Lars Gustafsson

Lars Gustafsson (born May 17, 1936) is a Swedish, poet, novelist and scholar. He was born in Västerås, completed his secondary education at the Västerås gymnasium and continued to Uppsala University; he received his Licentiate degree in 1960 and was awarded his Ph.D. in Theoretical Philosophy in 1978. He lived in Austin, Texas until 2003, and has recently returned to Sweden. He served as a professor at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, where he taught Philosophy and Creative Writing, until May 2006, when he retired. In 1981 Gustafsson converted to Judaism.

Gustafsson is one of the most prolific Swedish writers since August Strindberg. Since the late 1950s he has produced a voluminous flow of poetry, novels, short stories, critical essays, and editorials. He is also one of the few Swedish writers who has gained international recognition with literary awards such as the Prix International Charles Veillon des Essais in 1983, the Heinrich Steffens Preis in 1986, Una Vita per la Litteratura in 1989, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for poetry in 1994, and several others. He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His major works have been translated into fifteen languages, and Harold Bloom includes Gustafsson in "The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages" (1994).Dictionary of Literary Biography] John Updike offered high praise for Gustafsson's "The Death of a Beekeeper" in his collection of criticism, "Hugging The Shore."

The "Death of a Beekeeper," written in 1978, is Gustafsson's most critically acclaimed and commercially successful novel. Eva Stenskaer has written that it "seems so effortless yet lyrical that only an artist at the height of his powers could've produced it." Its main theme is the agony of disease, as it follows Vesslan—a beekeeper who is dying of cancer—through entries he makes on notepads.Nordic Reach, Number 21, Volume XX] The book's innovative structure allows Gustafsson to explore identity through its expression in a variety of forms: imagination, memory and even the mundane details of life. The book's central theme is revealed by the repeated motto of the protagonist, "We never give up. We begin anew."

Gustafsson himself has described it as "A book about pain. It describes a journey into the center where pain rules—and pain can tolerate no rivals."

In 2003, Gustafsson's novel series, "The Cracks in the Wall, (Sprickorna i Muren)", which explores the question of identity through the "cracks" or ruptures in single personality, was made into a feature film, directed by Jimmy Karlsson. [ [ Sprickorna i muren (2003) ] ]

While the problem of identity has been the defining theme of Gustafsson's writings, his social criticism has often vexed the Swedish cultural elite. As a result he is seen as a controversial writer in Sweden rather than as one embraced by the establishment.

When asked where he finds his inspiration, Gustafsson answered "I listen. I listen and I look. Creativity knows no rules. You can get an idea for a novel from a little something someone says, or just a face you see. A rabbi once told me that when God spoke to Moses in that bush, it wasn't in a thundering voice; it was in a very weak voice. You have to listen carefully for that voice. You have to be very sharp."

elected works

*"Truth and Lie"
*"The Tennis Players"
*"Wool Clothings"
*"Family Meeting"
*"The Death of a Beekeeper"
*"Stillness of the World Before Bach"
*"The Tale of a Dog"
*"Bernard Foy's Third Castling"
*"A Tiler's Afternoon"
*"Stories of Happy People"
*"Elegies and Other Poems"

See also

*International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award


The Dictionary of Literary BiographyNordic Reach, Number 21, Volume

External links

* [ Lars Gustafsson Homepage] - at the University of Texas at Austin

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