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Claesson, Stig 1928-2008

Claesson, Stig 1928-2008

PERSONAL:

Born June 2, 1928, in Stockholm, Sweden; died January 4, 2008, in Stockholm, Sweden. Education: Studied at Swedish Academy of Fine Arts.

CAREER:

Novelist, journalist, and artist.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Swedish Prize for Literature, 1968; Kegren Prize, 1996; literature prize, Selma Lagerlof Foundation; honorary doctorate, University of Uppsala.

WRITINGS:

Det Klara som försvinner, Bok-konsum (Stockholm, Sweden), 1955.

Berättelse från Europa, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1956.

Från nya världen: en reseberättelse, Cavefors (Malmö-Lund, Sweden), 1961.

Supportern, Cavefors (Malmö-Lund, Sweden), 1962.

Bönder, Cavefors (Malmö-Lund, Sweden), 1963.

Vers på växel och andre bankhistorier, Norstedt (Stockholm, Sweden), 1964.

Ugnstekt gädda: med tecknigar av författaren, Cavefors (Malmö-Lund, Sweden), 1964.

Västgötalagret, Cavefors (Malmö-Lund, Sweden), 1965.

En Stockholmsbok, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1966.

Lage Lindell, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1966.

Dråp i hastigt mod, Cavefors (Malmö-Lund, Sweden), 1966.

Flickor, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1967.

Döden heter Konrad, Cavefors (Malmö-Lund, Sweden), 1967.

I stället för telegram-Finland 50 år, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1967.

Vem älsker Yngve Frej (title means "Who Loves Yngve Frej"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1968.

21 berättelser: Med teckningar av författaren, Cavefors (Malmö-Lund, Sweden), 1968.

Nelly, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1969.

Sanningen och ingenting annat än, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1970.

Den ensamme nobelpristagarens vardag, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1970.

Knut K. Selma Johansson med rätt att leva, Litteraturfrämjandet (Stockholm, Sweden), 1970.

Att resa sig upp och gå, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1971.

Samtal på ett fjärrtag, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1972.

Min vän Charlie, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1973.

Brev til en hembygdsgård, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1974.

Långt vid sidan av vägen i närheten av skogen åt det håll där solen går ner bodde jag ibland om sommeren, Sveriges radio (Stockholm, Sweden), 1974.

Yrkesmän emellan, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1974.

På palmblad och rosor, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1975.

Stockholmsbilder, Askild & Kärnekull (Stockholm, Sweden), 1975.

Bättre kan det inte sägas, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1976.

En vandring i solen, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1976.

Bortom de berg och den skog vari alla sagor skapas, Sveriges radio (Stockholm, Sweden), 1976.

Henrietta ska du också glömma, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1977.

En bok om Stockholm, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1978.

Ni har inget liv att försäkra, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1978.

Allt står i lågor, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1979.

Medan tidvattnet vänder, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1980.

Varför stirrar ni på mina fötter: impressioner från Shetland, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1980.

Ancient Monuments, Thule Press (Stornaway, Sweden), 1980, English translation, Findhorn (England), 1980.

Sveaborg, eller, Rock happy, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1981.

Om vänskap funnes, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1981.

Lika oskyldigt som meningslöst, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1982.

Sagor för barn och vuxna, ETC/Tiprod (Stockholm, Sweden), 1982.

I boulevardens skugga och andra skisser, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1983.

Utsikt från ett staffli, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1983.

De tio budorden, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1984.

Dagarna före lunch, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1984.

I Egypten Däremot, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1984.

Blå Måndag, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1985.

Det bortglömda landskapet, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1985.

Lantlif i Budapest, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1986.

Skam den som fryser, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1987.

Nya Stockholmsbilder, Wählstrom & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1987.

Kärlek rostar inte, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1988.

21 sagor, Wahlström & Widstrand (Stockholm, Sweden), 1988.

Innan himlen klarnar (novel; title means "Before the Sky Clears"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1989.

SommarStockholm, Winberg (Hudiksvall, Sweden), 1989.

En mörts drömmar (novel; title means "A Roach's Dreams"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1990.

Rosine, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1991.

Målade porträtt, Winberg (Hudiksvall, Sweden), 1991.

Män i min alder (novel; title means "Men of My Age"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1992.

(And illustrator) Blues för Mr Shelley (columns), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1992.

Arstider och åsikter, foreword by Ingemar Unge, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1993.

Vägen till brevlåden (novel; title means "The Road to the Mailbox"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1993.

Nästa man til rakning: samtal i en firsersalong: förslag till et TV-manus, Winberg (Hudiksvall, Sweden), 1993.

Porträttörerna: journalistic 1948-1960, Legus (Stockholm, Sweden), 1994.

Den extra milen, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1994.

Till Europa; en återkomst, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1994.

Varsel om kommande tilldragelser, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1994.

Eko av en vår (novel), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1995.

Sophie the Circus Princess (English translation), illustrated by Friso Henstra, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1995.

Blå stolar, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1996.

Vandring med mig själv, Legus (Stockholm, Sweden), 1996.

Upptäck den gömda konsten: konstguide till okända konstskatter hos folkrörelser och institutioner, ABF (Stockholm, Sweden), 1996.

Man måste det man önskar (novel; title means "You Must Do What You Want"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1997.

Vad man ser och hedrar (columns; title means "What One Sees and Honors"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1998.

Varsel om kommande tilldragelser, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1999.

Det lyckliga Europa, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 2001.

Efter oss syndafloden, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 2002.

Följ alltid Cecilias exempel, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 2003.

Sovdu så diskar jag, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 2004.

Sekonderna lämnar ringen, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 2005.

God natt, fröken Ann (title means "Good Night, Miss Ann"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 2006.

Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including Gyldendals Magasin.

Claessen's work has been translated into Danish, Polish, Italian, and other languages.

ADAPTATIONS:

The book Vem älsker Yngve Frej was adapted for stage and television.

SIDELIGHTS:

Stig Claesson was a Swedish journalist, painter, and author who became popular in his native country for his observations on Swedish culture and society. Once a student at the Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, he went on to become a respected journalist and a successful novelist; his books, which include Det bortglöma landskapet, Rosine, and En mörts drömmar, have been translated into several languages. The 1995 picture book Sophie the Circus Clown was based on a story by Claesson and illustrated by Friso Henstra. Calling the book "a delightful, quiet romance," a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Claesson had penned "a modern-day fairy tale with a twist."

In Vad man ser och hedrar Claesson presents one essay for each week of the year, and tells what is happening in his neighborhood during that week. At first, Brita Stendahl commented in World Literature Today, one would think not much would be happening, "since Claesson lives along a country road with a five-mile walk through the woods to his mailbox…. His neighbors are deer, fox, and moose, mice and birds. He lives alone and does not drive a car." However, she noted, this isolation gives him a fresh perspective on life that makes for interesting reading. In this book, he doesn't preach about environmentalism, but notes that the berries and mushrooms he used to pick are no longer there, and that the farmhouses around him have been bought as summer homes by people from other countries.

Blues för Mr Shelley is a collection of essays that reflects on Swedish society. Including such essays as "Letter from Kurt Vonnegut" and "Rökning Förbjuden," the author "demonstrate[s] a delightful mixture of humor and erudition," according to World Literature Today reviewer W. Glyn Jones. "Easy of access without being superficial," Claesson's essays "are a joy to read," continued Jones, adding that the accompanying illustrations "both add and illuminate—and amuse."

Claesson's novel Män i min alder tells the story of a writer, Löv, who has produced a series of mysteries but, bored with them, has killed off his main character. He is tired of writing, his girlfriend is gone, and his best friends are all either dead or incapacitated. The book is structured as a long flashback, as Löv thinks over his life and times, and simultaneously mulls over the political situation in Sweden and Europe. The book is set during the collapse of the Communist bloc in Eastern Europe, on the eve of Sweden's joining the European Community, and the beginning of civil war in the former Yugoslavia. The story reflects Claesson's own disillusionment with politics and society.

The novel Ancient Monuments is about four abandoned old people in a remote Swedish village, called the Sticks. One of the characters observes that the four of them are like ancient monuments, and as a joke, she puts up a sign saying just that. To their surprise, the old people soon begin receiving visits from people who have seen the sign on the road and who are looking for the ancient structures they believe the sign refers to. The tourists offer money for ordinary pieces of junk they believe are priceless, such as the broken handle of a scythe. Ben Okri wrote in New Statesman that the novel "has a myth-like economy and contains real insights."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

New Statesman, September 5, 1980, Ben Okri, "Silences," p. 22.

Publishers Weekly, June 5, 1995, review of Sophie the Circus Princess, p. 62.

World Literature Today, summer, 1990, Lars G. Warme, review of Innan himlen klarnar, p. 480; spring, 1991, Erik Thygesen, review of En mörts drömmar, p. 314; summer, 1992, W. Glyn Jones, review of Blues för Mr Shelley, p. 533; autumn, 1993, Jeanette Lee Atkinson, review of Män i min alder, p. 844; spring, 1996, Brita Stendhal, review of Eko av en vår, p. 422; spring, 1998, W. Glyn Jones, review of Man måste det man önskar, p. 397.

OBITUARIES:

PERIODICALS

UPI News Track, January 6, 2008.

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