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Singnagtugaq
A Greenlanders Dream
Mathias Storch; Torben Hutchings, trans.; Knud Rasmussen, intro.




International Polar Institute
2016 • 128 pp. 4 1/4 x 7 1/2"
Arctic Studies

$19.95 Paperback, 978-0-9821703-8-0



“The stories — the everyday ones, as well as ones such as of curious, ambitious Pavia, as well as that of heartbroken Silas and his fate — certainly make for a small novel that is of more than merely cultural-historical interest.” —The Complete Review

The first original novel in Greenlandic, published in 1915, portraying a vision of a future, modern Greenland free of colonial humiliation and poverty

Published in 1915, Singnagtugaq: A Greenlanders Dream, created both furor and literary history as the first original novel in Greenlandic. Initially the book was seen as an encounter between the historic clash of good and evil–Danish colonizers and the colonized Greenlanders. The book portrays this encounter in vivid, harsh terms reflecting the time. At the end of the novel comes a vision of a future, modern Greenland, freed from colonial humiliation and poverty: the first literary expression of the desire for progress which later became so prominent in Greenlandic poetry and politics. It also described the first required Danish education for primary school students, not to serve as subservient to the Danish, but as a necessary part of a Greenlanders education and growth. Later, this apparent contradiction came to characterize Greenlandic cultural policy.

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MATHIAS STORCH was born in Greenland in 1883. He grew up in a hunting family in a small Greenlandic village, and was educated in a Nuuk seminary. After graduation, he became the first link in a new priest training program, spending three years in Denmark. In 1910 he was ordained and came to the northern colonies in 1920, to Ilulissat, where he remained until his death. He was a strong and authoritative personality and the first Greenlander appointed as acting dean of northern Greenland. He retired in 1953 but worked occasionally as a priest until his death.

Storch was a positive symbol to ordinary Greenlanders while urging religious activity and therefore, for some decades, he was by virtue of his strong personality and fearless independence, a kind of spiritual chief to northern Greenland.

Torben Hutchings is part-Danish, and based in Edinburgh, Scotland, having given up a career in chemistry to work in freelance translating and run a small market stall.



Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:48:35 -0500