Scientific literature is the foundation of the academic world. Norwegian writings in this genre reflect the wide array of disciplines and research fields relevant to Norwegian academia.
Norway’s first university was founded in Christiania (the former name for Oslo) in 1811. The 1800s were a time of nation-building in Norway, and the development of Norwegian as a written language constituted a fundamental element in the establishment of a national identity (see Essays). The linguistic investigations of Ivar Aasen (1813-96) played a critical role in the development of the modern Norwegian. Aasen occupies a unique place in Norwegian literary history as the founder of Nynorsk ("New Norwegian"). Nynorsk has achieved co-official status with Bokmål ("Book Norwegian") and is widely used today.
Norway truly entered the modern academic arena after WWII. As the population increasingly sought out education, a new body of professional literature emerged, particularly within the social sciences. Today, Norway is part of the global knowledge society, and features a wide range of scientific literature. Many Norwegian academics have gained international recognition in fields such as economics, psychology, social science and philosophy.
Arne Næss (1912-) is one of the most prominent Norwegian intellectuals of the post-War period. As a researcher, ideologist, textbook author, social commentator and philosopher, his works span many subjects and have appealed to a broad audience. An avid mountaineer who has led several Norwegian expeditions, Næss is a well-known proponent of deep ecology.
The introductory textbook A History of Philosophy by Gunnar Skirbekk and Nils Gilje has been translated into several languages and is a classic in contemporary Norwegian scientific literature. Sociologist and criminologist Nils Christie (1928-), has also been widely translated, and is known for his ability to find new approaches to key problems in areas such as the legal and penal systems, alcohol and drug-related issues, youth culture, and schools.
Lars Fr. H. Svendsen’s (1970-) books on philosophy convey information about difficult subjects to the public at large without diminishing the complexity of the subject matter. His first book, Kjedsomhetens filosofi (The Philosophy of Boredom, 1999), has been translated into numerous languages. Eirik Newth (1964-) has produced a number of easily understandable science books for children and young people.