Fogelström, Per Anders 1917-1998
FOGELSTRÖM, Per Anders 1917-1998
PERSONAL: Born August 22, 1917, in Sweden; died June 22, 1998; son of Naemi and Arthur Fogelström. Politics: Social Democrat.
CAREER: Writer and editor. Once worked as an assistant bookseller and youth organizer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Svenska Dagbladets Literaturpris, 1951; Gerard Bonniers prize, 1989; Ivar Lo-priset, 1998.
Att en dag vakna, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1949.
Ligister, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1949.
Sommaren med Monika, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1951.
Medan staden sover, Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1953.
I kvinnoland, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1954.
Möten i skymningen, Folket i bilds (Stockholm, Sweden), 1955.
En natt ur nuet, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1955.
En borg av trygghet, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1957.
Expedition Dolly, illustrated by Stig Claesson, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1958.
Tack vare Iris, Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1959.
Café Utposten, Aldus (Stockholm, Sweden), 1970.
Upptäckarna (Pojkar, 1927), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1972.
Revoltörrerna (Ynglingar, 1936), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1973.
Erövrarna. Unga män, 1946–1947, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1975.
Besittarna. Medelâlder, 1976, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1977.
Svenssons, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1979.
Vävarnas barn. En roman frân Stockholm pâ 1700-talet (first novel in a trilogy), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1981.
Krigens barn (second novel in a trilogy), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1985.
Vita Bergens barn (third novel in a trilogy), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1987.
Komikern. Roman om en teaterfamilj, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1989.
Mödrar och söner, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1991.
"STAD" SERIES; NOVELS
Mina drömmars stad, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1960.
Barn av sin stad, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1962.
Minns du den stad, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1964.
I en förvandlad stad, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1966.
Stad i världen, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1968.
En bok om Söder, illustrated by Stig Claesson, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1953.
Stockholm, staden vid vattnet; i sex vandringar, illustrated by Stig Claesson and Sven Râdberg, [Stockholm, Sweden], 1960.
Kring strömmen. Stockholmska bilder, illustrated by Stig Claesson, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1962.
Ny tid, ny stad. Grunden til vârt sekels stad, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1963.
Stockholm stad i förvandling, illustrated by Axel Malmström and Victor Malmström, Natur och Kultur (Stockholm, Sweden), 1963.
Ladugârdslandet som blev Östermalm, illustrated by Stig Claesson, Billberg (Stockholm, Sweden), 1964.
(With Arne Björnstad) Gubbhullan, Stiftelsen Skansen (Stockholm, Sweden), 1965.
En bok om Kungsholmen, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1965.
Okänt Stockholm, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1967.
Söder om tullen, illustrated by Stig Claesson, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1969.
Ett berg vid vattnet. En bok om Fjällgatan och trakten däromkring, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1969.
Stad i bild. En Stockholmskrönika 1860–1970, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1970.
300 âr pâ Kungsholmen. En bildrapsodi med anledning av Kungsholms församlings 300 ârs jubileum 1972, Kungsholms Församling (Stockholm, Sweden), 1972.
Utsikt över stan. Stockholmska bilder, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1974.
En bok om Stockholm, illustrated by Stig Claesson, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1978.
(With Âke Mokvist) Stockholm, Svenska Bokhandlarföreningen (Stockholm, Sweden), 1979, translation into English by Paul Britten Austin, 1979.
Stockholms gatunamn, 1982.
Ur det försvunna. Stockholmska spâr och tecken, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1985.
(With Arne Reberg) Per Anders Fogelström. Stockholms förste älskare, Brevskolan (Stockholm, Sweden), 1997.
(Editor, with Svend Bahnsen) Fyra ârs världspolitik i karikaturer, 1939–1943, berättad i tusch av världens främsta technare, preface by Gustaf Stridsberg, Världspressens Förlag (Stockholm, Sweden), 1943.
(With Svend Bahnsen and Johannes Wickman) Världspolitik i karikatyrer, 1943–45, Världspressens Förlag (Stockholm, Sweden), 1944.
(With Svend Bahnsen and Johannes Wickman) Världspolitik i karikatyrer, Krigets Final, Världspressens Förlag (Stockholm, Sweden), 1945.
Tretton ödesdigra âr, 1946.
Orons giriga händer (poems), 1947.
Skämt och oförskämt, 1949.
(Editor, with Ivar Ohman) 25 svenska skämttecknare, Folket i Bild (Stockholm, Sweden), 1954.
(With Roland Morell) I stället för atombomb, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1958.
Sofia-bilder. En bildrapsody med anledning av Sofia församlings 50-ârs jubileum 1967, Seelig (Stockholm, Sweden), 1967.
Kring vita bergen, Svenska Freds-och Skiljedoms-föreningen (Stockholm, Sweden), 1967.
(With Ture Nerman) Borgerlig begravning. En handledning, Förbundet För Religionsfrihet (Älvsjö, Sweden), 1968.
(With Gudrun Lantz) Arbetsuppgifter till Mina drömmars stad av Per Anders Fogelström, Läromedelsförlag (Stockholm, Sweden), 1970.
Kampen för fred. Berättelsen om en okänd folkrörelse, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1971.
Vägar till fred, 1971.
Tanto. En utmark, [Malmö, Sweden], 1978.
Kommentarer och noter till Vävarnas barn, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1981.
Kommentarer och noter till Krigens barn, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1985.
Vägen till nuets stad, 1986.
(With Gunnar Stâhl) Idyll och explosion. Resor 1948–1970, Legus (Stockholm, Sweden), 1992.
Hem, till sist, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1993.
Porträttörerna. Journalistik 1948–1960, illustrated by Stig Claesson, Legus (Stockholm, Sweden), 1994.
Some of Fogelström's books have been translated into Danish, English, and Czech.
ADAPTATIONS: Sommaren med Monika was adapted as a film directed by Ingmar Bergman. The "Stad" novels were dramatized for the stage and produced on Swedish television and radio.
SIDELIGHTS: Twentieth-century Swedish author Per Anders Fogelström is primarily known as a writer of historical novels, but he also wrote extensively on Sweden, in particular the city of Stockholm. Fogelström began his literary career as an editor of books on caricatures from around the world. He was also deeply involved with the peace movement and, among other projects, he worked for eleven years in Folket i Bild to prevent the Swedish weapons industry from developing a nuclear bomb. He wrote numerous books related to the peace effort, including I stället för atombomb, Kring vita bergen, Kampen för fred. Berättelsen om en okänd folkrörelse, and Vägar till fred. In 1999, the year after Fogelström's death, it was revealed in the book Övrig illegal verksamhet by Swedish historian Wilhelm Agrell that during the 1950s and 1960s the Swedish secret police Säpo had spied on and registered Swedes who were opposed to nuclear weapons, including many prominent authors and journalists such as Sara Lidman, Barbro Alving, and Fogelström.
Fogelström was considered a major author of novels concerning Sweden's young people. Some of these works include Sommaren med Monika, Ligister, Medan staden sovar, En natt ur nuet, Mödet i skymningen, and Tack vare Iris. Among these, En natt ur nuet was criticized for describing criminal youngsters without condemning them. Fogelström got many of his ideas for these books from working in an old café that was a place where young Swedes hung out to dance, hear music, and participate in debates and other creative activities.
Some of Fogelström's novels, such as I kvinnoland and Mödrar och söner, are colored by the author's special relationship with women. When he was four years old, his father left his mother for another woman, and Fogelström was brought up in a house dominated by his mother and older sister. When his father moved to America, the young Fogelström was devastated by the loss. His remaining family then moved to Söder in Stockholm, Sweden. Fogelström greatly admired his mother, who was forced to borrow money from family and friends to make ends meet. After twenty years of working as an author, Fogelström made enough money that he could pay back what his mother had borrowed. In his novels the author would often portray women as stronger and more enduring than men.
Between 1960 to 1968 Fogelström's masterwork, the five-novel "Stad" series featuring the Nilsson family, was published. In Mina drömmars stad, Barn av sin stad, Minns du den stad, I en förvandlad stad, and Stad i världen the author tell a story that takes place in the Stad area of Stockholm from the 1860s through 1968 and covers three generations of the Nilsson family. The first volume opens when fifteen-year-old Henning Nilsson arrives in Stockholm in the summer of 1860. At that time Stockholm had the highest mortality rate of any city in Europe, and the author describes the extreme poverty many people had to endure. For example, he tells in realistic detail what it was like for seven people of both sexes to have to sleep together in a kitchen and live with the daily reality of disease, unemployment, and a high level of crime and violence.
A central character in the "Stad" series is Emily Nilsson, the daughter of Henning Nilsson. At age twelve Emily must work in a chemical factory, and her harsh life is traced all the way to her death at the age of eighty-eight. Her workday in the chemical factory starts at six o'clock in the morning and ends at seven in the evening, and she has to add a commute of two hours a day to her work. A central theme in the "Stad" novels is the different views that workers have on working conditions and politics. Emily and her mother both think that Emily's pay of three Swedish kroners per week is good for a twelve year old in a junior position. Other characters advocate rebellion against their employers to protect the workers from exploitation.
The "Stad" novels were a great success with the Swedish reading public, and by 1993 they had sold more than two million copies. The idea for the series novels was developed after Fogelström had studied his local history for years. Another result of his research is found in the numerous nonfiction works he penned about Stockholm. The "Stad" novels were written because Fogelström felt he needed to create a more intimate portrayal of the anonymous, everyday heroes of the city's working class, and so he envisioned the Nilsson family based on historically accurate information. As Susan Brantly commented in Scandinavian Studies, "The series aspires to document the process that within a few generations transformed Sweden from a country of great poverty and class differences to a country with a high standard of living."
Fogelström's books have been used in Swedish schools as material for studying Swedish history. Brantly discussed the link between fiction and historical fact in her review, commenting that the reader has to remember that Fogelström's books are fiction and not an objective historical document. "Because the Stockholm series is fast becoming a part of the Swedish national memory," wrote Brantly, "it is important to study Fogelström's claims, lessons, and methods. Only then will the choice between history and fiction be a conscious one." In contrast, Fogelström's biographer, Charles Kassman, and other critics have tended to see the author's work as objective historical fact. Although Fogelström was deeply concerned with getting his facts right—it bothered him, for example, when a reader pointed out that the trolley should not have stopped at a particular street corner until five years later than it did in the novel Barn av sin stad—he did not want to simply recreate the past. Rather, his goal was to give the reader a feeling for the place and time.
Although the "Stad" novels were a great success with the public, reviewers were less enthusiastic in their evaluation of the books as literary fiction. Brantly summed up the critique in Scandinavian Studies: "The most common criticism of the Stockholm series is that Fogelström's books are too positive. Despite the huge accumulation of realistic historical detail, Fogelström's interpretation of human life in general is considered unrealistic. The critics seem to argue about the correct recipe for reality; what are the proper proportions of darkness and light?"
Among Fogelström's other works is an historical novel trilogy consisting of Vävarnas barn. En roman frân Stockholm pâ 1700-talet, Krigens barn, and Vita Bergens barn, which together serve as a prequel to the Nilsson family saga. Set in the eighteenth century, this trilogy leads up to the beginning of the five "Stad" novels. Fogelström's memories of his childhood and later life can be found in one of his final publications, Hem, till sist, a memoir written as a third-person narrative.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Fogelström, Per Anders, Hem, till sist, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1993.
Scandinavian Studies, winter, 1993, Susan Brantly, "Testing the Boundary between History and Fiction," pp. 1-28.