Jenny is the story of Jenny Winge, a talented Norwegian painter who lives a free and independent life in Rome. Betraying her own ideals, she has an affair, resulting in a child out of wedlock, and decides to raise the child on her own. Undset gives a gripping portrayal of a woman struggling towards fulfillment and independence, who at the same time wrestles with mental problems. It is written with unflinching honesty, which makes her story as compelling today as it was nearly a century ago. When Jenny was published in 1911, Undset found herself called immoral - "this is a side of the free, artistic life that the vast majority of citizens would rather not know." Most famous for her later, historical fiction set in Catholic, medieval Scandinavia, Undset stands revealed with Jenny, her first major novel, as an unsparing, compassionate, magnificent realist, the creator of works that are at once thoroughly modern and of enduring interest.
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