because they profess no standards; and although you can indict a Republican, you can’t convict and get a long sentence, because Republican sexual “standards” really only apply to Democrats.

There. Happy?

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.