Edvard Munch's Writings in English

It is with great pleasure that we present an English edition of a selection of Munch's texts. The English edition includes 68 of Munch's literary sketches and notes on art. A total of 1100 manuscript pages have been translated. The authorised English translations of this selection of Munch's writings are equipped with commentaries and accompanied by supplementary articles and facsimiles of the originals.

Edvard Munch’s world-renowned artistry would probably not be what it is if it were not for his aptitude for expressing his ideas about his works and endeavours. Edvard Munch’s literary sketches, prose poems and notes related to art represent a wealth of material that not only serves to shed light on Munch's significant artistic oeuvre, they also have literary qualities in their own right. The lyrical prose texts related to his own pictures provide a rich opportunity for immersion into his parallel artistic experimentation in words and images. Well-known examples are the several literary and visual versions of the Scream motif. All the known literary versions are included in this selection.

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MM T 329, fol. 1r

“Your eyes are as large as half the sky / when you stand near me and your hair with gold dust / your mouth I do not see – see only that you are smiling”

MM T 2547, fol. 000-A1


MM N 626, p. 1

“I saw all the people / behind their masks – / smiling, phlegmatic / – subdued faces – / I saw through them / and there was suffering – in them / all –”

MM T 2367, p. 1

“The Sky suddenly / turned blood-red / I paused, leaned / against the fence tired / to death”

MM T 2783, p. 42

“From Your large / black Eyes invisible / Hands draw / delicate Threads / through the Pupils / of my Eyes / and twine Them / around my Heart”

MM T 2761, fol. 32v

“It is so strange to be entirely / gone that it must that the hour must / come when you can say to yourself / now you have 10 now 5 minutes left / and then it will happen and you shall / feel how little by little you become / nothing – // Then you will never again see the green landscapes / It is so strange that so much that is / lovely exists and that one has to leave it.”

MM T 2761, fol. 2r

“She said / she would be / leaving them / was forced to leave / them – and asked / if they / would be / grieved when / she was gone – ”

MM T 2761, fol. 44v–45r

“The fact is one sees with different eyes / at different times. One sees differently / in the Morning than in the evening. // The way one sees is also dependent / upon one’s state of mind and how one otherwise / feels.”

MM T 2770, fol. 22v

“It grew dark once more – a quivering / sparkling darkness – the strip between / the draperies was slightly lighter // I pressed my face into the pillow / How delightful life was”

MM T 2785, p. 1

“The Smile – // The Child’s – The Harlot’s – / The Lady of the Court’s – / The Mephisto smile – The Smile / of well-being – Mona Lisa’s”

MM  T 2759, fol. 8r–9r

“I travelled Home to my / Garden – new Hope was / revived in me – new Strength – / – I then looked about the little / Garden – and observed the budding / Greenery – observed my Flowers / – my Birds – my Animals and // my Sky.”