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Marta Steinsvik (23 March 1877 – 1950) was a Norwegianmarker author and translator.

She was born Marta Tonstad on the farm Skjeggestad in Bakkemarker near Flekkefjordmarker, which was owned by her father Torkell Tonstad, who also worked as a teacher in Flekkefjord. Marta lived there until she was three years old. Her mother Ingeborg was also from Tonstadmarker, and both parents came from old farming families.

Steinsvik studied medicine in Kristianiamarker, but never finished her studies because she was against vivisection. She studied several other subjects such as egyptology, (in Londonmarker), and was the first woman to graduate from the MF Norwegian School of Theologymarker, but was not allowed to practice. She was the first Norwegian woman to preach in a church, (in 1910 in Grønland church in Oslo). She was invited to an international Women's conference in Genevamarker, and planned to give a talk on women priests, until the Pope forbade all Catholic women to attend if she did, forcing her to give a speech on another subject.

In 1894 she started writing in the newspaper, Den 17de Mai, named for the Norwegian Constitution Day.

She married Rasmus Olai Steinsvik, the man behind Den 17de Mai, on 16 May 1896. She had problems in childbirth and her doctor told her a sixth child would be likely to kill her, so she moved away from her husband. She was a good friend of Rudolf Steiner and visited him in Germany, but was never unfaithful to her husband. He had a friend who was a doctor who diagnosed her as insane as soon as he heard she believed in reincarnation, and her husband had her committed. While institutionalized, she took the opportunity to study psychology. Another doctor became interested in her case and was able to get her released. This episode was often later used against her in newspaper debates.

In 1910 she became editor of the paper Kringsjaa. She translated several books into Nynorsk, including Jean d’Arc by Louis de Conte and Quo vadis? by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

After Marta's husband died in 1913, she supported her family by travelling around Norway and giving talks on subjects like archaeology in the middle east, vivisection, alternative energy sources and religion.

Marta published Frimodige ytringer, ("Frank Speech") in 1946. It was about the Norwegian treatment of suspects when they were punishing traitors after the Second World War. The book includes examples of Norwegian resistance movement torturing suspected Nazi sympathizers in the summer of 1945. It also discussed the legality of withdrawing a group's human rights, (those who were members of Nasjonal Samling, the Norwegian National Socialist party, after 9 April 1940), by an ex post facto law that set aside the Hague Convention which Norway had ratified.

The papers left behind on her death are currently being organised at the Norwegian cultural institution, The Blue Colour Works. Several people have announced their plans to write a book about Marta Steinsvik.


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