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  • Arild Stubhaug


It was Fridtjof Nansen who broached the subject of Lie’s discontent “down on the Leipzig plains”. Nansen had crossed Greenland on skis in 1888 — a bold and exhausting expedition that brought him much glory, and about which he wrote in a very successful book. Nansen was back from Greenland in the spring of 1889, and in the autumn he married Eva Sars, sister to Ernst and Georg Ossian Sars. Eva Sars was then a well-known concert singer. She had studied in Berlin, and her repertoire included opera, German lieder and Norwegian folksongs. Nansen received 7,000 kroner from the publishers, Aschehoug, for his voluminous manuscript on the tour across Greenland on skis, and in the spring of 1890 the book began to come out in instalments. It was simultaneously translated into English and German. In the autumn of 1890, Nansen left Norway together with his wife Eva, for a lecture tour of Germany. He had an audience with Kaiser Wilhelm II in Berlin. The Kaiser was presented with a copy of the German edition of the Greenland book, Auf Schneeschuhen durch Grönland,a book whose popularity did much to spread the sport of skiing, which in Germany and the continent was still considered something rather strange that belonged to the far north. In the course of his German lecture tour, Nansen and his wife Eva arrived in Leipzig, and perhaps Lie was among the many who listened to Nansen lecture about his Greenland expedition. In any case, Lie and Nansen met in Leipzig, and Lie invited Nansen and his wife Eva to visit him and Anna on Seeburgstrasse. The invitation was for November 16,1890, but Nansen had declined — with a short letter in which, on behalf of his wife and himself, he thanked Lie and his wife warmly for the friendship they showed by inviting the Nansens to their home that evening, and he continued: “As I told You however, my wife is completely mad about music, and since we shall only be in Leipzig for one day, she would very much like to attend the Opera here. Thus it is that I hope You will excuse us, as in such matters I am my wife’s obedient servant.”


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arild Stubhaug
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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