Few productions of modern literature have proved as epoch-making as the modest little volume called "Synnoeve Solbakken," which appeared in the book shops of Christiania and Copenhagen in 1857. It was a simple tale of peasant life, an idyl of the love of a boy and a girl, but it was absolutely new in its style, and in its intimate revelation of the Norwegian character.
Then imagine the issue between them to be drawn not only in the field of letters, but also in the pulpit, the theatre, and the political arena, and some slight notion may be obtained of the condition of affairs which preceded the advent of Bjoernson and the true birth of Norwegian literature with "Synnoeve Solbakken."
It is by these tales of peasant life that Bjoernson is best known outside of his own country; one may almost say that it is by them alone that he is really familiar to English readers. A free translation of "Synnoeve Solbakken" was made as early as 1858, by Mary Howitt, and published under the title of "Trust and Trial."
I packed up, went home, thought it all over, wrote and rewrote `Between the Battles' in a fortnight, and travelled to Copenhagen with the completed piece in my trunk; I would be a poet." He then set to writing "Synnoeve Solbakken," published it in part as a newspaper serial, and then in book form, in the autumn of 1857. He had "commenced author" in good earnest.