Sigrid Undset is a major figure in early twentieth-century literature. A Norwegian born in Denmark in 1881, she worked with the Norwegian underground during the Second World War, fled to Sweden in 1940, and later came to the United States. She is the author of many works of fiction as well as several books for young readers and a number of nonfiction titles. Her novels encompass a variety of settings and time periods, ranging from medieval romances such as theKristin Lavransdattertrilogy—generally considered to be her masterwork—andThe Master of Hestvikentetralogy to modern novels such asThe Winding Road,Ida Elisabeth,andThe Faithful Wife. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1928. Sigrid Undset died in 1949.
Brad Leithauseris the author of five previous books of poetry, five novels, a book of essays, and a novel in verse. After many years of teaching at Mount Holyoke College, he is now a professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, the poet Mary Jo Salter, divide their time between Amherst, Massachusetts, and Baltimore, Maryland.