Hans Ernst Kinck (1865-1926) was a Norwegian Author, essayist and playwright of the symbolist school. He is usually compared to, and overshadowed by, Knut Hamsun, with whom he sparred intellectually, corresponded in his early career, and later mocked intensely in one of his short stories. When regarding the political developments in Europe, the two became polar opposites, because Hamsun embraced fascism while Kinck sternly warned against it.
Kinck was born in Northern Norway, and had to move around a great deal because his father was a country doctor who got assignments in different parts of the country. This gained Kinck some insights in rural Norway, both the valley of Setesdal and the fjords of Hardanger. Later, he would exploit this in his stories and novels (and even his plays). He studied Latin, and took his degrees on Norwegian medieval literature before turning fully to writing. The Middle Ages became important to him, and he spent many years abroad, especially Italy which became a second homeland to him. Although, after the 1922 fascist coup, he sadly admitted he did not like to go there anymore. Kinck wrote non stop, and delivered his last novel to print only two days before his death.
Tropes found in the works of Kinck:
- All of the Other Reindeer: Many, many times. Kinck often took sides with the oppressed, the loner against the many. His first novel is especially clear on this: Ivar, the main character, is subject to bullying all his life, and eventually goes insane.
- Author Appeal: Medieval Italy, or renaissance Italy. He had a knack of stealing plotlines from Giovanni Boccaccio, and expanded the stories from comedy to pure tragedy.
- Culture Clash: He wrote a lot about this, proposing the theory that culture clashes actually produced art. A child of his time, he was quite into the "race mix" of northern and southern elements that had created the Italian people. He also wrote a number of short stories about the difference between northern (Norwegian) and southern (Italian) mentality - setting a number of Norwegian "tourists" in Italy. In his time, many northerners went to Italy for inspiration and for seeing the sights (and painting them).
- Deadpan Snarker: Many of his characters. Machiavelli is probably the most notable.
- Driven to Suicide: It´s in the manual.
- Fanfic: Two of his plays are extensive re-tellings of Boccaccio novels. Agilulf The Wise expands on the story of the clever stable boy who seduced the Lombard queen, turning it into a tragic love story with a number of complentary characters not present in the original tale. The Brothers Of Lisabetta is a continuation fic, making a sequel to the original tale, dwelling on the fates of the titular brothers, twenty years after the death of Lisabetta.
- Gorn: Most notably the Machiavelly play and the Agilulf play, containing the memorable line: "The bishop is swimming in his own blood!"
- Historical Domain Character: Niccolò Machiavelli, Pietro Aretino - both of them got a play, and a lot of essays. He also wrote a historical play on the subject of the Lombard king Agilulf. Heck, all of the characters in the Machiavelly play is historical domain. He also planned to write a play over the fate of Giordano Bruno.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: If the loner does not succumb to angst and insanity, he turns against the mob, plotting for some kind of revenge.
- Loveable Rogue: Some of his main characters fall into this category. Most important of those is the main character of The Herdsman.
- Love Martyr: Shows up a lot in his short stories.
- Slobs vs. Snobs: More accurately the Norwegian farmers pitted against their betters (the ruling system). In a jarring sequence, the farmers actually break in and smashes the bailiff´s grand piano to pieces.
- Psychological Horror: He was quite good at this. His description of "mental monsters" is pure Lovecraftian storytelling - a man haunted by his own inner eldritch to the point where he has to kill himself, or get to terms with his own guilt. Quite chilling.
- Woman Scorned: Hoo boy, and they take killings in stride. Some of them get pure sadists because of this.
- Teudelinga, the Lombard queen in the play Agilulf the Wise goes from a mild mannered and happy woman in the second act to a mad harpy in the last one, when she understands how she got tricked in her own bed. She ends up nearly destroying her own chamber maid by sending her to a Dirty Old Man of the clergy, and would have succeeded, had not the king intervened by killing said clergyman.
- Yandere: Some of his female characters turn out to be this.