Lundkvist, (Nils) Artur 1906-1991

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LUNDKVIST, (Nils) Artur 1906-1991

PERSONAL: Born March 3, 1906, in Oderljunga, Sweden; died, December 11, 1991; son of Nils (a farmer) and Charlotta Lundkvist; married Maria Wine (a writer), 1936. Politics: Socialist.

CAREER: Novelist, poet, and critic.

MEMBER: Mallarme Academy, Swedish Academy.

AWARDS, HONORS: Lenin Prize, 1958; Doblougska Priset, Swedish Academy, 1958; Golden Wreath Prize, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, 1978; various Swedish literary prizes.


Glöd, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1928.

Naket Liv, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1929.

(With others) Fem Unga, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1929.

Jordisk prosa, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1929.

Svart Stad, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1930.

Altantvind (criticism), Bonnier (Stockholm), 1932.

Vit man, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1932.

Negerkust, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1933.

Floderna flyter mot havet, Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1934.

Himmelsfärd, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1935.

Nattens broar, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1936.

Sirensång, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1937.

Drakblod, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1939.

Eldtema (poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1939.

Ikarus' flykt (criticism), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1939.

Tre amerikaner: Dreiser-Lewis-Anderson (criticism), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1939.

Amerikas nya författare, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1940.

Vandrarens träd, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1941.

Korsväg, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1942.

Dikter mellan djur och Gud, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1944.

(Editor) Twelve Modern Poets: An Anthology, Continental (Stockholm, Sweden), 1946.

Skinn över sten (poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1947.

Fotspaar i vattnet (poems; title means "Footprints in the Water"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1949.

Negerland (travel essays), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1949.

Indiabrand (travel essays), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1950.

Malinga (sketches), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1952.

Vallmor från Taschkent; en resa i Sovjet-Unionen (travel essays), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1952.

Spegel för dag och natt, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1953.

Darunga eller Varginnans mjölk (essays; title means "Darunga; or, The She-Wolf's Milk") Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1954.

Liv som gräs (poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1954.

Den förvandlande draken, Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1955.

Vindrosor Moteld (poems; title means "Windroses Backfire"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1955.

Vindingevals (novel; title means "Vindinge Waltz"), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1956.

Vulkanisk Kontinent; en resa i Sydamerika (travel essays), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1957.

Ur en befolkad ensamhet (novel), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1958.

Komedi i Hägerskog (novel), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1959.

Utsikter över utländsk prosa (criticism), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1959.

Berättelser för vilsekomna (short stories; title means "Stories for Lost Persons"), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1960.

Orians upplevelser (short stories; title means "Orian's Experiences"), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1960.

Det talande trädet (prose poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1960.

Agadir (poem), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1961, translation by William Jay Smith and Leif Sjoeberg published by Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1979.

Ögonblick och vågor (poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1962.

Drömmar i ovädrens tid (novel), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1963.

Hägringar i handen: en resa i Israel (travel essays), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1964.

Texter i snön (poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1964.

Så lever Kuba (travel essays), Tiden (Stockholm, Sweden), 1965.

Självporträtt av en drömmare med öpna ögon (autobiography; title means "Self-Portrait of a Dreamer with Open Eyes"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1966.

Buñuel (criticism), PAN/Norstedt (Stockholm, Sweden), 1967.

Moerkskogen (prose poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1967.

Brottställen, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1968.

Snapphanens liv och död (prose poem), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1968.

Besvärjelser till tröst (poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1969.

Utflykter med utländska författer (criticism), Aldus/Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1969.

Himlens vilja (novel), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1970.

Långt borta, mycket nära (prose poems), Foerfattarfoerlaget (Goteborg, Sweden), 1970.

Antipoden (essays and stories), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1971.

Tvivla, korsfarare! En sannolik beraettelse, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1972.

Läsefrukter (criticism), Aldus/Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1973.

Lustgårdens demoni (prose poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1973.

Fantasins slott och vardagens stenar (prose poems), Foerfattarfoerl, 1974.

Livet i oegat (poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1974.

Livsälskare, svartmålare: en fantasi om Goya (novel), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1974.

Världens härlighet/Elegi foer Pablo Neruda (prose poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1975.

Krigarens dikt (poem), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1976.

En gång i Nineve: berättelser i urval, Coeckelberghs (Stockholm, Sweden), 1977.

Flykten och överlevandet (prose poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1977.

Fantasi med realism: om nutida utländsk skönlitteratur (criticism), LiberFörlag, 1979.

Utvandring till paradiset, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1979.

Skrivet mot kvällen (prose poems; title means "Written toward Evening"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1980.

Babylon, Gudarnas Skoka (novel; title means "Babylon, Whore of the Gods"), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1981.

Gustav Hedenvind-Eriksson, Norstedt (Stockholm, Sweden), 1982.

Sinnebilder (prose poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1982.

The Talking Tree: Poems in Prose, translated by Diana W. Wormuth with Steven P. Sondrup, Brigham Young University Press (Provo, UT), 1982.

Gryningstrumpet och skymningsfloejt, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1983.

Färdas i drömmen och föreställningen (prose poems), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1984, translation by Ann B. Weissman and Annika Planck published as Journeys in Dream and Imagination, Four Walls Eight Windows (New York, NY), 1991.

Segling mot nya stjärnor: Artiklar om utländsk litteratur (criticism), Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1987.

Frändskaper: Essäer och urval, Arbetarkultur (Stockholm, Sweden), 1987.

De darrande löven: Nya afolyrismer, Trevi (Stockholm, Sweden), 1988.

Contributor of articles to numerous periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS: "Artur Lundkvist was one of the most prolific twentieth-century Swedish writers," Steven P. Sondrup wrote in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. "He wrote nearly ninety volumes of poetry, fiction, travel narratives, and essays and literally hundreds of articles and reviews for major Swedish newspapers and periodicals. As an influential member of the Swedish Academy and its Nobel Prize Committee for many years, he played an important role in bringing to the attention not only of Swedish but also international audiences some lesser-known writers of significant merit and interest. He was widely read in a variety of literary traditions but played an especially important role in introducing and championing Spanish-language authors (most notably, perhaps, Pablo Neruda) as well as an array of Anglophone writers—James Joyce, William Faulkner, Henry Miller, Patrick White, and Saul Bellow—through penetrating essays and sympathetic translations. His own literary works are extremely varied in subject, tone, style, and genre and compellingly illustrate the breadth of his literary genius. What unites the seemingly heterogeneous oeuvre, however, is that while it remains firmly anchored in the reality of daily life, Lundkvist always felt free to let his imagination soar unfettered around and above the material reality of this world. His fantasy, dreams, or imagination were never ends in themselves or fanciful games played for the sake of intellectual amusement but were grounded in the profoundly humanitarian belief that the human condition could be better. Though acutely aware of the dangers and vicissitudes facing mankind, Lundkvist maintained the hope that in the uncertainty of tomorrow something could be found that would improve the common lot."

Throughout his long and acclaimed career, Lundkvist wrote on many topics employing literary forms that often stretched the boundaries of established forms. His poetry has been particularly praised by critics. Magnus Eriksson, writing in Scandinavian Studies, found Lundkvist to be "one of Sweden's great modernist poets." In his book-length poem Agadir, Lundkvist recounted the 1960 earthquake in southern Morocco that killed forty thousand inhabitants of the city of Agadir. Lundkvist had been visiting Morocco at the time and survived the tragedy. His poem, Czeslaw Milosz maintained in World Literature Today, "is quite an extraordinary work. . . . Agadir is a descriptive poem, an attempt to be as faithful as possible to what really happened." Skrivet mot kvallen is a collection of prose poems and aphorisms from Lundkvist's later years. Steven P. Sondrup wrote in World Literature Today, "Skrivet mot kvallen is a product of great literary maturity and confidence, and although it would clearly be gratuitous to suggest his earlier works were only preparation for this volume, it is a work that is built on a foundation of vast experience as a writer and a human being." Lundkvist's The Talking Tree: Poems in Prose is a selection of eighty-two prose poems published between 1960 and 1977. James Larson in World Literature Today believed that "these prose poems are as characteristic of our time as the portraits, caracteres and maxims were of the ancien regime. I wish for them not a large but an appreciative audience."

In 1981, during a lecture, Lundkvist experienced a heart attack and was in a coma for sixty days. Although the prognosis was poor, Lundkvist recovered his faculties and even recalled the amazing variety of dreams he experienced while unconscious. Lundkvist recounts these hallucinatory adventures in Färdas i drömmen och föreställningen (translated as Journeys in Dream and Imagination in 1991). The critic for Publishers Weekly felt that in this book "Lundkvist writes movingly about fear of death, growing old and the redemptive power of art." According to Maxine Kumin, who reviewed the translation for the New York Times Book Review, these accounts "charm the casual reader, deeply engage the poet and captivate the harshest skeptic." "Subjects before which most poets quail, fearful of uttering banalities . . . evoke from Lundkvist an extraordinary metaphorical response," continued Kumin. "Lundkvist has made imaginative leaps that are truly breathtaking and startlingly apt. But more than anything, Journeys in Dream and Imagination is a tribute to human courage."

"The utopian vision at the heart of Lundkvist's oeuvre," Sondrup wrote in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, "is not the result of an acquired orientation or a cultivated aesthetic posture but emerges, rather, from the deep recesses of his personality. He saw his own work as the conjunction of the creative impulse and obsessive protest and his life as that of a romantic realism. The core of these descriptions consist not so much of a dualistic opposition as of two human tendencies that shape and animate each other and derive their power from their mutual illumination. Lundkvist, in this context, is neither a pessimist nor an optimist: his mature sense of concrete reality infuses his utopian desires, but his idealistic aspirations also play a role in his relationship with more mundane reality. A keen understanding of himself and his creative process warrants his description of himself as an open-eyed dreamer, as he relates in the title of his 1966 self-portrait."



Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 259: Twentieth-Century Swedish Writers before World War II, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002.

Espmark, Kjell, Livsdyrkaren Artur Lundkvist: Studier i hans lyrik till och med Vit man, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1964.

Lundkvist, Artur, Journeys in Dream and Imagination, translated by Ann B. Weissmann and Annika Planck, Four Walls Eight Windows (New York, NY), 1991.

Nordberg, Carl-Eric. Det Skapande Ogat: En Fard Genom Artur Lundkvists Forfattarskap, Bonnier (Stockholm, Sweden), 1981.


Books Abroad, Volume 50, number 2, 1976, Leif Sjöberg, "An Interview with Artur Lundkvist," pp. 329-336.

Hudson Review, summer, 1981.

New Mexico Quarterly, number 22, 1952, Richard B. Vowles, "From Pan to Panic: The Poetry of Artur Lundkvist," pp. 288-303.

New York Times, March 4, 1992.

New York Times Book Review, January 26, 1992, Maxine Kumin, "Death Is Nothing, Once It Has Arrived," p. 13.

Publishers Weekly, November 22, 1991, review of Journeys in Dream and Imagination, p. 44.

Scandinavian Studies, summer, 1994, Magnus Eriksson, "The Formation of an Artistic Identity: The Young Artur Lundkvist," p. 382.

Times Literary Supplement, September 25, 1992, p. 8.

World Literature Today, winter, 1977, p. 108; winter, 1978, p. 125; summer, 1980, Czeslaw Milosz, "Reflections on Artur Lundkvist's Agadir," pp. 367-368; spring, 1981, Steven P. Soundrup, "Artur Lundkvist and Knowledge for Man's Sake," pp. 233-238; autumn, 1981, Steven P. Sondrup, review of Skrivet mot kvällen, p. 688; spring, 1983, Steven P. Sondrup, review of Sinnebilder, p. 306; summer, 1984, James Larson, review of The Talking Tree: Poems in Prose, pp. 430-431; spring 1988, p. 297; spring, 1994, W. Glyn Jones, review of Färdas i drömmen och föreställningen, p. 385.



New York Times Biographical Service, December 13, 1991.*